Third Party Support in Appendix FM Applications
For those applying for entry clearance or leave to remain in the UK as a partner under Appendix FM of the Immigration Rules (which includes spouse visas, civil partner visas, unmarried partner visas and fiance visas), the applicant is required to satisfy a financial requirement. Appendix FM provides very strict requirements as to how the financial requirement may be satisfied. Many of our previous blog posts have outlined the ways in which the financial requirement can be met.
The types of income include; salaried or non-salaried employment; self employment; non-employment income (such as from property rental, dividends or shares); cash savings above £16,000 and pension income.
In rare circumstances, third party support is taken into consideration if the applicant falls short of the amount required.
When will third party support be considered under Appendix FM?
Third party support can only be relied upon if there are exceptional circumstances. Paragraph GEN.3.1 of Appendix FM confirms that other sources of income will be considered where:
- The financial requirement cannot be met be the specified sources set out above; and
- It is evident that there are exceptional circumstances which could render refusal of entry clearance or leave to remain a breach of Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights because such refusal could result in unjustifiably harsh consequences for the applicant, their partner or a relevant child.
What are exceptional circumstances under Appendix FM?
The Family life (as a partner or parent), private life and exceptional circumstances guidance, sets out when Third Party Support will be accepted.
‘Exceptional circumstances’ are defined in the guidance as “circumstances which could or would render refusal of entry clearance or limited leave to remain a breach of ECHR Article 8 (the right to respect for private and family life), because refusal could or would result in unjustifiably harsh consequences for the applicant, their partner or a relevant child, or would result in unjustifiably harsh consequences for another family member whose Article 8 rights it is evident from the application would be affected by a refusal.”
‘Unjustifiably harsh consequences’ are defined in the guidance as a “harsh outcome(s) for the applicant or their family which is not justified by the public interest, including in maintaining effective immigration controls, preventing burdens on the taxpayer, promoting integration and protecting the public and the rights and freedoms of others.”
This is a high threshold and should be evidenced well from the applicant. The exceptional circumstances must outweigh the public interest considerations.
Who is a relevant child?
A ‘relevant child’ means a person who:
- is under the age of 18 years at the date of application
- it is evident from the information provided by the applicant would be affected by a decision to refuse the application
The best interests of any relevant child should be taken into account as a primary consideration.
Evidence of Third Party Support
If it is clear that there are exceptional circumstances, paragraph 21A of Appendix FM-SE states that a ‘credible guarantee of sustainable financial support to the applicant or their partner from a third party’ will be considered.
Paragraph 21A(a) of Appendix FM-SE also sets out objective criteria to which the decision-maker must have regard in assessing third party support. The following will be considered:
- whether the applicant has provided verifiable documentary evidence from the third party in question of their guarantee of financial support;
- whether that evidence is signed, dated and witnessed or otherwise independently verified;
- whether the third party has provided sufficient evidence of their general financial situation to enable the decision-maker to assess the likelihood of the guaranteed financial support continuing for the period of limited leave applied for;
- whether the third party has provided verifiable documentary evidence of the nature, extent and duration of any current or previous financial support which they have provided to the applicant or their partner;
- the extent to which this source of financial support is relied upon by the applicant to meet the financial requirement;
- the likelihood of a change in the third party’s financial situation or in their relationship with the applicant or the applicant’s partner during the period of limited leave applied for.
5-year or 10-year route
All eligibility requirements, including the financial requirement, must be met for a partner to qualify for entry clearance or leave to remain on the 5-year route.
If an application is granted when the applicant is relying on third party support, the applicant will be granted on the 10-year route to settlement.
Contact our Immigration Barristers
For expert advice and assistance regarding Appendix FM applications, contact our immigration barristers on 0203 617 9173 or complete our enquiry form below.