Appendix FM Guidance

There is a Home Office guidance to its Home Office staff which helps decision makers to conclude how to decide immigration applications that require assessment. The guidance covers Appendix FM 1.7 which deals with financial requirements, Appendix FM 1.7A which deals with maintenance and accommodation, Annexe FM 3.1 which deals with children applications, and in particular section 55 of the Borders, Citizenship and Immigration Act 2009 which requires the UK Border Agency to carry out its existing functions in a way that takes into account the duty to safeguard and promote the welfare of children in the UK. As well as Appendix FM 3.2 children guidance and Annexe FM 3.2.A relate to adult dependent relatives.

What are Appendix FM applications for?

Appendix FM applications are for individuals who are seeking to enter or remain in the UK on the basis of their family life with a person who is either a British Citizen, is settled in the UK or has refugee status or humanitarian protection.

What is Part 8 of the Immigration Rules?

Part 8 of the Immigration Rules sets out the requirements for leave to enter or remain in the UK under the categories of spouse, civil partner, fiancé(e), unmarried partner, victim of domestic violence, children etc. In a nutshell it is for applications submitted as family members of persons living in the UK permanently (family visas).

What are the Suitability Requirements under the Immigration Rules?

The Immigration Rules provide requirements to be met for applicants leave to remain under Appendix FM. When applying for entry clearance or leave to remain in the UK, the applicant must meet various suitability requirements to avoid refusal. The suitability requirements are set out under the Immigration Rules and the requirements were updated in 2020. Part 9 of the immigration sets out various detailed provisions which form the basis of a potential refusal or cancellation of a visa. The General Grounds for Refusal are set out under section 2 of Part 9 of the Immigration Rules and some of the provisions in Part 9 are mandatory and some are discretionary.

What are the financial requirements under Appendix FM?

Appendix FM applications have financial requirements, although there are provisions for exceptional circumstances.

The sponsor is required to have an income of at least £29,000 per year, with this threshold increasing if the sponsor or his/her partner has non-British, non-EU dependent children.

Income from specified employment or self-employment can be considered, and there is the potential for other sources of income including cash savings, pensions, allowances and income from properties or shares to be taken into account.

There is no income requirement if the sponsor can satisfy a savings requirement of a minimum of £88,500 in cash savings.

The Appendix FM 1.7 Home Office guidance can be found here.

What is the English language requirement under Appendix FM?

The English language requirement can be met by:

  • Having a speaking and listening qualification in English at B1 CEFR level or higher, or an equivalent qualification from a test centre recognised by the Home Office
  • Having a qualification of the standard of a Bachelor or Master’s degree or PHD taught or researched in English

Nationals from countries that predominantly speak English are exempt from this requirement.

What are the routes to settlement under Appendix FM?

Under Appendix FM, a partner, parent or child may make an application for settlement on the basis of a 5-year route if eligible.

If the requirements are not met but there are exceptional circumstances, applications may be made under the 10-year route to settlement.

Waiving of requirements due to “insurmountable obstacles”

Under Section Ex.1, some requirements for family life applications may be waived if there are “insurmountable obstacles” to family life with the applicant’s partner in the UK continuing outside the UK.

What is GN3.2 Appendix FM?

In order to come to the UK as a partner you must meet certain financial requirements which are set out in paragraph E-ECP-3.1 or E-LTRP-3.1. If these financial requirements are not met the decision maker must consider whether circumstances which are contained in Gen. 3.2 apply so as to take into account exceptional circumstances which would render refusal of entry clearance or leave to remain a breach of Article 8 of the European Convention of Human Rights because such a refusal would result in unduly harsh consequences to the applicant, their partner or a child.

What are exceptional circumstances?

Appendix FM also provides for an exception to the financial requirements if 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 (private and family life), because such refusal could result in unjustifiably harsh consequences for the applicant, their partner or a relevant child.

Unjustifiably harsh consequences is a very high threshold. The consequences are not just bleak, but exceptionally bleak.

“Insurmountable obstacles” means that there would be very significant difficulties which would be faced by the applicant or their partner in continuing their family life together outside the UK. These obstacles would not be able to be overcome and would entail very serious hardship for the applicant or their partner.

Click here for more information about human rights.

What is the difference between the 5 years and the 10 years route?

These are two routes for settlement on the basis of family life as a parent or a partner which is provided for under Appendix FM. The five years route will be appropriate to those who meet all the suitability and eligibility requirements of the Immigration Rules and the 10 years route applies in respect of applicants who meet the suitability requirements, but only certain eligibility requirements.

What is an FLR (FP) form?

In order to make an application in the UK one has to complete an application form. Different forms need to be completed for different categories and circumstances. The form FLR(FP) extends a stay in the UK with leave to remain as a family member (under Appendix FM) and private life (Under Part 7). We often use this form for eligible partners (under the 10 years route or the five years route), dependent children, applicants under the private life in the UK 10 years route in relation to Immigration Rule 276.

Where applicants cannot satisfy the requirements of the five-year route of the Immigration Rules under Appendix FM to remain in the UK, they are expected to leave. However, if there is evidence to suggest that it will be unreasonable for them or for their child to leave the UK, or that there are exceptional circumstances, an application can be allowed and the applicant will be granted leave to remain on the 10 years route.

Danielle invites you to take a look at her blog, where you will see the diverse range of clients that she has helped.

If you have any questions about the process or would like to make an application under Appendix FM, please contact Danielle or call on 020 7267 4133. Danielle will only charge you for the first consultation if you decide to become her client and if she can assist you.

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