Apply for ILR As a Spouse (5&10-Year Routes) | Primus Solicitors

ILR as a spouse

Indefinite Leave To Remain (ILR) As a Spouse

Introduction to ILR as a Spouse

After holding a spouse or civil partner visa in the UK for a 5 year period, individuals may become eligible to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR).  Eligibility for ILR under the spouse visa category is dependent  on the applicant having resided in the UK for 5 years (60 months) on a route specifically designed for settlement as a spouse.

The pathway to ILR as a spouse encompasses two distinct settlement routes for spouses and partners: the 5-year route and the spouse 10-year route. Understanding which route you are on is crucial for accurately timing your ILR application. Typically, this information can be gleaned from the Home Office correspondence received when your most recent visa extension was granted.

Applicants on the ILR as a spouse 5-year route are generally required to meet the conditions outlined in Appendix FM of the Immigration Rules, covering aspects such as financial stability, accommodation, English language proficiency, and the authenticity of the relationship.

The main difference between the initial and extension applications under the 5-year route is the use of form FLR(M) for extensions, whilst applicants on the 10-year route, typically use the FLR(FP) form. At Primus, we  recommend that those who are uncertain about their status or facing challenges in their application to consult with an immigration lawyer for me personalised guidance and to ensure compliance with the ILR requirements.

What Are The Financial Requirements For ILR as a Spouse?

The financial requirement for ILR as a spouse under the 5-year route requires that applicants provide evidence of a stable and adequate income level to support themselves and any dependents without relying on public funds. The threshold is set at an annual income of £18,600 for the applicant. For families with dependents, the requirement increases by £3,800 for the first child and £2,400 for each additional child.

Can I Use Different Income Sources In My ILR Application? 

Applicants for ILR as a spouse can meet the financial requirement through various sources, including employment salary, self-employment income, savings, or a combination of these. It’s important to provide clear evidence of all income sources as part of the application process.

Savings Calculation

In situations where income does not meet the required threshold, applicants can use savings to supplement their income. The calculation for savings differs slightly from that used in initial visa applications. For ILR, the total savings must exceed £16,000, and any amount above this threshold can be considered towards meeting the financial requirement.

Documentation proving the financial requirement has been met is a critical component of the ILR application. Applicants should ensure that all financial evidence is current, official, and accurately reflects their financial situation according to Home Office guidelines.

Is There An Accommodation Requirement For ILR?

For ILR applicants on the 5-year spouse route, securing adequate and suitable accommodation is critical. The UK Home Office requires this in order to ensure that applicants have a stable and healthy living environment, free from overcrowding and in compliance with public health regulations.

 The accommodation must provide enough space for all family members without violating the UK’s housing standards. It involves assessing the property against specific overcrowding rules and ensuring it meets the required health and safety benchmarks.

This requirement emphasises the need for a physical space conducive to family life, reflecting the applicant’s long-term commitment to residing in the UK. Applicants must provide evidence of their living arrangement, such as a rental agreement or property deed, alongside utility bills or other documents proving residence at the address.

What Is The ‘Genuine Relationship Rule’?

A fundamental aspect of the ILR as a spouse application for spouses on the 5-year route is demonstrating a genuine and subsisting relationship with a British citizen or someone settled in the UK. This is vital as it ensures that the basis of the application reflects a real, ongoing partnership committed to a life together in the UK.

Individuals applying for ILR as a spouse should provide a variety of documentation to support the genuineness of their relationship. This can include joint bank statements, mortgage or rent agreements, utility bills in both names, photographs together, and correspondence addressed to both partners at the same address. Furthermore, evidence of significant life events shared together, such as trips, celebrations, or family events, can also help the relationship’s authenticity.

The objective here is to present a clear picture of your life together in the UK as a couple, demonstrating to the Home Office that your relationship has continued to develop and thrive throughout your time in the UK. 

What Is The English Language Requirement For Spouse Visas?

For spouses applying for ILR on the 5-year route, demonstrating sufficient  the English language is essential. This requirement ensures that applicants can effectively communicate and integrate into the UK community, contributing positively to society.

CEFR Level B1

The standard required is the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) level B1 in speaking and listening. Achieving this level shows that the applicant has a basic proficiency in English, capable of understanding and expressing themselves in everyday scenarios.

Applicants for the ILR as a spouse can meet this requirement through various forms, including but not limited to:

  1. Passing an approved English language test at B1 level or higher.
  2. Holding a degree taught in English, which can be verified through UK NARIC to confirm it meets the necessary standard.
  3. Being a national of a majority English-speaking country, as specified by the Home Office.

Providing evidence of meeting the English language requirement is a critical component of the ILR application, underscoring the importance of language as a tool for integration and participation in UK life.

Life in the UK Test

The Life in the UK test is a mandatory requirement for most applicants seeking ILR as a spouse, including spouses on the 5-year route. This test assesses knowledge of British culture, history, and societal norms, highlighting the applicant’s commitment to integrating into UK society.

Test Overview

The Life in the UK test consists of multiple-choice questions based on information from the official handbook. Passing this test demonstrates the applicant’s understanding and appreciation of the UK’s values and way of life.

Exemptions are available under certain conditions, such as for applicants with disabilities that prevent them from taking the test or those above a certain age. It’s important to consult the latest ILR as a spouse guidance or seek professional advice if you believe you might qualify for an exemption.

Additional Considerations for Spouse ILR Visas

When applying for ILR as a spouse on the 5-year route there are additional factors that the Home Office considers, beyond the main requirements. Understanding these can  strengthen your application and address potential concerns that may occur during the assessment process.

Absences from the UK

You don’t have to meet any specific rules regarding absence from the UK when applying for indefinite leave (ILR) while on a Spouse visa. However, a couple of conditions apply one of which is that you must have resided consistently in the UK with your partner since acquiring your last visa.


The suitability assessment is part of the ILR application, where the Home Office reviews any issues that might impact your eligibility, such as criminal records or breaches of immigration law.

Applicants should be truthful and provide any relevant information that could affect their suitability. This includes declaring any criminal convictions or civil judgments that may be considered under the good character requirement.

Fees and Processing Times For Spouse ILR

Understanding the financial and temporal aspects of the ILR as a spouse application process is crucial for effective planning and preparation.

Application Fee

The current Home Office application fee for ILR as a spouse is £2,885, so applicants should ensure they are prepared for this financial prepared before applying. Furthermore, there are potential options for expedited processing (priority services) at an added cost, which can reduce waiting times for a decision.

Processing Times

While processing times can vary the Home Office typically declare a decision within 6 months, However, applicants should prepare for the possibility of time delays due to a backlog in Immigration applications. Regularly checking the official website for current processing times and fees is advisable to stay informed of any changes.

Expertise and Services

At Primus Solicitors we offer invaluable assistance to individuals applying for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) as spouses in the UK. With a team of dedicated immigration lawyers who specialises in both spouse visa  and ILR applications, we can provide professional guidance tailored to each of our client’s unique case circumstances. From assessing eligibility to compiling necessary supporting documentation we ensure an efficient ILR application process.



Achieving ILR as a spouse on the 5-year route is a significant step towards securing a permanent future in the UK. By thoroughly understanding he point we’ve outline in this article and  preparing for each requirement, applicants can apply for ILR as a spouse much more effectively. Remember, each aspect of your application plays a crucial role in demonstrating your eligibility and readiness for permanent residency in the UK.

If you are in need of Professional Legal Advice in regard to ILR as a spouse in the UK, Don’t hesitate to Contact our Specialist Immigration Solicitors at Primus Solicitors Today.

Primus’ Spouse ILR FAQ’s

Q:How to Apply for a Spouse Visa?

A:You can apply online through Primus Solicitors; our immigration lawyers can provide legal assistance to ensure your application has the highest success rate achievable.

Q:Can You Live in the UK on a Spouse Visa?

A:Yes, spouse visa holders have the right to work and study in the UK.

Q:What If You Don’t Meet the Financial Requirements? 

A:If you do not meet the financial requirements, you can explore alternative routes, such as the 10-year partner route or human rights-based applications.

Q:How Long Does a Spouse Visa Last?

A:This type of visa from outside the UK is valid for 33 months, while one obtained from inside the UK is valid for 30 months.

Q:Can You Apply for ILR as a spouse After Five Years?

A:Yes, if you have spent five years in the UK as a spouse/partner of a British or settled person, you can apply for ILR.