Are you looking to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) in the UK as a spouse? Congratulations on reaching this milestone in your immigration journey! Our comprehensive guide will walk you through the intricacies of applying for ILR through the 5 and 10-year route as a spouse or civil partner. We will explore the requirements, documents needed, financial criteria, and more to ensure you are well-prepared for this significant step in your immigration process.
The 5-year Route to settlement or ILR is an immigration option for those who have legally resided in the UK as a spouse or civil partner for five continuous years. This Route allows individuals to apply for ILR once they have met the necessary requirements, including financial thresholds, English language proficiency, good character, and compliance with immigration rules. Upon obtaining ILR through the 5-year Route, individuals gain the privilege of living and working in the UK without immigration restrictions.
To apply for ILR as a spouse in the UK under the 5-year Route, you must meet specific requirements:
- Settled Status: If your partner is not a British citizen, they should have Indefinite Leave to Remain or settled status in the UK.
- Financial Threshold: You need to demonstrate that your combined income with your partner meets the minimum threshold of £18,600 per year.
- Compliance with Immigration Rules and UK Law: You must not have broken any immigration rules or UK laws during your stay in the UK.
- English Language Proficiency: Unless you hold a UK degree taught in English, you must have English language proficiency at B1 level on the Common European Framework for Languages.
- Life in the UK Test: You are required to pass the Life in the UK test, demonstrating your knowledge of British Life, culture, and history.
- Good Character Requirement: You should meet the good character requirement, which means you must not have a criminal record or any history of dishonesty or deception.
When applying to switch to ILR from a spouse visa, you will need to gather several important documents, including:
- Passport Copies: Copies of your passport and your UK partner’s passport.
- Marriage Certificate: Evidence of your marital relationship, such as a marriage certificate.
- Financial Documents: Proof of your finances, including income, savings, and any additional sources of financial support.
- Accommodation Proof: Documents demonstrating that you have adequate accommodation available for your family.
- English Language Certificate: If applicable, your English language certificate demonstrates proficiency at the B1 level.
- Life in the UK Test Certificate: Proof of passing the Life in the UK test.
Meeting the financial requirements is a crucial part of the ILR application process. Your combined annual income with your partner must be at least £18,600. This threshold increases if you have dependent children, with an additional £3,800 for your first child and £2,400 for each subsequent child.
You can prove your financial stability through various means, including regular salary from employment, self-employment income, statutory payments (e.g., sick pay), savings, investments, pension payments, rental income, or any other legitimate sources of financial support.
The 10-year Route provides an alternative for individuals who may still need to meet the stringent criteria of the 5-year Route or have faced unique challenges during their stay in the UK. To qualify for ILR through the 10-year Route, applicants must have continuously resided in the UK for a decade (10 years) under a valid visa.
This Route acknowledges that the journey to settlement can be more complex for some, offering a more extended timeframe for individuals to meet the requirements. Once ILR is granted through the 10-year Route, individuals also enjoy the benefits of permanent residence, including working and living in the UK without immigration constraints.
For those who still need to complete the 5-year Route to ILR, the 10-year Route offers an alternative path to achieving Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) as a spouse or civil partner in the UK. The 10-year Route may be suitable for individuals who still need to meet the requirements of the 5-year Route or those who have faced specific challenges during their time in the UK.
Key requirements for obtaining ILR through the 10-year Route include:
- Legal Residence: To qualify for ILR via the 10-year Route, you must have continuously lived in the UK for a period of 10 years while holding a valid spouse visa. This means you should have maintained your lawful residence status throughout this decade.
- Good Character: Similar to the 5-year Route, you must meet the good character requirement. This entails demonstrating that you have not been involved in any criminal activities or activities that could be considered dishonest or deceptive during your stay in the UK.
- English Language Proficiency: You should have a good command of the English language, typically at B1 level on the Common European Framework for Languages. This requirement ensures that you can communicate effectively and integrate into British society.
- Life in the UK Test: You must also pass the Life in the UK test, which assesses your knowledge of British culture, history, and societal norms. This is a fundamental requirement to show your commitment to Life in the UK.
- Compliance with Immigration Rules: Throughout the ten years, you must adhere to all immigration rules and regulations. Any breaches of these rules, such as overstaying your visa, could jeopardise your ILR application.
- Evidence of Continuous Residence: To prove that you have lived continuously in the UK for the required period, you must provide a comprehensive record of your residence history. This can include documents such as utility bills, tenancy agreements, payslips, and other official records demonstrating your presence in the UK.
- Financial Requirement: While the financial requirement for the 10-year Route is less stringent than the 5-year Route, you must still be able to support yourself financially without relying on public funds.
- Relationship Evidence: You should provide evidence of your ongoing and genuine relationship with your British or settled partner. This could include marriage certificates, joint financial documents, and photographs.
The 10-year Route may be considered a more challenging path to ILR due to the extended time frame and stringent requirements. Individuals considering this Route should consult immigration experts to ensure they meet all criteria and have the necessary documentation to support their application.
We understand the importance of a swift decision in your ILR application. As a leading immigration solicitors’ firm, we offer the Super Priority Service, which Home Office details guarantees a decision within 24 hours. This service ensures that your application is processed quickly and efficiently, providing peace of mind during waiting.
In the unfortunate event of an ILR visa refusal, our dedicated team of immigration solicitors can assist you in challenging the decision. You can contact our experts for a detailed assessment of your spouse visa application before submission to ensure you meet all the requirements.
If you are navigating the ILR application process as a spouse, our specialist immigration lawyers are here to guide you. Contact us today to learn more about our services and how we can assist you with your immigration journey. We are committed to helping you achieve your ILR goals in the UK.
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 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.