From Spouse Visa to ILR Сomplete Guide

If you are currently in the UK on a family visa as a partner or spouse and wish to secure your long-term future in the country, applying for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) could be your next step.

ILR Eligibility Criteria

The eligibility criteria for ILR vary depending on the route you are applying for. There are three main routes to consider: the 5-year route, the 2-year route, and the 10-year route.

  • Your Relationship: To be eligible for ILR, your current visa must be based on your relationship with your partner. You must either be a husband, wife, or civil partner or in a relationship that is akin to a marriage or civil partnership for at least 2 years. Additionally, you must have lived together since your last visa renewal and intend to continue your relationship after you apply. If you are on the 10-year route, you must have had permission to be in the UK based on this relationship for at least one year.
  • Time Spent in the UK: The amount of time you need to have spent in the UK varies based on the route you are on. If you are on the 5-year route, you must have been living in the UK on your family visa as a partner for at least 5 continuous years. For the 2-year route, this requirement is reduced to 2 continuous years. It is important to note that time spent in the UK on any other visa or as a fiancé, fiancée, or proposed civil partner cannot be included in these calculations.
  • Financial Requirements: Financial requirements also vary depending on the route. If you are on the 5-year route, you and your partner must usually have a combined income of at least £18,600 per year. However, this requirement is subject to change in Spring 2024, so it is advisable to check for updates. If you have children who are not British or Irish citizens, do not have pre-settled status, or are not permanently settled in the UK, you will need to prove additional income, which ranges from £3,800 per year for your first child to £2,400 per year for each subsequent child. Please note there are no financial requirements for the 10-year route.
  • Knowledge of Language and Life in the UK: If you are between the ages of 18 and 64, you must pass the Life in the UK Test and meet the English language requirements. This typically involves having a recognized English qualification with at least level B1 in speaking and listening or holding a degree taught or researched in English.

How to Apply ILR

To apply for ILR as a spouse or partner, you will need to follow these steps:

  1. Gather Required Documents: You will be informed of the specific documents you need to provide when you apply, including the proof of income, proof of living together with your partner, evidence of a genuine and subsisting relationship, and documentation related to your English language proficiency and Life in the UK Test.
  2. Accommodation Requirement: Similar to the initial spouse visa application, you must show that there is suitable accommodation available for the exclusive use of you and your family.
  3. Online Application: You must apply online using the appropriate application form based on the route you are on (5-year, 2-year, or 10-year). It's important to note that you can apply no earlier than 28 days before you meet the residency requirements for the time you have spent in the UK. Applying too early may result in your application being refused.

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Alexandra Mokrova

Alexandra Mokrova

Co-founder of Emigral, Immigration Lawyer