ILR 5 Year Route – Spouse Visa

If you have successfully completed a 5 year continuous period in the UK on a spouse visa, you might be eligible to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain and settle in the UK.

If your application for ILR is successful, this will mean that you will not be bound by any limitations in respect of your stay.

You will be free of immigration controls and be able to naturalise and become British, should you choose so.

How RVS Solicitors Can Assist Your ILR Application

There are a number of requirements that you will need to meet before you can successfully apply to settle in the UK after holding a spouse visa for at least 5 years.

Our immigration team is very experienced in dealing with settlement applications, included in our immigration law team are people who have themselves spent time in the UK on spouse visa.

We are proud to say that we helped numerous families to submit successful applications, allowing the foreign spouse to finally become free of immigration-related worries.

See our client testimonials.

Contact us today for help with your indefinite leave to remain application.

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To find out how we can assist you with your spouse visa ILR, call us on 020 3372 5125 or fill in the online form.

Our experts in Immigration

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQS)

What are the requirements for spouse visa 5 year route to ILR?

To be able to settle in the UK after 5 year ILR route, you will need to meet the following requirements:

  1. Both you and your spouse/civil partner must be in the UK;
  2. You must continue to live in a subsisting relationship with your spouse/partner;
  3. You must meet the financial requirements. For ILR they continue to be £18,600 annual income and higher if there are also dependent children;
  4. You must prove adequate accommodation is available to you and your family;
  5. You must prove your knowledge of English Language and Life in the UK;
  6. You must meet the suitability requirements, meaning that normally you should not have any recent criminal convictions or other issues that can make granting you ILR undesirable.

What is the residence requirement for Spouse ILR?

You will need to demonstrate that you have spent at least 5 years in the UK on a spouse visa. This is a very important point that many people fail to realise.

We have seen many refusals where the applicant had made an ILR application on the basis of their spouse visa after they reached 5 years residence in the UK, but where their initial leave was in another category, for instance, a Student, a Tier 2 migrant or some other category.

It is imperative that you hold a spouse visa for 5 continuous years to successfully apply for ILR under 5-year spouse visa route. This is in particular important point for those who have switched to spouse visa from PBS dependent visa, as many consider that their previous leave as a dependent partner of a PBS migrant is the same as a spouse visa.

It is not and your application will be refused if you are not able to demonstrate 5 continuous years on spouse visa route. It has to be said that for most PBS dependants it is not advisable to switch to a spouse visa, irrespective of their spouse acquiring a settled status, as they will need to restart their period of 5 years in the UK for settlement.

If you find yourself in doubt, speak to an immigration lawyer to clarify your next steps.

What are the Rules for absences for Spouse visa ILR?

There are no specific requirements that you spend a certain number of days in the UK when it comes to spouse visa. You are, however, expected to demonstrate that the UK is your main home. For this reason, we recommend that you do not spend more than 180 days outside of the UK in any given 12 months period.

Any excess absences should be explained, with supporting evidence, or you will risk getting a refusal.

What is the English Language and Life in the UK Requirements for ILR?

To secure your Indefinite leave to Remain under spouse visa route you will need to demonstrate that you can speak and write in English at least at CEFR B1 level. This can be done either:

  1. Producing national passport for a qualifying English speaking country; or
  2. Providing a degree certificate that was taught in English and is recognised by NARIC as equivalent to a UK Bachelor degree; or
  3. Providing an English Language test certificate from a qualifying test provider.

If you are unsure on how to meet the language requirement or how to obtain the relevant evidence, our lawyers can help.

You will also need to prove Knowledge of Life in the UK by sitting a test with a designated test provider.

If you are someone who is over the age of 65, if you have mental or physical disability that prevents you from taking the test, you might qualify for exemption from these requirements. It’s always prudent to consult with an immigration solicitor to ensure that you can rely on such an exemption, if you are planning to apply for ILR without producing the evidence of Knowledge of English Language or Life in the UK.

Who can apply for spouse visa ILR?

You can apply for spouse visa ILR once you have resided in the UK for at least 60 continuous months on spouse visa. As mentioned above, you cannot combine this route with other routes.

You will need to meet all the requirements for spouse visa ILR and pay the relevant fees.

Do I need an immigration lawyer for my ILR application?

There is no legal requirement for you to use a lawyer and the applications can be made directly to the Home Office. Whether it is advisable for you to make the application on your own or use a lawyer is another matter and will largely depend on your circumstance.

If you are someone who has previously successfully made their own spouse application and you are comfortable that you know and understand the rules, then you might be all right making the ILR application too. However, if there are any unusual circumstance, you have had assistance from others in your previous application or if there are new circumstances in your case, you would be ill advised to not use an immigration lawyers.

Overall, having an immigration lawyer assist you with your application saves you time, takes away the pressure and stress of having to deal with your application yourself, ensures that you have the best chance of success. Home Office fees associated with ILR applications are quite high and you might be better off paying a little extra to ensure your application is successful the first time, then to have to pay second set of fees and also deal with the worry of a refused application.

What happens if I am refused ILR?

It is possible that your ILR is refused, but you are granted an extension instead, if it is the case that the Home Office believes that while you do not meet the Spouse ILR requirements, you meet the spouse visa requirements. If it is considered that you do not meet the spouse visa requirements either, your application can be refused altogether.

If you are unhappy with the outcome of your application, our immigration lawyers specialising in spouse visa can help. Whether it’s a fresh application you will need to make or lodge a strong appeal, we have the right people to assist you. We have successfully represented numerous clients from straightforward to very complex cases.

How can RVS Solicitors help you with your Spouse visa ILR application?

We offer a wide range of services, aimed at ensuring that no matter what the level of service you require, we are able to provide it.

Our dedicated of spouse visa lawyers will work closely with you to ensure that you have all the relevant documents in place, that the application form is completed with all the relevant and accurate information and most importantly that detailed representations are put in place, ensuring that your case is easy to follow, with your legal position clearly defined for the caseworker who will be making a decision on it.

Contact us if you require assistance with your Spouse ILR. Call us on 020 3372 5125 or fill in the online form.

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