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ILR from a Spouse Visa

ILR from a Spouse Visa

Do you need help applying for ILR from a Spouse Visa? If so, our immigration lawyers can help you with your application.

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Applying for Indefinite Leave to Remain from a Spouse Visa

If you are living in the UK as the spouse or partner of a British person or settled person, you may be able to qualify for settled status – or ILR (Indefinite Leave to Remain).

This form of settlement means that you can remain in the UK without being subject to restrictions. To meet the Spouse-ILR requirements, you need to have lived in the UK for at least five years on a Partner Visa. You must have satisfied all the requirements of your visa during this time (so you cannot have been in breach of your restrictions). During your time in the UK, you must satisfy the ‘continuous residency requirement’. This criterion states that you should not have been absent from the UK for more than 180 days in any 12-month period before applying for ILR with a Spouse Visa.

If you want to find out more about this route to UK settlement, or you need advice about your eligibility and options, call our team of dedicated experts now on 020 4502 8582.

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Requirements for ILR as a UK spouse

The requirements for getting ILR from a Spouse Visa include that applicants must usually fulfill financial, accommodation, English language, and relationship requirements.

The requirements for the five-year settlement route for a Spouse ILR application are as follows:

-You meet the financial requirement of at least £18,600 income per month (this can be combined from both partners’ income)

-You meet the accommodation requirement (you live and have lived with your partner and any dependents during your time in the UK with a Spousal Visa, in accommodation that meets the Home Office’s criteria)

-You demonstrate knowledge of the English language requirement (to at least a ‘B1’ level in speaking and listening)

-You pass the Life in the UK test

-You still satisfy the relationship requirement meaning you are still in a genuine and subsisting relationship with your partner

-You meet the continuous residence requirement (you have not been outside the UK for longer than 180 days in any 12-month period leading up to your application)

Application documents

To move from a Spouse Visa to ILR, you should submit several documents that prove you meet each of the above requirements. Having these will show that you are eligible to apply.

These should be submitted alongside your application forms:

  • Proof that you meet the financial requirements: bank statements, job contracts that include salary, payslips, P45/P60
  • Proof that you meet the accommodation requirements: shared tenancy agreement, mortgage, proof of shared rent payments
  • Proof you meet the English requirement: this can either be a certificate from an English language test you have taken with a certified provider, or a degree you hold that was taught in English.
  • Proof that you have passed the Life in the UK test: a certificate that says you passed a test you took at a registered centre
  • Proof that you still satisfy the genuine relationship requirement: this could be photographs/media, proof of shared finances, witness testimonies, and/or proof of events you have attended together
  • Evidence showing how many times you have left the UK (for more than 24 hours)

You should also declare and include any relevant information to do with previous convictions or breaches of immigration law (if you fail to declare anything the Home Office will automatically fail your application).

ILR application process

There are several different Indefinite Leave to Remain application processes which vary depending on which route you are taking to settle in the UK.

You can apply for ILR as a spouse or partner of a settled person/British citizen by completing an online form SET(M).

This should be completed and submitted alongside your supporting documents and any other relevant information for your application.

As well as this, the Home Office will also assess your criminal and immigration history. If you have any unspent convictions or convictions of four years or more this may jepardise your claim, as well as if you have a history of immigration breaches.

Continuous residency requirements

The continuous residence requirement refers to your absences from the UK while you have been living here under the Spouse Visa regulations.

This requires you to have lived in the country for at least five years before the date of submission, and also that you have not left the country during any 12-month period for longer than 180 days.

In this context, ‘days’ count as full overnight trips. If you leave the country and return in the UK in the same day this does not count towards your period of absence.

In some cases, there are exceptions to continuous residence reasons, and these are granted for compassionate or compelling reasons. These are considered on a case-by-case basis.

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Costs & fees

According to the Home Office, the processing time for ILR from a Spouse Visa is eight weeks. This is the processing time in which you would expect a decision to be made on the application.

However, the general processing time can be up to six months. This is the case when there are complex circumstances to consider. For example, an application may take longer to process if the applicant is submitting a request for exceptions on compassionate grounds.

You can speed up the ILR processing time by paying for a super-priority service. This incurs an extra fee on top of the usual ILR fee.

Processing times

According to the Home Office, the processing time for ILR from a Spouse Visa is eight weeks. This is the processing time in which you would expect a decision to be made on the application.

However, the general processing time can be up to six months. This is the case when there are complex circumstances to consider. For example, an application may take longer to process if the applicant is submitting a request for exceptions on compassionate grounds.

You can speed up the ILR processing time by paying for a super-priority service. This incurs an extra fee on top of the usual ILR fee.

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Frequently Asked Questions

A Spouse Visa is issued for two and a half years and it lets the holder live and work in the UK under the premise that they are in a genuine and subsisting relationship. After this period, it can be extended for a further two and a half years.

Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) is a form of permanent settled status. Someone with ILR in the UK has unrestricted leave to live and work in Britain. This is not dependent on anything and there is no time limit on it.

A Spouse/Partner Visa is not the same as ILR, but a person who holds leave to remain as a Spouse can use this as an entrance route for ILR.

To do this, you must extend your initial Spousal Visa at least once, and live as the partner of a British or settled person for at least five years. There are several other requirements you must meet if you want to follow this route. These include meeting the financial, accommodation, relationship, continuous residence, English language, and ‘knowledge of UK life’ requirements. If you meet these you can apply for ILR using Form SET (M).

You can leave the UK if you live here on a Spouse/Partner Visa. However, if you want to make an Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) application from a Spouse Visa, you cannot leave the UK for more than 180 days during any 12-month period in the five years running up to the application.

You can no longer apply for ILR after only three years of being married to a British citizen in the UK with a Partner Visa. Now, you must wait at least five years before you can become eligible to switch from a UK Spouse Visa to ILR.