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When can I apply for ILR after a Spouse visa?

If you are applying for Indefinite Leave to Remain on a Spouse visa, there is a certain process you will have to abide by for the best chance at a successful application.

For more information about possible restrictions, or to have any questions or concerns you might have answered by a legal professional, reach out to us today on 0333 4149244, or contact us online.

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Overview

You may be eligible to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain if:

  • You hold a Spouse visa
  • Your partner is settled in the UK as a British citizen or holds ILR

There is a different way to stay in the UK if:

  • Your partner is settled under the EU settlement scheme
  • Your partner is deceased
  • You are listed as a dependant on your partner’s visa

Individuals will be required to have held their Spouse visa for a minimum of 5 consecutive years in order to qualify for ILR.

During this time, the individual must not have been conducting in any criminal behaviour that the Home Office would deem inappropriate.

The earliest you can apply is 28 days before you meet the requirements for the time you need to have lived in the UK.

Your application may be refused if you apply earlier. Do not wait until your current visa expires.

ILR with the Spouse visa route

ILR grants individuals the freedom to live and work in the UK without immigration restrictions and time limits.

Once ILR has been granted, Individuals can apply to naturalise as a British citizen, whereby they will become entitled to the same rights as other UK citizens.

You will be eligible to apply for an ILR spouse visa if your Spouse is:

  • A British citizen
  • A settled individual in the UK that holds ILR
  • An individual who is a refugee or under humanitarian protection

Advantages of ILR for Spouses include:

  • No restrictions on living, working, or studying in the UK
  • Free of immigration restrictions such as time limits
  • Access to the UK’s healthcare system without having to pay the surcharge fee

While the spouse visa is extremely advantageous in that it permits spouse and partner to visit their family members in the UK while also enabling them to work or study.

It can be difficult to know when the visa expires and if it will require an extension or a further action before its expiry.

That is why we recommend enlisting the help of an Immigration lawyers to ease concerns about applications and guide you through the process.

How long is ILR processing?

The normal timeframe for submitting a Leave to Stay request is around six months, providing the documents and information you have provided are all correct.

During an extended application process you can opt for quicker decision making using a super priority service which comes in at £800 for each application.

This six month timeframe is only an estimation and the applications are often quicker if you have submitted a claim to UKVI.

In more complex cases, a UKVI may require further assistance from you. In such case, it is important to provide your documentation promptly so there are no delays.

To qualify

To qualify for ILR on the Spouse visa route, you will need to achieve and maintain the following:

  • You and your spouse are required to live in the UK
  • You must provide proof of residency along with proof that you have been living with your partner for the entirety of your residency in the UK, and plant to continue doing so
  • You must be in a genuine relationship with your partner
  • Unmarried partners will need to show that they have been living together in a relationship akin to a marriage or civil partnership for at least two years prior to their application.
  • Your absence from the UK must not exceed 6 months, unless your visa allows for it

When your application may be refused

There is possibility for your application to be refused, if for example:

  • You have been engaging in criminal activity and been convicted
  • You have provided fraudulent documents or been found guilty of a false relationship
  • You have failed to pay any charges due to the NHS, where the value of any outstanding charges exceeds £500
  • You are due to be deported

Biometric residence permit and ILR

The application process for the ILR Spouse permit requires that you enter biometric details in order to confirm the applicants identity and entitlements.

After submitting the application your fingerprint is collected along with a digital image of your face.

This information is used to give you a biometric residence permit. You will require a BRP if you are applying for ILR. A BRP is also called a UK residence card.

If the permit has not already been granted, you will need a BRP in the case of an existing BRP application.

How do you switch from spouse visa to ILR?

Upon a five year stay in England with spouse visa, the application for the ILR process begins automatically.

Upon obtaining ILR status, you can stay in Britain for a limited time without restriction of entry.

In addition, with the granted ILR marriage visa, the process of naturalising puts you at the same level of citizenship as other British citizens.

The process of switching from a Spouse visa to apply to Indefinitely remain in the UK can be long and doesn’t guarantee a successful outcome.

Applicants will need to:

  • Provide proof of income if you’re on the 5 or 2 year route.
  • Provide proof of address
  • Provide evidence you have resided in the UK with your spouse/partner since your last visa was issued.
  • Provide evidence that your relationship is genuine and subsiding.
  • Provide evidence that you meet the English language requirements and have passed the Life in the UK Test.

Along with this candidates must be prepared to become a British citizen and understand the benefits and responsibilities that this status holds. Applicants must also ensure they are applying for ILR before their Spouse visa expires.

Spouse Visa to ILR financial requirement

The 5 year route

You and your partner must usually have a combined income of at least £18,600 a year.

There are no financial requirements for the 10 year route.

To be granted visas to the UK by spouse, you and partner need proof that the amount of the financial support required meets the minimum earnings requirements.

However, for applicants who are dependent parents there will be a further £2,400 per child and another £2,400 for every child.

It also helps to be certain you have sufficient money to cover the ILR expenses.

ILR application rejected

If you get rejected from ILR, you may apply to another ILR which explicitly addresses the reason for refusal.

This is an opportunity for the Home Office to review your request for reconsideration. The majority of the reasons an applicant refuses consists of: excessive absenteeism, immigration violations or failure to disclose debts.

If the visa is declined, our professional team of lawyers will be happy to assist you with your appeal case and offer legal advice to achieve the outcome you desire.

Life in the UK test

A further requirement required for an ILR visa for married couples is passing an English life test.

Life in the United Kingdom tests mainly aim to examine British life and customs. A Life in the UK requires a pass rate of 75%.

In special circumstances, individuals under 18 or over 65 may not be required to undertake this exam.

If you pass this exam, you will be presented with a Pass Certification which serves as the proof that you have passed and will be required document for your ILR application.

Genuine and subsisting relationship requirement for Indefinite Leave to Remain

When an individual applies for a Spouse visa, the partners must show that they have a genuine relationship with each other.

When a married person enrols in an ILR for the second time in a married couple visa, the Home Office will assess their situation.

The Home Office will conduct an interview to collect evidence of your relationship to determine whether it is genuine.

This usually includes questions of your living situations, when and where you met, the duration of your relationship, any children you have together, joint finances or investments, proof of relationship such as photos, social media observing, and more.

The tests are extensive and thorough, so couples are advised to prepare well in advance and be completely honest and co-operative with the interviewer.

Documents required to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain as a Spouse

Documents supporting the ILR application have various requirements. Documents are required to be provided by you or your family, and be legitimate copies of original documents.

All documents provided must be original or a photocopy. If it is not already, your documents must also be translated in English, Gaelic or Welsh for inspection.

Documents that must be provided include:

  • A valid passport
  • BRP
  • Proof of finances
  • Proof of accommodation
  • Life in the UK test results
  • English proficiency test results
  • Marriage certificate for individuals with Spouse visas
  • Proof of genuine relationship with your partner
  • Proof of time you have already spent continuously in the UK

How IAS can help

IAS focuses its efforts on providing assistance and support to all couples wishing to settle in the UK. We can assess your eligibility on ILR, gather and check all your supporting documentation and aid you in filling out your applications to the most efficient standards.

Your immigration lawyers can provide you with professional advice and consultation throughout your immigration application.

If you have any questions or concerns about your absences from the UK on your visa, applying for ILR, or any other issue you might have about UK visas and immigration, IAS are here to help.

For more information about the services we offer, and what we can do for you, reach out to us today on 0333 4149244, or contact us online.

Do you need help with an immigration issue? Our lawyers can assist you.

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