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Spouse Visa to Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR)

The UK government recently announced an increase to the minimum income requirements from £18,600 to £38,700. This comes into effect in April 2024 and affects three-quarters of Brits. Get in touch with us now for advice and support.

If you’re a Spouse Visa holder that wishes to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain, our immigration lawyers are here to help.

For immediate assistance, get in touch today on  0121 667 6530. We’re here for you in person, over the phone and via Skype.


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    Moving from a Spouse Visa to ILR

    If you’re a Spouse Visa holder that wishes family visa to become settled with their partner in the UK, you will need to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR).

    Persons with the ILR status can live and work in the UK permanently and without immigrtation restrictions. In addition, a number of the benefits that are available to those with British citizenship can be accessed, such as housing benefit and NHS healthcare.

    To be eligible for ILR, Spouse Visa holders need to have been continuously and lawfully resident in the UK for at least 5 years.

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    What are the Spouse Visa to ILR eligibility requirements?

    If you are a Spouse Visa holder that wishes to become permanently settled in the UK, there are a number of other eligibility criteria and requirements that must first be satisfied. A key eligibility requirement concerns your period of residency in the UK. Spouse Visa holders must have been continuously and lawfully resident for at least 5 years in order to apply.

    The Spouse Visa ILR requirements are as follows:

    • You must have been lawfully resident in the UK for at least 60 months;
    • You must have passed the Life in the UK Test;
    • You must have satisfied the English language requirement;
    • You must continue to meet the minimum income threshold of £18,600;
    • You must have proof of suitable accommodation;
    • You must have passed the ‘Genuine Relationship Test’- this involves proving that your relationship is both genuine and subsisting.

    What supporting documentation will I need for my application?

    When you apply for Spouse Visa ILR, you will need to provide a number of supporting documents in support of your application. It is important that the documents you provide are original copies rather than photocopies. If you are unable to do this, you will need to explain why.

    The documents you must provide include:

    • Your Life in the UK Test pass certificate and English language test pass certificate;
    • Two identical passport-sized photographs- must be in colour and have the applicant’s name written clearly on the back;
    • Your current passport and all others that have been valid during your time in the UK;
    • Proof that you have cohabitated with your partner since your last grant of leave and that your relationship is genuine and subsisting;
    • Financial documentation such as payslips and bank statements that prove you meet the financial requirement.

    Get in touch with our expert immigration lawyers to learn more about transitioning from a Spouse Visa to ILR Contact us

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      What does the Life in the UK Test involve?

      Sitting and passing the Life in the UK Test is a major part of the ILR application process. It lasts for 45 minutes, and comprises 24 questions pertaining to the culture, customs and history of the UK.

      Because all 24 questions are randomly generated on the day, adequate preparation is essential. You must score a minimum of 75% to pass.

      You will need to book the test at least three days in advance of it being sat. Booking costs £50- this should be done online. There are currently over 50 test centres around the UK- you can choose one of the five that are closest to where you live.

      What are the ILR English language requirements?

      Demonstrating that you have the required level of English language proficiency is a key element of the Indefinite Leave to Remain Spouse Visa application process. You must have a minimum level of B1 as certified by the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR).

      When you pass the language test, it is crucial that you obtain a pass certificate from your test provider. This must then be submitted as part of your portfolio of supporting documentation.

      It must be borne in mind that applicants from certain countries are exempt from the English language requirement. Applicants from commonwealth/English speaking countries tend to be exempt from financial requirements.

      For legal advice and assistance with Indefinite Leave to Remain, please do not hesitate to get in touch. Learn more

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        The Financial Requirement

        The financial requirement asks that applicants meet specific financial thresholds to demonstrate their ability to support themselves and dependants to avoid becoming a burden on public funds in the UK.

        Applicants need to provide documentation such as payslips, bank statements, and tax documents to prove that they meet the required financial criteria.

        The Financial Requirement typically involves providing evidence of a minimum level of income or savings which varies depending on the applicant’s circumstances, and the number of dependents.

        For an individual applicant, the minimum income threshold stands at £18,600. For a single dependent child, you must have a gross annual income of £3,800. For each extra child, an sum of £2,400 per child is required.

        The Accommodation Requirement

        The Accommodation Requirement necessitates that applicants must provide evidence of having suitable and adequate accommodation for themselves and their dependents, if applicable, without using to public funds.

        Showing proof of this will mean providing tenancy agreements, property ownership documents, or official letters from landlords confirming the suitability of your living arrangements while in the UK.

        Biometric Residence Permit

        The Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) is a physical identification card that provides evidence of an individual’s immigration status and their right to live and work in the UK. Applicants are required to attend a biometric appointment where their fingerprints and photograph are taken.

        These biometric details are then encoded onto the BRP, which serves as an official document proving the holder’s lawful residence in the UK. This card includes information such as the individual’s name, date of birth, photograph, immigration status, and any relevant visa conditions.

        When Can a Spouse Visa Holder Apply for ILR?

        The eligibility criteria involve having maintained a residency status as a spouse or partner of either a British citizen or an individual with settled status in the UK, spanning a cumulative duration of 5 years, prior to being eligible to apply for ILR.

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          With our Application Package, your dedicated immigration lawyer will advise you on your application process and eligibility. Your caseworker will then complete and submit your forms to the Home Office on your behalf.

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                  Frequently Asked Questions

                  If your application for Indefinite Leave to Remain is approved, you will be able to be permitted to apply for British Citizenship by Marriage.

                  As it stands, the Home Office fees for Spouse Visa ILR applications are £2,398 per applicant. This is the standard fee for all types of ILR applications. You will be charged an additional £50 for each person you apply on behalf of.

                  If your application is time-sensitive and needs to be processed as quickly as possible, you can opt for a Fast-Track Application Service which will cost an additional £500. This ought to provide you with a decision within five working days.

                  A Super Priority service is also available. Applicants who select the super priority option ought to receive a decision within one working day. It costs £800.

                  Processing time is typically a maximum of 6 months, although most applications take 6 weeks to receive a decision. Applicants can opt for priority processing at a cost of £800 on top of the application fee, which will then receive a decision in 24 hours.

                  We take pride in the exceptional assistance we provide to all of our clients. Our Birmingham immigration lawyers have an impeccable track record of successful ILR applications, and are well-versed in helping Spouse Visa holders to become permanently settled in the UK.

                  To assist you with your Spouse Visa ILR application, we will:

                  • Prepare a Letter of Representation to outline the strengths of your application to the Home Office, drawing attention to relevant immigration laws in support of your case;
                  • Help you prepare for the Life in the UK Test;
                  • Help you prepare for the English language test;
                  • Complete your Spouse Visa ILR application form to the highest possible standard;
                  • Conduct a through document check to ensure that you are ready to apply for ILR;
                  • Maintain a frequent dialogue with the Home Office throughout the process.