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Spouse Visa ILR

With indefinite leave to remain (ILR), you can live with your British spouse or partner in the UK on a permanent basis. As soon as you attain ILR status as a spouse, you can become eligible to naturalise as a British citizen – a significant step in securing your family’s future in Britain.


After holding a spouse / civil partner visa in the UK for a consecutive period of 5 years, it is possible to apply for a spouse visa ILR. The leave as a spouse must have been held for a period of exactly 5 years (60 months) before being eligible to apply for indefinite leave to remain. This period must have also been spent as a spouse of a British national or settled person, on a 5 year route to settlement.

There are two different settlement routes for spouses and partners of British or settled nationals in the UK. The 5 year route and the 10 year route. You should normally know which route you are on in order to calculate when you can apply for spouse visa ILR. If not, there are ways you can find out. The most obvious would be to check the Home Office correspondence when your most recent extension application was approved.

Applicants on a 5 year route to settlement are also normally required to satisfy the requirements of Appendix FM, i.e. financial, accommodation, English language and relationship.  If you provided supporting evidence addressing those requirements during your most recent application, the chances are that you are on 5 year route to settlement.

Spouse Visa ILR Requirements

The requirements will differ whether you are on a 5 year route or a 10 year route to settlement. In this article, we will explore the requirements of a 5 year settlement route for spouse ILR application.

The main requirements for spouse visa ILR are very similar to the ones you would have had to satisfy for the initial application as a spouse and subsequent extension, with few additions and variations.

  • Financial Requirement of £18,600
  • Accommodation Requirement
  • KoLL – Knowledge of English and Life in the UK requirement
  • Relationship Requirement
  • Absences Requirement

The Home Office will also assess your suitability, any criminal records, county court judgments against your name, unpaid NHS debt etc. This information is outside the scope of this article. Main requirements for spouse visa ILR are discussed in detail below.

Absences for Spouse Visa ILR application

There are no specific requirements for maximum absences for those applying for ILR based on holding UK spouse visa. If the majority of time on UK spouse visa was spent overseas, the Home Office may doubt whether the couple intends to live permanently in the UK. Every application will be considered on its merits, and there is a variety of factors Home Office will assess, including reasons for the absence, length of the absence, whether the couple resided together during the absence in question etc.

Genuine and Subsisting Relationship

Again, this requirement for spouse visa ILR stage is almost identical to the extension stage, except you would have now been living with your British / settled sponsor for an additional 2.5 year period. Updated evidence will be required to show that you continued to reside together from your last grant of leave and that your relationship is still subsisting.

English Language Requirement

For the ILR application based on spouse leave, the English language requirement increases once more to B1 CEFR. The requirement can be satisfied if you:

  • Hold a UK degree or overseas equivalent that was taught and researched in English.
  • Pass an English language test, level B1, from one of the approved English test providers.
  • Is a national of majority English speaking country.
  • Exempt from the English language test.

Life in the UK test

As is with most ILR applications, you will need to pass a life in the UK test. People with certain disabilities and mental illnesses are exempt. You can also be exempt by virtue of your age.

Need Help for Spouse Visa ILR application?

Our immigration advisers have extensive experience in preparing spouse ILR applications of any complexity. Our advisers can make sure the documents provided in support of the application are sufficient to meet the requirements of the Immigration Rules.

We will also assist with filling out the application forms, preparing a cover letter with the representations on a client’s behalf and submitting the application to the Home Office. We will continue to act on the case until the decision is taken by the Home Office and will chase them if the need arises.

Contact us today

Nexus Visas assists international clients in obtaining UK visas, residence and citizenship under the respective programs. Contact us to arrange an initial private consultation.

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Nexus Visas is the trading name of Nexus Immigration Limited company registered in England and Wales with company number: 12633225. 

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