The 5 Year Route – Spouse Visa

The 5 Year Route leads to “Indefinite Leave to Remain” (ILR), also known as “Permanent Residence” in the UK.

You can apply for ILR as a spouse after you have finished 5 years in the UK under the Spouse Visa Route. You are permitted to apply for the 5-year spouse visa route from overseas or within the UK. For example, if you are already in the UK on a fiance visa, work visa, or student visa valid for more than six months, you could be eligible to switch this into a spouse visa.

The 5-year route is appropriate for those who meet all the suitability and eligibility requirements of the immigration rules at every stage. That is to say, for example, they have been persons of good character with no criminal convictions or have not acted in any deceitful manner with the Home Office or the tax authorities. Moreover, applicants need to show that they have been in this country lawfully and are able to switch into this route or extend their stay here having obtained entry clearance under this route initially.

If you would like to eventually succeed in the ILR application as a spouse under the 5 years route, you as an applicant must:

  • ensure that your case meets the suitability criteria as set out in Appendix FM of the Immigration Rules
  • show that you have been living with your UK spouse during the last period of leave
  • show that your relationship is genuine and subsisting
  • demonstrate that you and the UK sponsor want to live together permanently
  • meet the financial requirement of earning, this is £18,600 gross per year (or above if there are non-British children), individually or jointly
  • meet the requirement of decent accommodation and to be accommodated in the UK without any use of public funds
  • prove that you meet the English language proficiency at CEFR level B1 in listening and speaking
  • prove that you meet the Life in the UK test requirement

The application, how long does the process take?

It takes 15 – 20 working days to prepare an application, but this can be done sooner depending on your case. You can expect a decision in 3 – 8 weeks.

How long will an applicant be granted to stay in the UK under the five-year or 10-year routes?

If you are successful under the 5-year route to settlement there will be an initial grant of 30 months limited leave to remain (which means you can stay in the UK for a period of 30 months) followed by a further period of 30 months where you will have to reapply. After this (60 months = 5 years), you will be eligible to apply for ILR.

What happens if your application is refused?

If the correct guidelines are followed an application is unlikely to be refused. However, if there is a refusal of your application you can appeal against the Home Office decision through a First Tier Tribunal appeal process.

If you are married to a British Citizen or settled person and you do not meet all the requirements under the 5 Year Route – Spouse Visa you can apply under the 10-year route spouse visa (only from inside the UK). Learn more here.

Ask our team of Top Immigration Lawyers

For more information about applying to the 5-year spouse visa route or to find out more about your specific case and whether you are eligible, feel free to give us a call during working hours from Monday to Friday on +44 (0) 207 269 9590 or fill out the form below and we will reply to you in 24 hours (on working days).