As a spouse visa holder, you may be able to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) after you have spent 5 continuous years in the UK on a spouse visa.

The transition from a spouse visa to ILR is a key milestone for many individuals who wish to stay in the UK with their spouse or partner. To apply for ILR as a spouse, the applicant must meet certain eligibility requirements, such as having lived in the UK for a minimum of 5 years, meeting the financial requirement, and passing the Life in the UK test.

Once granted ILR, the individual can stay in the UK without any immigration restrictions and can eventually apply for British citizenship, provided they meet the eligibility criteria.

If you need legal advice or help with your Indefinite Leave to Remain application, our experienced immigration lawyer can provide you with the help you need.

Call Rex Law Chambers on 0161 989 9370 or fill in our enquiry form for immigration advice and help with your Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) application.

Table of Contents

How to apply for ILR as a spouse?

If you want to apply for ILR as a Spouse, you must apply online for Indefinite Leave to Remain by using the SET(M) application form.

Here are the steps you need to take to apply for ILR as a spouse:

  • Check if you are eligible
  • Collect the necessary documents
  • Fill out the application form
  • Pay the application fee
  • Submit your application
  • Book & attend a biometric appointment
  • Wait for a decision

Read this comprehensive guide to learn more about how to apply for ILR, the required documents and fees.

Requirements for ILR as a Spouse

To apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) as a spouse, the following requirements must be met:

  • Continuous residence: You must have lived in the UK for a minimum of 5 years under a spouse visa.
  • Valid visa: You must currently hold a valid spouse visa, which has not expired.
  • English language skills: You must have a good knowledge of the English language. This can be demonstrated by passing an approved English language test or by holding a degree taught in English or a degree that is equivalent to a UK degree.
  • Financial requirement: You must meet the financial requirement, which includes demonstrating that you and your spouse have a combined income of at least £18,600 per year or savings of at least £62,500.
  • No breach of immigration laws: You must not have breached any UK immigration laws or conditions of your visa during your stay in the UK.
  • Pass the "Life in the UK" test: You must pass the "Life in the UK" test, which is a test on British culture, history, and government.
  • Good character: You must be of good character and have no serious criminal convictions.

You must also meet all the other eligibility requirements depending on type of application and your personal circumstances. Please contact us for an initial assessment to determine your eligibility, and to discuss the options.

It is important to note that the rules and requirements for ILR as a spouse may change from time to time, so it is advisable that you consult the immigration lawyer on applying for Indefinite Leave to Remain as a spouse to ensure that you meet all the eligibility requirements.

Continuous residence requirement

To apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) as a spouse of a British citizen or a person settled in the UK, the applicant must meet the continuous residence requirement. This means that the applicant must have lived in the UK for a continuous period of 5 years, during which they must have had legal permission to stay in the country throughout the entire period.

The applicant must not have breached any immigration laws, such as overstaying their visa or working without permission, during the 5-year period. They must also have met other requirements, such as passing the Life in the UK Test and meeting the English language proficiency requirement.

Additionally, during the 5-year period, the applicant must have spent no more than 180 days outside the UK in any 12-month period, unless there are compelling or compassionate reasons for the absence, such as serious illness or caring responsibilities.

Financial requirements

To apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) as a spouse of a British citizen or a person settled in the UK, the applicant must meet certain financial requirements. Specifically, the applicant must demonstrate that they meet the minimum income threshold and that their relationship with their partner is genuine and subsisting.

The minimum income threshold for an ILR application as a spouse is currently £18,600 per year, although this amount may be higher if the applicant has children who are not British citizens or settled in the UK. The applicant must provide evidence that their partner meets this minimum income requirement through various forms of documentation, such as payslips, tax returns, and bank statements.

Alternatively, the applicant may meet the financial requirement through other sources of income, such as savings or self-employment. In these cases, the applicant must demonstrate that they have sufficient funds to support themselves and their dependents without recourse to public funds.

Life in the UK test for ILR

When applying for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) in the UK, you will generally be required to pass the Life in the UK test as part of the application process. The test is designed to assess your knowledge of British culture, customs, and history, and it is a requirement for most settlement and citizenship applications.

To take the Life in the UK test, you will need to book an appointment at a designated test centre and pay the test fee, which as of April 2023 is £50. The test is computer-based and consists of 24 multiple-choice questions, which you will have 45 minutes to answer.

The test covers a range of topics related to life in the UK, including:

  • The UK's political system, including the roles of the government, Parliament, and judiciary
  • British history, culture, and society, including significant events, people, and traditions
  • Rights and responsibilities of UK citizens, such as voting and paying taxes
  • Education, healthcare, and social welfare systems in the UK
  • Immigration, asylum, and citizenship laws and policies in the UK.

To pass the test, you must answer at least 18 out of 24 questions correctly. If you fail the test, you can retake it after seven days, but you will need to pay the test fee again.

English language requirement for ILR

When applying for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) in the UK, you will generally be required to meet the English language requirements as part of the application process. The specific requirements will depend on your individual circumstances and the immigration category under which you are applying.

In general, to meet the English language requirement for ILR, you must provide evidence that you:

  • Have a degree taught in English that is equivalent to a UK bachelor's degree, master's degree, or PhD;
  • Have passed a Home Office approved English language test at the required level (currently CEFR level B1 or above) with a recognized test provider; or
  • Have obtained an academic qualification taught in English from an institution that is recognized by UK NARIC (the National Recognition Information Centre for the United Kingdom).

It's important to note that some categories of applicants, such as those aged 65 or over or those with a long residence in the UK, may be exempt from the English language requirement.

If you need to take an English language test, you can find a list of Home Office approved test providers on the UK government's website. You should ensure that you meet the required level of English language proficiency before taking the test, as failing the test can delay your ILR application.

If you have any questions or concerns about the English language requirements for your ILR application, it's advisable to seek guidance from an immigration lawyer.

Documents required for ILR as a spouse application

To apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) as a spouse, the following documents are usually required:

  • Current passport: Your current passport or travel document, as well as any previous passports or travel documents you have used to enter the UK.
  • Biometric Residence Permit (BRP): Your BRP, which is a card that proves your right to live and work in the UK.
  • Evidence of relationship: Evidence that you are still in a genuine and subsisting relationship with your spouse, such as a marriage certificate or civil partnership certificate, and evidence of cohabitation.
  • Proof of financial requirement: Evidence that you meet the financial requirement, which includes documents such as bank statements, payslips, and tax returns.
  • English language requirement: Evidence that you meet the English language requirement, such as an English language test certificate or a degree certificate from a UK university.
  • Life in the UK test: Evidence that you have passed the Life in the UK test, such as a certificate of passing the test.

This is a general list of documents. Depending on type of application and your personal circumstances, you might also need to provide additional documents.

Please contact us for an initial assessment to determine your eligibility, and find out the required list of documents in support of your application.

It is recommended that you consult the immigration lawyer on applying for Indefinite Leave to Remain as a spouse to ensure that you provide all the necessary documents for your application.

Read the guidance for the full list of documents you'll need to provide in support of your Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) application.

ILR application processing time

You should get a decision within 3-6 months if you are applying for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) using standard service. However, you may be able to use priority service to get a faster decision.

Check the latest information about the ILR application processing time on the GOV website.

How long does the ILR application process take?

Once you have applied online and attended your biometrics appointment, you'll usually get a decision on your visa within:

  • 3-6 months, if applying using standard service
  • 5 working days, if applying using priority service
  • 24 hours, if applying using super priority service

Super Priority Service

You may be eligible to use the “super priority service” to get a faster decision by the end of the next working day (within 24 hours). You'll need to pay £1,000 in addition to the ILR application fee.

Priority Service

You may be able to choose the 'priority service' when you apply for a UK visa to get a faster decision within 5 working days. You'll need to pay £500 in addition to the ILR application fee.

When you apply, you might be eligible to choose the 'super priority service' or 'priority service' to get your visa faster depending on the type of application.

ILR application fees

Home Office (UKVI) fee for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) application is £2,404 per applicant if applying using standard service. You do not need to pay the IHS (Immigration Health Surcharge) if you are applying for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR).

Please note that these fees are subject to change, and you should always check the most up-to-date information on the UK government's official website before applying for a visa.

How much does an ILR application cost?

The cost of an Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) application varies depending on the type of application you are applying for and the type of service you are using such as 'standard service',  'super priority service', or 'priority service'.

Here are some common costs associated with applying for an indefinite leave to remain:

Please note that the above is a general list of costs associated with UK visa applications. There may be additional costs such translation fee depending on your circumstances.

Immigration lawyer fees

Our expert UK immigration lawyer will guide you through every step of the Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) application process including advice about legal requirements and eligibility criteria.

At Rex Law Chambers, our immigration lawyer charges a fixed fee between £800-£1000 for our complete legal services in relation to your Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) application. The agreed fixed fee will depend on the complexity of the matter and the casework involved in the matter.

How can an immigration lawyer help you?

If you need legal advice or help with your Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) application, our immigration lawyer can provide legal assistance.

Immigration lawyer at Rex Law Chambers will:

  • advise you about eligibility criteria and the requirement;
  • provide you with a comprehensive checklist of supporting documents;
  • fill in and submit your ILR application;
  • check all the supporting documents;
  • upload all the supporting documents online in their correct format and order;
  • schedule your biometrics appointments;
  • prepare a cover letter or letter of representation to support your application;
  • dealing and responding to any enquiries or correspondence from the Home Office (UKVI);
  • do all the follow-up work on your ILR application until a decision is received from the Home Office (UKVI).

Contact our experienced and friendly immigration lawyer on 0161 989 9370 or fill in our enquiry form to get reliable & confidential immigration advice and legal assistance with a Settlement (ILR) application or any other immigration matter.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

Here are some commonly asked questions about Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR):

Individuals with ILR are still subject to certain restrictions, such as the requirement to notify the Home Office of any changes in their circumstances, and they can lose their ILR status if they spend 2 or more continuous years outside the UK.

Each applicant needs to pay £2,404 for their Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) application if applying for ILR using the standard service.

The length of time it takes to receive a decision on an ILR application can vary depending on a number of factors, but typically it can take up to six months. You can pay extra for a priority service to receive a decision faster.

You must apply for ILR online by completing the relevant application form and providing supporting documents to prove that you meet the eligibility requirements.

Read this comprehensive guide to learn more about how to apply for ILR, the required documents and fees.

With ILR, you can live and work in the UK permanently, and you are not subject to immigration controls or restrictions. You may also be eligible for certain benefits, such as access to the NHS and social security benefits, among others.

Call Rex Law Chambers on 0161 989 9370 for confidential legal advice and help with your ILR application. You can get help from our immigration lawyer in person, over the phone, via WhatsApp, email or live chat.

Need legal advice or help from an immigration lawyer?

Call us on 0161 989 9370 or fill in the enquiry form to get legal advice or help with your UK visa application. Our UK immigration lawyer is ready to assist you.

At Rex Law Chambers, we specialise in a wide range of UK visas and nationality applications and our principal immigration lawyer has a wealth of experience and expert knowledge to deal with all types of UK visas and immigration applications. He has successfully handled many complex and high-profile cases and also represented clients in their immigration matters.

Free immigration advice online

Our immigration lawyer can provide one-off FREE general legal advice online via live chat or through the enquiry form. The FREE advice does not cover the advice in relation to complex legal issues or advice about documents to be submitted in support of the application.

If you would like to get detailed immigration advice then please schedule an in-person, Zoom, or phone consultation by using our appointment request form.

Menu