The 5-year Spouse visa route allows you to join your UK-based partner who is a British citizen or a settled person in the UK for 30 months (2.5 years). You can apply for a spouse visa extension after 2.5 years. Once you have spent 5 continuous years in the UK on a spouse visa, you may be able to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) to settle in the UK.
To be eligible for a UK Spouse visa (5-year route), the applicant must meet certain requirements, such as being over 18 years old, being in a genuine and subsisting relationship with their partner, and meeting the minimum income threshold. The applicant will also need to provide evidence of their relationship, their English language proficiency, and their ability to support themselves financially in the UK without relying on public funds.
Whether you want to apply, extend or switch to a UK Spouse visa 5-year route, our experienced immigration lawyer can provide legal advice and help with your visa application.
Table of Contents
- What is a UK Spouse visa (5-year route)?
- What is a UK Spouse visa (10-year route)?
- What are the Spouse visa requirements under the 5-year route?
- Documents required for UK spouse visa (5-year route)
- Apply for indefinite leave to remain after 5 years spouse visa
- UK spouse visa processing time
- UK spouse visa application fees
- How can an immigration lawyer help you?
- Frequently asked questions (FAQs)
- Need legal advice or help from an immigration lawyer?
What is a UK Spouse visa (5-year route)?
The UK Spouse visa (5-year route) is a type of visa that allows a non-UK spouse or civil partner of a British citizen or a person with settled status in the UK to join their partner in the UK. This visa is also known as a "Family of a settled person" visa.
If the application is successful, the applicant will be granted a visa that allows them to live and work in the UK for 30 months (2.5 years). After the initial 30-month period, the visa can be extended for another 30 months if the applicant continues to meet the requirements. After a total of five years in the UK on this visa, the applicant may be eligible to apply for settlement in the UK, also known as indefinite leave to remain (ILR).
What is a UK Spouse visa (10-year route)?
The UK Spouse visa (10-year route) is another type of visa available to non-UK spouses or civil partners of British citizens or individuals with settled status in the UK.
The 10-year route is designed for those who do not meet the eligibility requirements for the 5-year route, or for those who prefer to apply for a longer-term visa option. To be eligible for a UK Spouse visa (10-year route), the applicant must meet certain requirements, such as being over 18 years old, being in a genuine and subsisting relationship with their partner, and meeting the minimum income threshold. The applicant will also need to provide evidence of their relationship, their English language proficiency, and their ability to support themselves financially in the UK without relying on public funds.
If the application is successful, the applicant will be granted a visa that allows them to live and work in the UK for 2.5 years (30 months). After this initial 30-month period, the visa can be extended for another 30 months if the applicant continues to meet the requirements. This cycle of extensions can be repeated until the applicant has spent a total of 10 years on the visa.
It's worth noting that, unlike the 5-year route, the 10-year route does not lead directly to settlement in the UK, also known as indefinite leave to remain (ILR). However, after spending a total of 10 years on the visa, the applicant may be eligible to apply for ILR separately.
What are the Spouse visa requirements under the 5-year route?
The requirements for a UK Spouse visa (5-year route) include the following:
- Minimum age for a Spouse visa
- Genuine & subsisting relationship requirements
- Financial requirement
- Adequate accommodation requirement
- English language requirement
Read this comprehensive guide for more information about UK spouse visa requirements.
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.
Minimum age for a Spouse visa
You and your partner are both over the age of 18 on the date when you submit your Spouse Visa application.
Genuine & subsisting relationship requirements
The applicant must be married to or in a civil partnership with a British citizen or an individual with settled status in the UK. The relationship must be genuine and subsisting, meaning that it is not a marriage of convenience.
The applicant must meet the minimum income threshold, which is currently set at £18,600 per year. If the applicant has dependent children, the threshold may be higher. In some cases, alternative sources of income or savings may be considered.
If your partner is not able to meet the income requirement, you may be able to use your own savings to meet the financial requirement. You must have at least £62,500 in savings, which must have been held for at least six months prior to the visa application.
Adequate accommodation requirement
The applicant must have suitable accommodation available for themselves and any dependents without relying on public funds. As part of your UK Spouse Visa application, you will need to provide proof of accommodation that meets UK living standards.
Your UK national partner, who acts as your sponsor, will need to show that he or she can provide adequate accommodation for themselves, the applicant, and any dependents who intend to live in the UK.
English language requirement
The applicant must be able to speak, read, write, and understand English at a basic level. This can be demonstrated by passing an approved English language test or by having an academic qualification that was taught in English.
You must prove you can read, write, speak, and understand English to at least level A1 on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) scale.
Documents required for UK spouse visa (5-year route)
To apply for a UK Spouse visa under the 5-year route, the following documents are typically required:
- Valid passport or other travel documents to prove your identity
- Proof that your relationship is genuine & subsisting
- Evidence that you meet the financial requirements
- Evidence of meeting the adequate accommodation requirement
- Evidence of your knowledge of the English language
- Proof of any dependent family members (if applicable)
- Tuberculosis (TB) test results (if applicable)
Read the guidance for the full list of documents you'll need to provide in support of your UK Spouse visa application.
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.
Apply for indefinite leave to remain after 5 years spouse visa
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.
Once you are granted ILR as a skilled worker, you can stay in the UK indefinitely and work in any job or industry without the need for a work permit. You may also be eligible to apply for British citizenship after a certain period of time.
Read this guide about how to apply for ILR as a Spouse and the eligibility requirements.
UK spouse visa processing time
Once you have applied online and attended your biometrics appointment, you'll usually get a decision on your Spouse visa within the:
- 24 weeks, if applying from outside the UK using standard service
- 8 weeks, if applying from inside the UK 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 UK visa application fee.
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 UK visa 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 and what country you're in.
UK spouse visa application fees
The spouse visa application fee is £1,538 if you are applying from outside the UK using a standard service. You have to pay £1,048 if you're applying to extend or switch to a spouse visa from inside the UK.
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 it cost?
The cost of a UK visa application varies depending on the type of visa you are applying for, your location and the type of service such as 'standard service', or 'priority service'.
Here are some common costs associated with applying for a UK visa:
- Spouse visa application fee
- Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS)
- Biometrics fee (if applying from inside the UK)
- £1,000 in addition to the visa fee if using the super priority service
- £500 in addition to the visa fee if using the priority service
- English language test fee (if required)
- Immigration lawyer fees (if using legal services to boost your chances of success & avoid mistakes)
Please note that the above is a general list of costs associated with UK visa applications. There may be additional costs such translation fee and tuberculosis (TB) test fee depending on your circumstances.
Immigration lawyer fees
Our expert UK immigration lawyer will guide you through every step of the UK visa 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 Spouse visa 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?
As part of our immigration services for your immigration application, our expert immigration lawyer will:
- assess your eligibility for the relevant visa type by fully considering your circumstances;
- advise you on the required supporting documents to be submitted in support of your immigration application;
- assess all the documents to ensure that the documents you provide are as per the requirements of the Immigration Rules;
- advise you on strengths and potential weaknesses in your visa application and how you can overcome such weaknesses if any;
- complete the online immigration draft application form to share it with you for cross-checking;
- submit your application online and schedule your biometrics appointments with the relevant commercial partner of the UKVI;
- prepare a detailed cover letter in support of the immigration application explaining in detail how you are meeting all the requirements of the Immigration Rules so that you have the maximum chances of succeeding in your visa application;
- upload all the supporting documents online in support of the immigration application in their correct format and order;
- dealing and responding to any caseworker enquiries or correspondence from the Home Office caseworker for any further documents or information concerning your pending immigration application;
- do all the follow-up work on your immigration 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 UK visa application or any other immigration matter.
Frequently asked questions (FAQs)
Here are some commonly asked questions about UK Spouse visa:
Yes, it is possible to switch from a Fiancé(e) visa to a Spouse visa if you get married to your fiancé(e) within the validity period of the Fiancé(e) visa.
Yes, you are allowed to work in the UK on a UK Spouse visa. You do not need to apply for a separate work visa or permission to work.
Once you have been granted a UK Spouse visa, you will be granted permission to work in the UK without any restrictions. You can work full-time or part-time, and you do not need to have a job offer before you arrive in the UK.
You'll usually get a decision on your Spouse visa within 24 weeks if applying from outside the UK using standard service. However, you may be eligible to use Priority Service to get a decision faster.
If the spouse visa application is granted, the initial leave will normally be granted for 2.5 years under the 5-year route to settlement.
After you have been in the UK for an initial period of 30 months, you can apply for a spouse extension to extend your stay for another 2.5 years.