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    ILR as a Spouse or Partner of a British Citizen

    The UK migration law encompasses a comprehensive family visa system that can sometimes be challenging to comprehend. For those who reside in the territory as married or as a permanent partner, the government provides an opportunity to change migration status to a more promising one. In this article, we will explore the process of obtaining Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) in the UK for spouses or partners. This represents the subsequent stage following the acquisition of a spouse visa. Once you have been granted ILR on these grounds, you become eligible to apply for UK citizenship. Within this guide, we will address frequently asked questions and offer valuable recommendations for a successful application.

    Prerequisites for acquiring ILR through a spouse visa

    The most prevalent approach to obtaining ILR as a spouse involves applying for indefinite leave to remain after 5 years of being a spouse. The ILR 5-year route for a spouse/partner visa is granted based on marriage or a verified, genuine relationship with any of the following individuals:

    • a British citizen;
    • a person with indefinite leave to remain;
    • someone holding permanent resident status in the EU;
    • a refugee or an individual granted humanitarian protection.

    In order to apply, both partners must be in the United Kingdom. It is also important to prove cohabitation with your spouse or partner during the past visa period and the intention to continue cohabitation after the application has been made. Simply put, the relationship must be real, genuine and ongoing, and you must be able to prove this.

    In addition, to obtain such a permit there are serious requirements for financial solvency, housing conditions, requirements for knowledge of the English language, to pass a special test on knowledge of life in the UK.

    Genuine relationship requirement for Indefinite Leave to Remain

    Documentary proof of the authenticity of the relationship plays an important role in this process. Applicants must provide a variety of evidence that will convince the UK authorities that their relationship is genuine and serious. Such evidence includes, but is not limited to, the following:

    • Evidence of living together. Evidence can include joint tenancy agreements or utility bills that show you are living together.
    • A prenuptial or civil contract. Documents of this kind will help confirm your official position.
    • Evidence of financial interdependence. It is important to submit joint bank accounts, financial statements, and other documents that show your financial interdependence.
    • Photographs illustrating your time together. Shared trips, vacations, or family activities can provide important evidence of your life together.
    • Letters of support from family and friends. The applicant must provide references from acquaintances who can authenticate the relationship.
    • It is important to understand that each case is considered individually and requirements for ILR as a spouse may vary depending on the specific situation. Providing the most complete and accurate evidence possible is crucial to your application.

    Spouse Visa ILR financial requirement

    The British government’s immigration rules stipulate the need to provide sufficient funds to ensure the financial stability of the family wishing to reside in the country.

    When applying for an ILR spouse visa, a spouse or partner must demonstrate that they have sufficient funds to meet the family’s living needs without the need to apply for welfare support or utilize government resources.

    The amount of financial resources required depends on the number of family members, including the spouse.

    • The annual income for the applicant must be £18,600 per year.
    • For 1 child – £3,800 per year.
    • For each subsequent child £2,400.

    Proof of financial means can be provided by providing bank statements, accounts, real estate documents, employment and income details and other documents that prove financial solvency. The visa officer will carry out the necessary checks to ensure that the information provided meets the requirements and regulations.

    Accommodation requirements for ILR

    In order to apply for an ILR visa for a spouse, certain requirements must be met, which are broadly identical to those for initial and renewal applications. One of the main criteria is the availability of adequate housing specifically for the couple and their children.

    According to the requirements, the housing must not be “overcrowded”. This means that it must have sufficient space for all family members to comfortably reside and go about their daily lives. Inadequate living conditions associated with overcrowding can adversely affect the well-being and health of the family, which is contrary to the primary objectives of the ILR application.

    English language requirements for ILR Spouse visa

    In order to obtain an ILR visa for spouses, it is necessary to prove your English language proficiency. This can be done through an approved examination (e.g. IELTS, Cambridge Advanced, Cambridge Proficiency, PTE Academic, ISE) or by providing an equivalent CEFR level B1 qualification. If an applicant has physical or mental problems that make it impossible to fulfill the requirements, or if they are from a country where English is the primary language, the English language requirement may be waived.

    Life in the UK Test for ILR

    The exam is designed to test your knowledge of life in the UK. It covers various aspects including history, culture, political system, social rights and responsibilities. The exam consists of 24 multiple-choice questions based on the official Life in the United Kingdom: A Guide for New Residents syllabus. The questions cover various aspects of British life and history.

    You must answer at least 75% of the questions correctly to pass the exam. The exam is conducted in English, but is also available in Welsh and Scottish Gaelic in the respective regions.

    You must register and take the exam at one of the official testing centers. It is important to register for the exam in advance and make sure you have all the necessary documents to register. If you did not pass the exam the first time, you can register to retake the exam. You will need to pay the exam fee again.

    How to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain as a spouse?

    Applying for an ILR spouse visa under the 5-year route requires special attention to details and rules. An important aspect of the process is the need to submit an online SET (M) form along with the application fee and relevant documents. This application option facilitates the procedure and ensures the accuracy and timeliness of the required information.

    The cost of applying for a spouse/partner leave to remain visa for a single applicant is £2,885. However, if you are applying with dependents, you will need to factor in additional fees. Parents are also allowed to include their child in their ILR spouse visa application, provided that the child has permission to stay in the UK as your dependent and is living with you and your partner, unmarried.

    You can only include an older child in your application if the child was under 18 at the time you were granted permission to stay in the UK as your dependent and they are still unmarried or have no children. Such requirements ensure that older children will support you as parents and not live independently.

    This requirement aims to establish that children are fully incorporated into British culture and are able to successfully adapt to life in the country.

    Documents required for Indefinite Leave to Remain

    To apply for ILR, you will need documents that prove your ability to obtain this type of permit:

    • A valid passport or other identity document
    • Any previous passports or identity documents that have been used while you were in the UK.
    • Your spouse’s or partner’s passport or other identity document proving their residence and presence in the UK.
    • Evidence of a shared household and stable family ties.
    • Bank statements, salary statements, tax returns or other documents proving that your income is stable.
    • Documents confirming that you have a place to live, Documents confirming that you have not left the UK without a valid reason. ,
    • Documents proving that you have a relevant qualification in English or a certificate of completion of the “Life in the UK” test.

    How long does an ILR application take?

    The processing time depends on the workload of the service and the completeness of the collected documents. It can take from several weeks to several months.

    Additionally, the complexity of an individual’s case may also impact the processing time. Some cases are relatively straightforward, making it easier for the immigration service to process them quickly. However, more complex cases that require further investigation or consideration may take longer to process.

    If an applicant has a complex immigration history or if there are concerns regarding their eligibility for ILR, it may take longer for the authorities to assess the case thoroughly. This can include additional checks or requests for further evidence to establish the applicant’s eligibility for ILR.

    It is advisable to check regularly for any updates or changes in processing times and contact Immigration if there are any delays or concerns about the application.

    How much does Indefinite Leave to Remain cost?

    The cost of ILR in the UK for a spouse or partner already living there on a partner or family visa usually includes several components:

    • Application fee: The standard ILR application fee was around £2,885 per person. The amount is subject to change, so it is advisable to check the latest figures on the official UK government website.
    • Medical Fee: Applicants may be required to pay an additional fee for migration health care, which gives access to the UK National Health Service. The exact amount depends on the duration of the visa.
    • Legal fees: If you utilize the services of a law firm such as Sterling Law, there will be additional fees for their services. Legal fees can vary greatly depending on the complexity of the case and the scope of services required.
    • Additional costs: These may include the cost of translating documents, taking the Life in the UK test (if not already taken) and any required English language tests.
    • Biometrics: Applicants will also have to pay a fee to collect biometric information (fingerprints and a photograph).

    It is important to remember that the fees for these services are subject to change.

    What can I do if my Indefinite Leave to Remain application is refused?

    The most common reasons for denial of an application are:

    • errors in filling out the application form;
    • incomplete package of documents;
    • During the application process, facts that prevent the status from being granted were discovered.

    The main reasons for which the application may be rejected are:

    • the application contains false information;
    • the applicant has committed a crime;
    • there are tax arrears

    and many other things.

    Sometimes it is enough to submit a new application taking into account all the errors, or to include missing documents in the package. In any case, the applicant has the right to appeal.

    Remember that each situation is unique and requires a customised approach, so seek professional help when problems arise.

    How can we help?

    If you are facing the task of obtaining an Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) in the UK for your spouse or partner, you know how important and demanding it is. At Sterling Law, we make sure that the process is as smooth and safe for you as possible. Understanding the intricacies and nuances of the law, adhering to procedures and deadlines, and extensive experience are the foundations upon which our work is built. In this article we present to you seven advantages of legal support from Sterling Law.

    • In-depth knowledge of immigration law. We bring together lawyers with impressive experience in UK immigration law. Our experts have comprehensive information on legislative changes and requirements, allowing us to ensure legal accuracy in the processing of your case.
    • Personalised approach. Your story is unique, and we appreciate that. Our legal support is customised to meet the individual needs of each client. We carefully analyse your situation to determine the most effective steps to achieve your goal.
    • High Standards of Service. Sterling Law is known for its commitment to providing the highest level of service. It is important to us that clients feel supported at every stage of the process – from the first consultation to the moment they receive their ILR.
    • Transparency and openness. We strive for complete transparency in our work with clients. All options, action steps and associated costs are discussed in advance so that you can make informed decisions.
    • Optimization of time and resources. By working with us, you significantly save time and avoid unnecessary costs. We offer effective planning of your actions and prompt solution of arising problems, which significantly accelerates the receipt of ILR.

    Because of our extensive experience and detailed approach to each case, Sterling Law clients have a high chance of successfully obtaining an ILR. We take pride in the fact that our work is evident in positive results and client satisfaction.

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