If you’re married to a British citizen or someone who holds Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) then you can apply for a Spouse Visa to live with your partner in the UK. A Spouse Visa is the first step along the route to obtaining Indefinite Leave to Remain or, eventually, full British citizenship.
There are two different settlement routes available: the 5-year and 10-year routes. The 5-year route is for those who meet all of the requirements set out by the Home Office, while the 10-year route is for those who fall short.
Knowing which route you’re on is important as not only does this dictate when you can apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain, but the rules and requirements will also differ depending on which you take.
What is a 5-year Route Spouse Visa?
The 5-year Spouse Visa route is the one you should take if you meet all the requirements, which we’ll discuss in a moment. With this route, your initial application will allow you to stay in the country for 30 months (2.5 years), after which you’ll need to apply for a Spouse Visa extension of another 30 months.
Once the extension expires you will have been in the country for 5 years, meaning you’ll then be eligible to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain which allows you to settle in the UK permanently.
As well as allowing you to apply for ILR sooner, compared to the 10-year route you’ll also save money on application/processing fees as you’ll only ned to apply twice – once for the initial application and once more for your extension. Taking the 10-year route will eventually cost you twice as much in fees.
What are the Spouse Visa requirements?
So now we know the main differences between the 5-year and 10-year routes, let’s take a look at the requirements for the Spouse Visa. After all, whether you meet these requirements or not will ultimately determine which route you’ll need to take, so getting a good understand of what’s required before you make your application is essential.
- Your partner is a British citizen or holds Indefinite Leave to Remain
- Both you and your partner are 18 or over
- You have met in person and are legally married
- Your relationship is genuine and you intend to live together in the UK
- You meet the financial requirement
- There is adequate accommodation for you and any dependants
- Your English is at the required level
If you meet all of these requirements, then you should qualify for the 5-year route. On the other hand, if you fail to meet the requirements, for example your income falls below the necessary amount, then rather than refusing your application outright, the Home Office may allow you to take the 10-year route instead.
Can I switch my Spouse Visa route?
If you’re already on a route and your circumstances change, then it’s possible to switch from a 10-year to a 5-year route, or vice versa.
For instance, say you’re currently on a 10-year route due to the fact you fall below the minimum financial requirement, if suddenly your income increases, it may be possible to change the route you’re on to reflect your change in circumstances.
Likewise, if you’re on a 5-year route but suddenly you no longer meet the requirements of your visa, you may be able to switch to the longer route to avoid being deported from the country.
How can Manchester Immigration Lawyers help me?
If you find yourself needing to switch from a 5-year to a 10-year route, you may require legal assistance. That’s where we come in, as our team of lawyers are experts in this area of immigration law, specialising in helping people like you switch your Spouse Visa route.
In addition, if you’re just starting your application then we can also assist with that, too. If you opt for one of our Spouse Visa packages, your designated case worker will assist you every step of the way, ensuring all your paperwork and evidence is submitted to the highest possible standard, and liaising with the Home Office throughout your application. Regardless of which stage you’re at, give yourself the best chance of success by calling us today on 0161 532 7794
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