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The Spouse Visa 10 Year Route in the UK Explained

The Spouse Visa 10 Year Route in the UK Explained

If you or your partner are planning to move to the UK and live with your spouse, it is important to understand the Spouse Visa 10 Year Route.

This blog post will provide an overview of the topics related to this visa route, including eligibility criteria, documents required, the application process, and fees associated with the visa.

By the end of the post, you should better understand the spouse visa and how to apply for it.

Eligibility Criteria

Before applying for a spouse visa in the UK, you must make sure you meet the eligibility criteria. You must fulfil these requirements to be considered for a spouse visa.

To apply for a spouse visa, you must be in a genuine relationship with a person who is either a British citizen or has settled status in the UK.

Visa Extension Stats UK

The UK government defines a genuine relationship as one where both partners intend to live together permanently and have been in a relationship for at least two years.

The relationship can be a marriage or a civil partnership.

To meet the financial requirements for a spouse visa, the sponsor must earn a minimum amount of money. The income threshold is currently £18,600 per annum.

The amount increases if the sponsor has children who are not British citizens.

Additionally, the sponsor can combine their income with savings or a job offer in the UK to meet the financial requirement.

English Language Requirements

To be eligible for a spouse visa, the applicant must demonstrate English language proficiency by passing a test from an approved provider.

There are a few exceptions to this requirement, such as if the applicant is from an English-speaking country or has a degree taught in English.

The sponsor must provide adequate housing for the applicant and any dependents to meet the accommodation requirement. The property must not be overcrowded and must meet health and safety standards. If the accommodation is rented, the tenancy agreement must allow the applicant and any dependants to live in the property.

In summary, the eligibility criteria for a spouse visa in the UK involve a genuine relationship, meeting the financial requirement, demonstrating English language proficiency, and providing adequate housing.

Ensure you meet all the requirements before applying to avoid delays or rejections.

Initial Spouse Visa Application

The first step in the 10 year route spouse visa UK is the initial spouse visa application.

This visa allows you to enter the UK as a spouse or partner of a British citizen or someone with settled status.

Required documents and forms

To apply for the initial spouse visa, you must gather various documents, including a valid passport, proof of your relationship with your spouse or partner, proof of financial support, and proof of your knowledge of English.

You will also need to fill out the appropriate visa application form.

Application process and timeline

The application process for the initial spouse visa can be complex and lengthy. You must submit your application online or through a visa application centre, provide biometric data, and attend an interview if required.

The processing time for the initial spouse visa can take up to 12 weeks.

Biometric enrollment and interviews

As part of the initial spouse visa application process, you must provide biometric data, including fingerprints and a photograph.

You may also be required to attend an interview to discuss your application.

Visa decision and issuance

Once you have completed the initial spouse visa application process, you will receive a decision on your application. If approved, you will be issued a visa to enter and stay in the UK for up to 30 months.

Grant Permission Cost UK

The initial spouse visa application is an important first step in the 10 year route spouse visa UK.

It is crucial to carefully gather all required documents and follow the application process closely to ensure a successful outcome.

Length of Stay and Extension

The Spouse Visa initially allows the applicant to live and work in the UK for 33 months or 2.75 years.

After this period, the visa holder may apply for an additional 30 months or 2.5 years extension, bringing them closer to the 10 year route to settlement.

To apply for an extension, the applicant must meet the requirements set by the Home Office.

These requirements include proving their relationship with their spouse or partner is still genuine, they can support themselves financially without relying on public funds, and they meet the English language requirements.

Beginning the renewal process early is crucial, as it can take up to three months to process an application. The applicant’s existing visa may expire during this time, so it is advisable to apply at least six months before the expiration date.

If the extension application is successful, the visa holder will be granted an additional 2.5 years, bringing their total time in the UK on the Spouse Visa to 5 years.

At this point, they will be eligible to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR).

There are various considerations and challenges throughout the Spouse Visa renewal process, including proving a genuine relationship and providing the necessary documents.

It is essential to consult with an immigration lawyer to ensure the process is smooth and stress-free.

Overall, the Spouse Visa’s length of stay and extension are significant aspects of the 10 year route to settlement. Meeting the requirements and completing the renewal process is crucial to reach ILR and, eventually, British citizenship.

Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR)

After spending several years in the UK on a spouse visa, individuals can apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR).

This allows them to stay in the UK without any restrictions on their visa status.

Eligibility criteria for ILR after 5 years

To be eligible for ILR after 5 years, individuals must meet the following criteria:

  • Must have lived in the UK for at least 5 years
  • Must not have spent more than 180 days outside the UK in any 12 months
  • Must not have any unspent convictions or immigration violations

Language and Life in the UK test requirements

Applicants must pass the Life in the UK test and demonstrate their proficiency in English by passing an approved English language test.

Document submission and processing timeline

Applicants must submit their application, pay the fee, and provide supporting documents, including passports, bank statements, and proof of income.

The processing time for ILR applications can take up to 6 months.

Benefits and rights of obtaining ILR:

  • No restrictions on work or study in the UK
  • Eligibility for state benefits
  • Ability to sponsor family members for UK visas
  • Eligibility to apply for British citizenship after one year of ILR status

ILR is an important step towards permanent settlement in the UK, but the application process can be complicated.

It is advisable to seek legal assistance to ensure all eligibility requirements are met, and documents are submitted correctly.

British Citizenship

Suppose you’ve completed the spouse visa 10 year route and obtained your Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR). In that case, the next logical step is to consider applying for British citizenship.

Becoming a British citizen grants you full rights and privileges, including the ability to vote and the right to live and work in the UK indefinitely.

Pathway to British citizenship after holding ILR

Once you’ve held your ILR for at least one year, you may be eligible to apply for British citizenship. However, additional requirements must be met before you can be granted citizenship.

Additional requirements for naturalization:

To be eligible for naturalization as a British citizen, you must meet the following requirements:

  • Be over 18 years of age
  • Have held ILR for at least 12 months
  • Have passed the Life in the UK test
  • Meet the English language requirements
  • Not have any criminal convictions
  • Not have breached any immigration laws while in the UK

Citizenship application process and timeline

The citizenship application process can take several months to complete and involves several steps:

  • Submitting an application
  • Attending a biometric appointment
  • Attending a citizenship ceremony
  • Receiving your certificate of citizenship

Privileges and responsibilities of being a British citizen

As a British citizen, you’ll have the following privileges and responsibilities:

  • The ability to live and work in the UK indefinitely
  • The ability to vote in local and national elections
  • The ability to apply for a UK passport
  • The responsibility to obey UK laws
  • The responsibility to pay taxes and National Insurance contributions
  • The responsibility to serve on a jury if called upon

Becoming a British citizen is the final step in the spouse visa 10 year route. It’s a significant accomplishment that grants you full rights and privileges as a member of British society.

If you’re considering applying for citizenship, it’s important to understand the process and requirements involved. While obtaining British citizenship can seem daunting, it’s important to remember that resources are available to help you through every step of the process.

You can consult with an immigration lawyer or use online resources to ensure you meet all the requirements and submit a complete and accurate application.

It’s also important to note that there are potential challenges and considerations when applying for citizenship. For example, if you have a criminal record or have breached any immigration laws while in the UK, your application may be denied.

Additionally, suppose you have spent significant time outside of the UK during your ILR period. In that case, this may also impact your eligibility.

Challenges and Considerations

While the Spouse Visa 10-year route to settlement provides a pathway to UK citizenship, it comes with challenges and considerations.

In this section, we’ll explore some potential issues you may encounter during your visa journey.

Financial Implications and sponsorship obligations

  • The financial requirements for the Spouse Visa can be quite strict, and failure to meet them can lead to visa refusal or revocation
  • The sponsoring spouse or partner will need to provide financial support throughout the visa holder’s stay in the UK
  • If the sponsoring spouse or partner experiences financial hardship, it may impact their ability to meet these requirements and sponsor the visa holder

Relationship breakdown and its impact on visa status

  • The breakdown of a relationship can have a significant impact on the visa holder’s status and ability to remain in the UK
  • In some cases, a divorce or separation may result in the termination of the visa and the need to leave the UK
  • If a new relationship is established, it may require a new visa application or a change in visa category

Maintaining compliance with immigration rules

  • The Spouse Visa holder must adhere to strict immigration rules throughout their stay in the UK
    • This includes not overstaying, maintaining employment or studying within visa limitations, and avoiding criminal activity
    • Failure to comply with these rules can result in visa revocation and removal from the UK

Seeking professional advice and guidance

  • The Spouse Visa process can be complex and confusing, so it’s important to seek professional advice and guidance throughout the journey
    • Immigration lawyers can provide expert guidance on eligibility criteria, visa application procedures, and potential challenges that may arise
    • Professional advice can help ensure that you meet the necessary requirements and avoid costly mistakes that may jeopardize your visa status

Navigating the 10 year route to settlement can be a challenging experience, but with proper planning, preparation, and guidance, you can successfully achieve ILR and eventual British citizenship.

It’s important to be aware of the potential challenges and considerations that may arise along the way and to seek professional support to help you navigate them.


If you’re married to a British citizen or settled person and wish to move to the UK, the Spouse Visa route is an option.

However, it’s important to understand the requirements and process of obtaining and maintaining this visa.

Several eligibility criteria exist to fulfil a successful application, from meeting the financial and accommodation criteria to proving a genuine and subsisting relationship. Once you obtain the visa, you can live and work in the UK for up to 30 months and apply for an extension later.

After completing five years on the Spouse Visa route, you can apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain, which offers greater stability and the opportunity to apply for British citizenship later.

At KQ Solicitors, we can guide you through every step of the Spouse Visa process and help you navigate any challenges that may arise along the way.

Our expert team of immigration lawyers has a wealth of experience handling spouse visa cases and providing bespoke solutions for each client.

If you want to move to the UK under the Spouse Visa route, contact KQ Solicitors today for professional advice and support.

And if you found this article useful, please share it with your family and friends.

FAQs – Spouse Visa 10 Year Route

Q: What is the initial length of stay on a spouse visa in the UK?

A: The initial spouse visa grants a stay of 33 months.

Q: Can I apply for ILR after completing 5 years on a spouse visa in the UK?

A: No, you will need to complete 5 years on a spouse visa and then apply for an extension for an additional 2.5 years before being eligible for ILR.

Q: Can I work while on a spouse visa in the UK?

A: You can work and study while on a spouse visa in the UK.

Q: Can I switch to a spouse visa if I am already on a different visa in the UK?

A: Yes, switching to a spouse visa is possible while you are already in the UK on a different visa.

Q: Can I include my children in my spouse visa application?

A: You can include any dependent children under 18 in your spouse visa application.

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3 thoughts on “The Spouse Visa 10 Year Route in the UK Explained”

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Our Head Solicitor
Khurram Amir Qureshi

Khurram Amir Qureshi has been an advocate of Pakistan since 2004, a Solicitor of England and Wales since 2009, Solicitor of Ireland since 2015. He has extensive experience in family law, Immigration law, Personal injury cases, and Civil and Commercial litigation gaining over 13 years of continuous practice in England and Wales.

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