Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK as a Spouse of British National or Settled person

You can apply for UK Indefinite Leave To Remain (ILR) if you are the partner of a person who is already settled in the UK or a British citizen.

What is Indefinite Leave To Remain

Indefinite Leave To Remain, also known as Settlement, is a status granted to migrants that provides freedom to live and work in the UK unrestricted by the length of stay and without Immigration limitations.

Eligibility Requirement For SET-M

If you have resided in the UK with your spouse/partner in the UK for a continuous period of 5 years, you should be eligible to apply for ILR. You should not apply for ILR more than 28 days before completing 5 years as a spousal visa holder.

Partner meaning married, civil, unmarried same-sex partner of a British citizen or settled person. You must also plan on living with your UK partner.

What are the Continuous Residency Requirements?

To be eligible for ILR, you must meet the continuous residency requirements. This means that you cannot have been outside the UK for more than 180 days in a 12-month period.

What Documents Do I Need to Provide When Applying for SET-M?

You will need to provide the following documents when applying for ILR

  • Your passport;
  • Evidence of your current leave to remain (i.e. your visa);
  • Proof of any absences from the UK;
  • Residence Proof of the last 5 years
  • Payslips from your employer to prove you meet the minimum income requirements,
  • Proof you meet the English language requirement
  • passed the Life in the UK test

How much is the Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) fee

The fees for indefinite leave to remain is £2408.20.

It cost an additional £800 for super priority processing, which would amount to a total of £3208.20.

What is the English Language Knowledge for SET-M

Anyone aged 18-65 must demonstrate English to the required level for ILR. The minimum level is (B1) of the CEFR framework, in both Speaking and Listening.

If the applicant is the majority of an English language speaking country, they can show evidence of their nationality, to prove that they meet the requirement.

Other applicants need to supply evidence that they have either a Home Office approved English test result or have a degree taught in English. Degrees taught outside the UK will need to be accompanied by a  UK  certificate showing the academic level and, where applicable, the English language level at which the degree was taught.

Exemptions for English Language Test for ILR

You can be  exempted from the English language requirement because at the date of application:

    • the applicant is aged 65 or over;
    • the applicant has a disability (physical or mental condition) which prevents the applicant from meeting the requirement; or
    • there are exceptional circumstances which prevent the applicant from being able to meet the requirement prior to entry to the UK.

Meeting The Financial Requirement For ILR As A Spouse (5 Years Route)

To be eligible to apply for indefinite leave to remain as partner on the 5-year route you will need to meet financial requirements to show you are able to support yourself and any dependents. This will be through either income from your employment/self employment or from your sponsor, pensions, savings over £16,000 and some other income sources are considered.

  • To meet the required financial requirements you will need at least £18,600 as a partner. For 1 child plus partner £22,400, 2 children in addition to partner £24.800, 3 children in addition to partner £27,200. Each additional child after this increases the amount by £2,400.


You will be exempt from meeting the income threshold if your sponsor receives one of these benefits: carer’s allowance, disability living, sever disablement, industrial injury disablement benefit, attendance allowance, personal independence payment, armed forces payments, constant attendance allowance, mobility supplement, war disablement pension or police injury pension.

Should you be exempt from the income threshold, you will need to meet the financial requirements by providing evidence of adequate maintenance.

Life in the UK Test for ILR

Anyone aged 18-65 must pass the Life in the UK test as a qualifying criteria for ILR.

Applicants are strongly advised to study and prepare in advance for the test and need to book at least 3 days in advance, when ready. The candidate will be required to provide ID to sit the test.

Some people are exempted from taking the test, due to exceptional circumstances, but this would be only where the applicant has a long-term physical or mental disability, supported by medical evidence that they cannot sit the test.

From 17 December 2019, applicants are provided with a Unique Test Reference number, rather than a paper certificate.

How long does it take to process a SET-M application?

The standard service for ILR applications is up to 6 months.

There is also an option for submitting application for super priority processing and a decision follows in the next 24 – 48 hours.

What Can I Do if My Application for Indefinite Leave to Remain is Refused?

Following options are possible solutions:

Best steps will be advised based on your circumstances.

What Happens after I have been Granted ILR under this Route ?

You are now a settled person in the UK. You can apply for Naturalization immediately after receiving your ILR.


  • We understand the importance of making these applications and the impact they have on our clients’ lives. We balance sensitivity with professionalism to ensure that our clients’ meet their goals.
  • Our team of best immigration solicitors in Central London and East London have years of experience in navigating the requirements under this route and will ensure that your application is comprehensively covered.
  • We have achieved numerous clients settlement over the years as evidenced through our clients testimonies

    Contact Us
    Please call 020 7100 2525 or fill in the form below.

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      Contact Us
      Please call 020 7100 2525 or fill in the form below.

      Full Name*
      Your Inquiry
      0207 100 2525