UK Spouse Visa 10-Year Route Requirements

UK Spouse Visa 10-Year Route Requirements

The UK spouse visa 10-year route offers a pathway to settle in the UK for those who might not meet all the 5-year spouse visa route requirements. It is a visa that can pave the way to Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) and subsequently a settled life in the UK. 

This article will explore the requirements, distinctions, and nuances of this visa route and the differences to the 5-year spouse visa route.

UK Spouse Visa – The 5-Year Route & 10-Year Route Explained 

Obtaining Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR), also known as permanent residency, is a significant achievement for immigrants in the United Kingdom. Both the 5-year spouse visa route and the 10-year spouse visa route can reach this destination. 

These pathways are based on “Appendix FM” of the UK Immigration Rules, providing a foundation for ILR applications based on spousal or familial ties to a British citizen or someone with settled status. 

UK Spouse Visa 5-Year Route

The 5-year path is often chosen by spouses or partners of UK citizens (or those with settled status) when they want to stay indefinitely. This means that the person should have been in the UK without a break for five years and met particular conditions. This way is mainly for:

  • People who came to the UK to marry or become civil partners and then did so.
  • Individuals who are already on a Spouse Visa in the UK.
  • Anyone on another type of UK family visa and who has lived with their significant other for at least two years, be it in the UK or abroad.

The 5-year spouse visa route will require the following criteria to be met:

  • Your partner is a British citizen (or holds Indefinite Leave to Remain) 
  • Both you and your partner are aged 18 or over 
  • You and your partner met in person and are legally married 
  • The relationship is genuine, and you intend to live in the UK together
  • You meet the financial requirements 
  • There is accommodation for you and any dependents 
  • Your English satisfies the requirements

UK Spouse Visa 10-Year Route

For some, the 5-year route might be out of reach due to certain criteria not being met. This is where the 10-year route comes into play. This route caters to spouses or partners of British citizens or individuals with settled status who might not meet all the requirements for immediate ILR. 

It permits you to stay and work in the UK, starting with 2.5 years. You can then extend this time, and after living in the UK for ten continuous years, you can get ILR. With patience and adherence to the regulations of this route, it offers a longer but feasible path to ILR.

UK Spouse Visa 10-Year Route Requirements

You must fulfil some prerequisites if you want to apply for a UK spouse visa via the 10-year route. The requirements for this route are less strict than the 5-year route, especially in areas like suitable accommodation, language requirements or financial requirements. However, other criteria like age requirement, genuine relationship, etc, must be met. 

Age Requirement

The age requirement is one of the fundamental prerequisites for both the 5-year and 10-year spouse visa routes. Each participant must be at least 18 years old during the application process. This is to confirm that both parties in the union are at the permitted age to provide approval for their own marriage or a civil partnership. Fulfilling this requirement is a must for both 5-year and 10-year routes.

Genuine Relationship

The Home Office seeks to verify the authenticity of your relationship with a partner in the UK. You must have been in a sincere relationship with your significant other for a minimum of two years, maintain exclusivity with no other simultaneous relationships, and share the intention of establishing a permanent residence together in the UK. This prerequisite remains consistent whether you’re considering the 5-year or 10-year route.

Minimum Income Requirement

For the 5-year spouse visa route, applicants generally need to prove an income of at least £18,600, which is set to increase to £29000 on April 11, 2024. If they have children, this requirement increases. However, the 10-year route offers flexibility in this aspect. Even if you do not meet the typical income requirements of the 5-year route, you might still qualify for the 10-year spouse visa.

Adequate Accommodation

On the 5-year route, applicants must ensure they meet the accommodation criteria. Their living space should be suitable and align with public health standards. While the 10-year route might be more tolerant, having proper accommodation is still necessary.

English Language Requirement

The 5-year spouse visa route demands that applicants pass an approved English language test up to the CEFR level A1 unless they are from specific English-speaking countries or have a degree taught in English. There are exemptions, such as for those aged 65 and over or those with long-term physical or mental conditions preventing them from taking the test. The good news for 10-year route applicants is that the English language requirement does not bind them.

Also Read: New Spouse Visa Financial Requirements Explained – 2024 Guide

UK Spouse Visa 10-Year Route Requirements

Transitioning from a Spouse Visa 10-Year Route to a 5-Year Route

If you are already on the UK spouse visa 10-year route, you may be considering the possibility of switching to the 5-year route for a quicker journey towards Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR). Although this option is available, it is crucial to fully understand the complexities and consequences before deciding whether to do this.

Eligibility Criteria

The decision to transition from the 10-year route to the 5-year route is not as straightforward as it may appear when someone is already on the 10-year route. This is primarily due to the resetting of your accumulated residency time in the United Kingdom. Specifically, only years spent on a spouse visa in which all requirements were met will contribute towards the 5-year path to settlement.

For example, if you have already disbursed 5 years on a spouse visa, but there was a duration during which you did not meet the financial prerequisites, you would essentially be starting from zero. This means you would need another full five years on the 5-year route to become qualified for ILR.

Things to Consider Before Switching

Before making the decision to switch, there are a few crucial points to bear in mind:

  1. Assessment of Remaining Time: Continuing on this path might be more practical if you are closer to completing the 10-year route. Especially if you have time accumulated under different visa types, like student or tourist visas, which may be counted towards your 10-year route.
  2. Meeting Requirements: Transitioning to the 5-year route means you must consistently meet the English language or financial requirement. Not being able to fulfil any of these can reset your progress.
  3. Financial Considerations: While not explicitly mentioned, costs could be a factor. Each visa application or reapplication often comes with associated fees. Understanding the full financial implications beyond the fixed fee is necessary.
  4. Life in the UK Test: On the 5-year route, you’d need to pass the “Life in the UK” test as a component of your ILR application. This test evaluates your understanding and knowledge about life in the UK.

Given the complexities and the potential implications of switching, it is strongly recommended to seek expert guidance. Immigration solicitors and lawyers can provide tailored advice based on your exact case. Whether you choose to remain as a spouse on the 10-year route or are considering the switch, having an expert team to guide you can be invaluable.

Also Read: How Much is a Spouse Visa UK in 2024? [ Guide ]

Required Documentation For The 10-Year UK Spouse Visa Route

While applying for indefinite leave via the UK Spouse visa using the 10-year route to settlement, it is vital to be equipped with the right set of documents. The UK visa process adheres strictly to the immigration rules, so being prepared is crucial.

Though the precise documents required can vary based on your situation, here is a list of the most common ones that you should have prepared before submitting your application:

  1. Up-to-date Passport: Whether you apply from inside or outside the UK, ensure you have a valid passport to confirm your identity and nationality.
  2. Proof of Relationship Authenticity: To meet this requirement, assemble various items that establish the authenticity of your bond, such as photographs, emails, or letters.
  3. Evidence of Suitable Housing: Offer documentation that affirms you have confirmed appropriate housing in the UK, ensuring a comfortable life for you and your spouse.
  4. Details of Any Criminal History: Should it be relevant, be upfront about any criminal history, ensuring to back it up with necessary official documents.

Also Read: How Long Does a Spouse Visa Take in the UK?

How Spouse Visa Lawyers Can Simplify Your UK Spouse Visa Journey

The UK spouse visa process can be complex, with different routes and requirements. Let Spouse Visa Lawyers be your guide. We have extensive experience helping individuals and families through the UK immigration process, including both the 5-year and 10-year spouse visa routes.

Our expert immigration lawyers can assess your eligibility, gather the necessary documentation, and assist you in navigating the application process. We understand the importance of reuniting with loved ones and will work diligently to ensure your application is successful.

Contact Spouse Visa Lawyers today for a free consultation! We can answer your questions, address your concerns, and help you choose the best path forward for your unique situation.

You Ask, We Answer


To make a spouse visa application under the 10-year route, you must complete the application form – form FLR(FP). It is a good idea to get help from an immigration lawyer to ensure that the application is filled out correctly and that you meet the necessary requirements.

If you came to the UK on a different visa, you may be able to switch to a spouse visa. This would be possible if your partner is a British citizen or has Indefinite Leave to Remain, pre-settled status or settled status in the UK. 

The time it takes to receive a response regarding your UK spouse visa may vary. It depends on factors such as the accuracy of your application, the number of applicants, and the complexity of your situation. If you apply from inside the UK, it might take 6 to 8 weeks. But if you apply from outside the UK, it might be around 12 weeks.

Yes, an appointment is required to submit your spouse visa application. To submit your application and provide your biometric information (fingerprints and photograph), you must schedule an appointment at a Visa Application Centre (VAC).

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The information provided in our articles is intended solely for guidance and should not be considered legal advice. We do not assume responsibility for any liabilities arising from the information in written articles and recommend that all readers seek professional advice before taking any action. For those wishing to discuss their case with a professional, please feel free to contact us directly.

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