Three Secrets that Will Help You Avoid Refusal of Your Indefinite Leave to Remain UK Partner Application
John met Gwen in 2014 when he was on holiday to the Maldives. Very soon, their friendship blossomed into a romantic relationship. They got married in December 2016. On 8 January 2017, the newlywed couple was on a plane to London, UK.
The Home Office granted Gwen’s 1st visa (entry clearance) for 33 months. From 1 January 2017 until 1 October 2019. When in the UK, she made her second application. It was also successful. This visa (limited leave to remain) was for 30 months this time, valid until 1 April 2022.
Gwen is so excited. In less than 1 year, she can apply for settlement (indefinite leave to remain). Then, John told her, she could become a British citizen.
Despite making her visa applications twice, Gwen is very nervous. She wants to get it right. How can she?
This article will cover three key elements – three key secrets of a successful Indefinite Leave to Remain UK Partner Application. Understanding these three elements will help Gwen and people like Gwen avoid refusal of their Indefinite Leave to Remain UK Partner Application.
If You Get Stuck
To help you understand this topic better, I’ve created free resources explaining UK partner visa applications. To get instant FREE access to this page, click here.
Three secrets are three rules of the application. To understand how to win the game, you need to start by learning the rules first.
UK Partner ILR application consists of three main requirements:
- The Validity
- The Suitability
- The Eligibility
You’ll also need to be in the UK to make this application.
The Validity Requirements
The validity requirements, in simple terms, are all about following the correct procedure:
You’ll and your partner will need to be in the UK
You cannot make your applications outside the UK. You’ll need to be physically present at the time of making the application.
Completing the correct form
This is not an easy task, to say the least. I’ve created an entire online course explaining how to complete the form. The form is online, but if you convert all the pages you need to complete into the PDF format (which I did), you’ll get a roughly 170 pages-long form. To get further guidance on how to complete the form, click here.
Paying the fees
You’ll have to pay £2,408.20 for the application. The good news is that you don’t need to pay Immigration Health Surcharge because it is an application to remain in the UK permanently.
Providing passports and correct documents
You’ll need to provide your and your partner’s passports. In addition to all the documents, proving that you meet the requirements, I strongly suggest that you submit a letter in support of your application.
£19.20 will be your biometric enrolment fee, which you’ll need to pay when the Home Office invites you to attend a UK Visa and Citizenship Application Services (UKVCAS) service point to submit your biometrics. This is likely to happy approximately 1 month after submitting your application.
The Suitability Requirements
At the risk of simplifying things quite a bit, the suitability requirements are all about proving to the Home Office that you are a person of good character. They are all about criminal convictions, dishonesty, failure to provide the information, attend interviews, pay debts to NHS, deportations, exclusions etc. The majority of you, reading this article, know for a fact that they are of good character.
However, if you had criminal convictions or one of your previous applications was refused, or you were deported from the country – you should go through all the suitability requirements one by one (ideally with an experienced immigration advisor). It is to make sure that the suitability requirements are not triggered when you submit your ILR application. Even if your application is not a straightforward one, in many cases, there are a number of steps, which you can take to improve the situation. Here you’ll get access to all suitability requirements.
The Eligibility Requirements
These are the key elements of the application. They are the heart and soul of the application.
I’ll summarise them for you below:
Legally in the UK
First of all, you’ll need to be legally in the UK, with a valid UK partner visa.
Secondly, you need to have held your UK Partner Visa for at least 60 months if you are following the 5-year route.
If you follow the 10-year route (outside the scope of this article), you need to have held your UK Partner Visa for at least 120 months before you can apply for ILR.
What is the 10-year route? It is when you relied on paragraph EX.1. when making your limited leave to remain application. In other words, when you could not meet certain eligibility requirements when submitting your limited leave to remain application, but the Home Office granted your application anyway because not granting it would breach Article 8.
Gwen’s first UK Partner entry clearance (visa) was granted on 1 January 2017, and she arrived in the UK on 8 January 2017. This means she can apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain on 11 December 2021:
8 January 2017 + 60 months = 8 January 2022 – 28 days = 11 December 2021
It will be a pleasant surprise for Gwen since she believes she can apply 28 days before her last visa is about to expire (1 April 2022)
The Relationship Requirements
Gwen will need to provide information and document confirming that:
- John is a British citizen
- They are both over 18
- They are not related to each other in a prohibited way
- Their relationship is genuine and subsisting
- They are still married
- They have the intention to live together permanently in the UK.
- Also, that since the last grant of limited leave to remain as a partner, Gwen and John have lived together in the UK. Alternatively, there should be a good reason, consistent with a continuing intention to live together permanently in the UK, for any period in which they have not done so.
The Financial Requirements
To assess the financial requirement, we need to start by asking if John receives any of the following benefits:
(i) disability living allowance;
(ii) severe disablement allowance;
(iii) industrial injury disablement benefit;
(iv) attendance allowance;
(v) carer’s allowance;
(vi) personal independence payment;
(vii) Armed Forces Independence Payment or Guaranteed Income Payment under the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme;
(viii) Constant Attendance Allowance, Mobility Supplement or War Disablement Pension under the War Pensions Scheme; or
(ix) Police Injury Pension;
If he does, then all Gwen needs to do is provide evidence confirming that John can maintain and accommodate themselves without recourse to public funds.
Minimum Income Requirement
However, if John does not receive any of the above benefits, they’ll need to meet the financial requirement by showing that the couple’s income is at the required minimum income level.
John and Gwen do not have any kids, and therefore, the Minimum Income Requirement for Gwen’s application will be £18,600. In other words, John and Gwen will need to show their family’s combined annual income is at least £18,600 gross (before tax). What if Gwen had kids from, let’s say, her previous marriage?
Children should be included in Gwen’s ILR if they are:
- under the age of 18 years, or who were under the age of 18 years when they were first granted entry under this route;
- still dependent on John and Gwen
- not a British Citizen, settled in the UK, or in the UK with valid limited leave to enter or remain granted under the EU Settlement Scheme; and
- not an EEA national with a right to be admitted to or reside in the UK under the Immigration (European Economic Area) Regulations 2016.
In this case, you’ll need to add an additional amount of £3,800 for the first child. Then it is £2,400 for each additional child. So, if Gwen applied together with two dependent visa-national children under 18, then the minimum income requirement level would rise from £18,600 to £24,800 (£18,600 + £3,800 (for child No1) + £2,400 (for child No2))
What if John’s and Gwen’s earn less than £18,600? Let’s say their’ combined gross annual income is £11,280. Can they still meet the financial requirement? Yes, they can if they have savings. How much savings do they need to have?
For Indefinite Leave to Remain UK Partner Applications, the formula for calculations is this:
£16,000 + shortfall (=Minimum Income Requirement – actual income)
We established that the minimum income requirement for Gwen’s Indefinite Leave to Remain UK Partner Application is £18,600. Their actual income is £11,280. So,
the shortfall will be £7,320 (£18,600 – £11,280)
John and Gwen will need to have savings of at least:
£16,000 + £7,320= £23,320
to meet the financial requirement. To rely on their savings, the amount will need to be in their bank account for at least 6 months.
The Accommodation Requirement
In order to meet this requirement, the couple will need to show that the property where they live is not overcrowded and does not contravene public health regulations.
To help you understand what this means, I am providing the space standard table below:
To summarise, John and Gwen should have at least one room available for their sole occupancy.
The English Language Requirement
Unless Gwen has a degree taught or researched in English or she is from the majority English-speaking country (you can check here if she is), she’ll need to take an English language test at the level of at least B1.
This has to be a test:
- recognised by the Home Office
- taken at the UKVI’s approved test centre
- leading to the UKVI’s approved qualification
Do bear in mind that they are usually valid for two years only.
The Life in the UK Test
And finally, even if Gwen has a degree (taught or researched in English) or is from the majority English-speaking country, she’ll still need to pass ‘the Life in the UK’ test. You can get all information about preparing, booking and taking the test here.
If Gwen’s application is successful, she’ll be eligible to apply for British citizenship straightaway. It is provided, of course, she meets all the requirements.
Best of Luck with Your Indefinite Leave to Remain UK Partner Application!!!