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Spouse Visa duration

How long is a partner visa valid for?

How long is a partner visa valid for? 

There is a simple answer to this question: a visa issued to a spouse, civil partner, or unmarried partner of a sponsor in the UK is issued for 30 months, ie two and a half years. 

But that is not the only question. Another question might be: how long does it take to get settlement (ie indefinite leave to remain) on the basis of a partner visa?

The answer to this question is more complicated. In a standard scenario, where the applicant meets every part of the rules, it will take five years, ie two grants of leave of 30 months each. After that, if all the requirements of the rules are met, they will be able to make the settlement application. This route to settlement is known, for obvious reasons, as the “five-year route”. 

But sometimes the applicant does not meet all the requirements. Sometimes they do not meet the financial requirements or English language requirements and sometimes an applicant already in the UK does not meet the requirement that they hold immigration leave when they apply. 

An application made in these circumstances is more difficult but not impossible. An application can be made under a special part of the rules which excuses some of the requirements, if the applicant is in a “genuine relationship” with a sponsor or has a “genuine parental relationship” with a qualifying child. This sort of application has the additional requirement that there are “insurmountable obstacles” to the couple relocating outside the UK or that it would not be “reasonable” to expect the child to relocate outside the UK. 

If an applicant is granted a visa in this sort of situation it will have been granted on the “ten-year route” to settlement, ie it will be necessary to obtain four grants of leave before becoming potentially eligible for settlement. 

A migrant on the ten-year route can switch into the five-year route if their circumstances change, but the switch can also happen the other way round. 

The issues about the five-year and the ten-year route can be quite complicated. If these issues affect you we at GSN Immigration can advise you accurately. 



Oliver Westmoreland

OISC Level 3 Immigration Adviser


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