At Montecristo LLP all of our immigration lawyers are extremely familiar with the rules on Spouses and unmarried partners. The current Financial Requirements for applications under the 5-year route to ILR/settlement were introduced in April 2012. Whilst these may appear to be relatively straight forward where for example a sponsoring spouse/partner is in stable employment in the UK (usually for at least 6 months at the date of application), things can easily become very complicated. As there is no longer very much flexibility in terms of the evidence that can be provided we strongly suggest using one of our lawyers to assist you in your application. If you wish we can advise your employer directly of the evidence needed. Sometimes people are unaware that they fall into a different category or that certain income of evidence may not be in the correct format. We can identify such potential problems at an early stage and work to correct them before an application is made. Our success rate with these type of applications is extremely high.
We are also used to dealing with applications where the Financial Requirement is to be met by savings, self-employment, directorship of a specified company and rental income. We also know which of these categories can be combined and which cannot. This visa needs to be renewed every 2.5 years until ILR/Settlement.
For initial applications to extend or for entry clearance a approved English language test certificate at CEFR level A1 or above in speaking and listening is required. For extensions a CEFR level A2 or above is required. CEFR level B1 or above is required for ILR/settlement. To remain on the 5-year route to ILR/Settlement you and/or your partner will also need to satisfy the financial requirement at the date of the extension and ILR application.
Where the financial or English requirements are not met, or where someone in not lawfully in the United Kingdom, it may be possible to apply for leave to remain under the 10 year route to ILR, particularly where there are children involved or there is some factor that would make it unreasonable for family life to continue abroad. Such applications from outside of the United Kingdom are rare but may be possible given the right circumstances.
It is also possible in the case of relationship breakdown where there are children resident in the United Kingdom (usually settled or British citizens) to apply for leave to remain independently from an ex-partner or ex-spouse on the basis of the parental relationship.
Despite initial appearances on the government website this is a complex area of law. It is entirely understandable why someone might want to bring for example their elderly parents to the United Kingdom for family or care reasons. In most cases however, it will be very difficult to bring dependant relatives such as parents over from foreign countries. The Immigration Rules only allow for a few exceptions such as where an adult dependant relative requires a level of long-term personal care that they are unable to get in their home country, either due to cost or lack of availability. The intention appears to be to make it difficult if not impossible in many cases to bring adult dependant relatives over from foreign countries, regardless of whether the sponsor is a British citizen or not.
In practice it was much easier for EEA nationals to sponsor such relatives than it was for British citizens. Therefore if you are an EEA national or the family member of an EEA national living in the UK, it may be worth looking into whether or not you can still sponsor a relative on an EU Settlement Scheme Family Permit. Our lawyers should be able to advise you about this should you get in touch.
We handle many applications for Indefinite Leave to Remain under the 10 year long residence rule. Under this rule a person must have been in the United Kingdom at all times legally (i.e. covered by a visa, exemption or appeal, often referred to as 3C leave). Some people may have very complicated travel histories. We can often assist to unravel these and present them clearly.
You should not have been outside of the UK for more than 540 days in total during the 10 year period or more than 180 days in one go.
You will normally need to demonstrate knowledge of language and life in the UK (usually by passing at least a B1 CEFR English language test in Speaking and Listening and the Life in the UK Test). You will normally need to supply all of your passports that you have had throughout your stay in the UK. If you do not meet these requirements, it may be possible to apply for an extension of your stay for 2 further years rather than ILR/settlement.
Any gap in lawful presence can cause problems and render an application discretionary. In some circumstances we may agree to represent a client where there has been a short gap in lawful residence but this will depend on the circumstances. We have been successful in discretionary applications before (at the initial decision stage and at appeal), however the more gaps in lawful residence, the harder the application will be.
In 2012 the 14 years long residence rule (which covered both lawful and unlawful residence) was abolished. This was replaced by the 20 years rule. Whilst this has made this more difficult for applicants with gaps in their lawful residence who cannot apply under the 10 year route to ILR, some of the prohibitive conditions of the old rule were abandoned. Potential applicants under this rule should bear in mind that they will be expected to produce evidence of their continuous residence. This will usually be by way of correspondence, medical records and in some cases letters from friends and relatives.
A lot has changed for EEA nationals and their families since the start of Brexit. Previously it was possible for EEA nationals to live and work in the United Kingdom without documentation. Although this was in theory also possible for direct family members from outside of the EEA in practice it was these third country nationals who usually held documentation to prove their rights and entitlement. Direct family members could include spouses, children and parents whereas extended family members could include non-married partners and other relatives.
In any event, EU Residence and Permanent Residence cards are no longer valid. EEA nationals and their family members were supposed to, in most cases, apply for either pre-settled or settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme prior to the end of June 2021. However EEA nationals and their family members with a good reason for delaying their applications for the EU Settlement Scheme may still be able to apply. There are also some categories of relatives to which this deadline did not apply. This area of transnational law may remain relevant for some time to come. Therefore if you believe that this may relate to you, we encourage you to make contact with our team.
It may also still be possible for the family members of EEA nationals or their non-EEA family members to sponsor and bring to the UK other family members on a EU Settlement Scheme Family Permit. However, the EEA national would usually need to have lived in the United Kingdom since at least the end of 2020 and will depend on the circumstances of that relationship.