Understanding 5-Year and 10-Year Settlement Routes in the UK

A photo of an immigration lawyer at Axis Solicitors Limited explaining how understanding 5-year and 10-year settlement routes in the UK is beneficial for our immigration clients.

Gaining Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) in the United Kingdom can be achieved through different pathways, most notably the 5-Year and 10-Year Settlement Routes. This blog post will discuss the nuances between these two routes, their requirements, and how to transition from one to the other.

What Sets the 5-Year and 10-Year Routes Apart?

The 5-Year Settlement Route is the principal track towards receiving the ILR. The path encompasses several visa categories: family, work, and business visas. Nonetheless, the 10-Year Long Residence Route allows foreign nationals to obtain ILR based on a decade of lawful residence in the UK, irrespective of the type of visa initially held. For detailed insights on how a 10-year residency route applies to you, we invite you to contact our team to set up an initial and free assessment of your situation.

Spousal Settlement Routes

Spouse visa holders can use the 5-Year Route provided they fulfil the entire visa eligibility requirement throughout the qualifying period. The 10-year route is also available, notably for those who, at the time, failed to meet the financial requirements imposed by the 5-year path.

Requirements for the 5-Year Route to Settlement

For you to be eligible for ILR through the 5-Year Route, you must adhere to the following stipulations:

  • Lawful and Continuous Residence: Reside lawfully in the UK under a five-year qualifying visa category. Eligible visas comprise:
    • Long-term Work Visas (Skilled Worker, Turkish Worker)
    • Global Talent Visa
    • Family Visas (Spouse, Parent)
    • Child and Adult Dependent Visas
    • Ancestry Visa
  • Visa-Specific Conditions: Depending on your visa type, additional requirements may apply, such as:
    • Continuous cohabitation for spouse visa holders
    • Continued employment for Skilled Worker visa holders
    • Endorsement in the field for Global Talent visa holders
  • Financial Standing: Consistent fulfilment of financial requirements during the entire 5-year period.
  • English Proficiency: Possession of a CEFR English language qualification at level B1 or above or a degree taught in English.
  • Life in the UK Test: Successful completion.
  • Good Character Criteria: Must be met.

Continuous Residence and Financial Requirements

  • Continuous Residence: Not exceeding a stay of 180 days abroad in any 12 months within the five years in question.
  • Financial Obligations: Specific to your visa, e.g., spouse visa holders must adhere to an annual income threshold of £18,600, supplemented by additional sums for children.

Transitioning from the 10-Year to the 5-Year Route

Switching is feasible, but certain conditions apply, notably the rest of the residence time if you transition to the 5-year route after failing to meet its financial prerequisites. You must complete another five years under the new route to qualify for ILR.

Guidelines for Route Switching

To transition from the 10-Year to the 5-Year Route, you must:

  • Satisfy all 5-Year Route requirements.
  • Apply for ILR post the five years without necessitating formal notification to the Home Office for the route change.
How Can Axis Solicitors Assist?

As specialist immigration solicitors, our team are experts on both 5-year and 10-year Settlement Routes.

Therefore, Axis Solicitors can offer our clients:

  • Comprehensive guidance on ILR application processes
  • Tailored advice to address eligibility issues
  • Expert management of your ILR application

For guidance on ILR through either route, please contact Axis Solicitors to receive a complimentary consultation to evaluate your immigration options. 

We proudly accept remote clients and offer consultations through WhatsApp, Zoom, Teams or email. Clients in the UK can call us on our toll-free number or visit one of our offices in Manchester, Birmingham, London, Chester or Newcastle.

Avoid taking chances with your immigration matters, and ensure the best outcome with professional advice from the number one immigration law firm on Review Solicitors last year. Contact us for more information.

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