Wednesday, 16 October 2013

If one spouse has been in the UK for 5 years and qualifies for British Citizenship, can the other spouse apply at the same time, like with an ILR?

This question seems to create confusion because there are different rules for including spouses in the ILR and Citizenship applications. With ILR applications some can include spouses, even if a spouse has only arrived in the UK ‘yesterday’ (Work Permit or Ancestral).

Applicants under the Points-Based System can include a spouse in an ILR application if the spouse has spent 2 years in the UK, this is if a Dependant visa was issued before 9 July 2012. In this case the main PBS applicant can apply for Citizenship 1 year after an ILR while the spouse would need to spend his/her own 5 years in the UK. In this case the Citizenship timing will be different for a dependant spouse from the point of application for an ILR.
However, PBS applicants can include a spouse in an ILR application if the spouse has spent the whole 5 years in the UK, if a Dependant visa was issued before on or after 9 July 2012. In this case husband and wife may have to apply up to 5 years apart for either an ILR or Citizenship. For example, if a Tier 2 migrant has spent 4.5 years in the UK and then got married and brought a wife to the UK, then the main Tier 2 migrant will get an ILR after ‘his’ 5 years in the UK while the wife will only get her ILR after another 4.5 years and then Citizenship a year after an ILR (unless the husband becomes British by then, she won’t have to wait for a year after an ILR).

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