Monday, 28 August 2017

One of our most popular posts (and most commonly asked questions): What is the difference between 5-year route and 10-year route as a Spouse or Parent of a UK citizen?

This subject has become even more popular since the recent case of MM (Lebanon) on the Financial Requirement for a UK Spouse /Partner visa category. 

5 years and 10 years refer to the number of years a foreign partner needs to spend in the UK, in the given category, to qualify for permanent residency. So, in the 5-year route one needs 5 years and in the 10-year route twice more, ie 10 years. It means if you get a visa in this route, you'd need 5 or 10 years respectively from the date of the first visa. It does not relate to the number of years preceding to the first application in this route. 

When does each of them apply? 

5-year route is for a migrant who is applying as a Spouse/Partner, or as a Parent, of a UK citizen under the Appendix FM and who is able to meet all the requirements. This is also known as application “within the Rules”. It means one can meet all the requirements, be it applying at the right place (ie switching from another category when it is allowed), meeting the Financial or English language requirements or otherwise.  

10-year route applies when the couple cannot meet the visa requirements for the standard 5-year route but have the circumstances that are compassionate or exceptional enough (in the opinion of the Home Office caseworkers) to be considered for a visa anyway. It may be applicable if the couple cannot meet the Financial Requirement in the precise ways specified by the 5-year route's rules, or when the couple's family/health circumstances prevent them from meeting it altogether (for example, a serious illness). It can also be used by the overstayers, i.e. migrants without a valid visa, but it is not a guaranteed way of securing a visa.  

An easy way to sum it up in plain language is: if you can meet the Rules - you enter the 5-year route;, this meas meeting the rules on everything from the current visa status to the Finical Requirement  if not - you may (but not guaranteed) be able to enter the 10-year route, There are no exact rules how, each case is considered on an individual basis , and it will be up to you (and your representative /  lawyer) to convince the authorities and to provide the sufficient evidence. 

While this option remains, even more so now following the court case, the answer for those who genuinely cannot meet the Rules for one reason or another (not necessarily financial), the downside is having to spend twice more time in the UK to qualify for permanent residency. It has also become available to applicants outside the UK, which was not possible earlier. 

5-year route means 2 applications, 2 sets of fees, 2 visas, each for 2.5 years. 

10-year route means 4 applications, 4 sets of fees (unless the applicant can prove he/she is destitute), 4 visas, each for 2.5 years. 

Once you are in the 10-year route, can you change to the 5-year route to speed up the waiting period for permanent residency? Yes , you can, we have an excellent post here on a relevant testimonial. 

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