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Thomas, Lawyer
Category: Immigration Law
Satisfied Customers: 7626
Experience:  UK Lawyer holding practising certficate for England & Wales.
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Hello, I am a USA national who came to the UK in 2010 on a

Resolved Question:

Hello, I am a USA national who came to the UK in 2010 on a Tier 2 work visa. I married my husband in 2012 who is a British National and I now have a 2 year spousal visa which expires in 2015. My question is because I have already been here 3 years with my work visa and then 2 more years with my spousal visa, I will make 5 years in the UK which I assumed mean I can then apply for permanent residency because of living in the UK for 5 straight years, however; the law for spousal visas changed in 2012 stating that 2 two year visas have to be applied for by spouses before indefinite leave can be applied for but I would have already made 5 1/2 years once my first two year visa expires, so do I apply for another spousal visa after my first expires or do I apply for indefinite after my first spousal visa due to me being in the UK the length if time it takes to become a permanent resident. I'm very confused and I do not want to apply for the wrong visa in 2015 once my spousal visa expires.
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Immigration Law
Expert:  Thomas replied 4 years ago.

Thank you for your question and patience, I’m Tom and I’ll try to help you.

I’m afraid that you will have to apply for a further visa under the spouse visa rules.

It’s unfortunate – because of the rule change – but spouses must now have to complete 5 years in the UK in the spouse visa category before being eligible to apply for ILR. Please refer to the following link:-
You will see that under the heading “applying for settlement” it states “you have completed a period of 5 years in the UK, with a visa or permission to remain here in this category”. This means that you cannot include any time spent in other visa categories in calculating the 5 year period.
Therefore, you will have to apply for further leave to remain (ie. another visa) under the spouse rules to take you to 5 years in the category of a spouse visa.
If you had remained on your work visa until you reached your 5 years then you would have been able to apply for ILR under the work visa rules, but by switch to a spouse visa although you have the benefit of your leave to remain not being linked to your employment it does mean that the 5 year period starts again.
I am very sorry, but at least you know what to do now.

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Kind regards,

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