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Thomas, Lawyer
Category: Immigration Law
Satisfied Customers: 7673
Experience:  UK Lawyer holding practising certficate for England & Wales.
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I have been naturalised as a British citizen years. Two

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I have been naturalised as a British citizen for 22 years. Two years ago, I got married to an American citizen. She is still working in USA, but I would like her to obtain leave to remain indefinitely in the UK. Can you please advise me how to go about this?

Hi Subroto

Do you earn more than £18600 pet annum from employment income?


Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Okay, great.

Are you living in the UK at the moment?

Is it intended that she will move to the UK to settle permanently with you?


Customer: replied 1 year ago.
to both


Thanks for your question. I will try to help.

She cannot apply for indefinite leave to remain yet. She will have to apply from a spouse visa first. After she has been in the UK for 5 years on this visa (renewing once) she will then be able to apply for indefinite leave to remain.

The webpage on spouse visas is here:

The eligibility criteria is here:-

If the application is well prepared and you meet the following eligibility criteria then it will make the application easy and quick to decide upon for the UKBA. To be eligible, you must show:-

  • you and your partner are both aged 18 or over at the date of application;
  • your partner is a British Citizen, or is present and settled in the UK, or is here with refugee leave or humanitarian protection;
  • your partner is not related to you in a way that means you could not marry in UK law;
  • you and your partner have met in person;
  • your relationship with your partner is genuine and subsisting if you are married or in a civil partnership, your marriage or civil partnership is valid in UK law;
  • if you are not married or in a civil partnership you have been living with your partner in a relationship akin to marriage or civil partnership for at least 2 years prior to the date of the application;
  • you meet the suitability requirements
  • any previous relationship has permanently broken down (this does not apply to certain polygamous relationships);
  • you and your partner intend to live together permanently in the UK;
  • You must meet the financial requirement:-
  • This means that the UK based spouse must earn a minimum income threshold of £18,600. Alternatively, if you have savings of £62, 500.00 then you would not have to prove any salary. You can also use a mix of the two.
  • You would also have to show that you meet the English language requirement:-

You have to produce to the Home Office documentation that proves the above. This would be some of the following:-

{C}· Bank statements from both you and your spouse going back 6 months showing the income/capital you have available

{C}· Payslips (6 month of) and a letter from your employer stating that you have a permanent job, contract of employment

{C}· Documentary evidence of any other assets you hold (eg. Shares, evidence of ISAs or bonds)

{C}· Marriage certificate, Birth Certificate, passport

{C}· Evidence of correspondence between you and your spouse showing that the relationship is credible and genuine (eg. Emails, letters, evidence of previous trips, photos showing you together, phone records

{C}· Evidence of the accommodation where you will live or that you can afford to accommodate yourselves once here.

It is quite complicated application with a heavy evidential burden and so I would strongly suggest that you instruct a UK based immigration solicitor local to you in order to prepare the application and collate the requisite supporting evidence.

She will need to apply for settlement (ie. spouses visa) by using form VAF4A Settlement, but the application is actually made online

You can find Uk immigration solicitors through the following Law Society Website search engine:-

The visa will be granted for a period of 33 months. She will have to apply for further leave to remain at the end of this time. She can apply for indefinite leave to remain once she has been here for 5 years. After that she can apply to be naturalised as a UK citizen.

My goal is to provide you with a good service. If you feel you have received anything less, please reply back. Please remember to leave positive feedback using the stars at the top of the page.

Kind regards,


Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you Tom.
1. Can she apply for a spouse visa straightaway, and is this straightforward, i.e not requiring the services of an immigration lawyer?
2. Does she have to live CONTINUOUSLY in the UK for 5 years, before she can apply for leave to remain?


She can apply right now I would think, but it really would be best to instruct a solicitor. She could apply, get something wrong and waste 3-4 months (maybe more) waiting for it to be refused so that she can apply again.

There are no defined time limits for the amount of time a person is permitted to spend outside the UK whilst on a spouse visa, because each case is judged on it's merits. A limited amount of time outside the UK for work reasons will be permitted, for example.

Please remember to leave positive feedback using the stars at the top of the page..


Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thanks again.
1.Bearing in mind she lives in US and visits for short periods, is it better to contact a UK based solicitor or one in the US?
2.She would finish her work in the US in two years from now. During this time, she can visit for short periods only. Would this compromise her application since this period of two years may not be considered to be 'a limited period of time'?


If she is not intending (or not able to) to live permanently in the uk (ie for more than 6 months per year) then she should just apply for a 2 year visit visa until she finishes her work. This is a visa granted for the two year period and it would allow her to enter the UK as many times she likes within the 2 year period but subject to not spending more than 6 months in the UK in any 12 months period within the 2 years.

Once she is able to relocate permanently then she should apply for a spouse visa.

When the time comes you should instruct a UK based immigration solicitor. Not a US one.

Please remember to leave feedback


Thomas and other Immigration Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thanks will leave feedback.