For some reason I was always under the impression that the three-year qualifying period for spouses began once ILR was granted, but having just read through Booklet AN it seems my wife is eligible to apply now. Below is her timeline so far:
31/07/09 obtained the first spouse visa Thailand (expires 31/10/11)
5/09/09 entered UK on spouse visa
31/07/11 departed UK for holiday in Thailand
29/08/11 returned to UK (29 day absence)
5/11/11 messed up our ILR application (forgot to obtain Life & Skills/Eng. lang. certificates)
12/11/11 went back to Thailand to apply for spouse visa # 2
25/05/12 obtained spouse visa # 2 (expires 25/08/14)
30/06/12 entered UK on spouse visa # 2 (231 day absence)
15/07/14 granted ILR
We’re not very good at this, as you can see! We made a hash of our first ILR application and had to start all over again. Which is why don’t trust myself now. But page 4 of the booklet states:
1. You must have been physically present in England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland, the Isle of Man or the Channel Islands on the day 3 years before the application is received by the Home Office
she has been in the UK continuously since 30 June 2012 – OK
2. you must not have had more than 270 days outside the United Kingdom in the three-year period before making the application (but see the section on absences on page 7)
no absences in the last 3 years – OK
nothing on page 7 that applies to my wife
3. You must not have had more than 90 days outside the United Kingdom in the 12 month period before making the application (but see the section on absences on page 8)
no absences in the last 12 months – OK
nothing on page 8 that applies to my wife
4. you must be free of immigration time restrictions on the date of application (see the section on Immigration Time Restrictions)
she has no time restrictions on the day of application, i.e. now. However, she did have time restrictions three years from the date of application (spouse visa valid until 25/08/14) - OK?
5. You must not have been in breach of the immigration rules in the five-year period before making the application (see the section on ‘Breach of Immigration Law’).
When my wife returned to Thailand after our botched first ILR application she had actually overstayed 12 days, but we hope this won’t be an issue seeing as we were granted another spouse visa shortly after - OK?
Can someone please confirm I'm reading this right: the requirement for spouses is to have just been in the UK (even on a spouse visa) 3 years prior to the application date, in which case my wife is now eligible to apply.