Applying for settlement as a spouse or partner: Form SET(M) and supporting documents

Documents to submit when applying for settlement

To successfully apply for permission to settle in the UK (also known as ‘indefinite leave to remain’ or ILR) as the husband, wife, civil partner, unmarried partner or same-sex partner of a British citizen or a person who is settled here, you must satisfy the requirements set out by the Immigration Rules.

If you meet those requirements, you should apply for settlement by completing form SET(M) and submitting the supporting documents.
Who can apply for settlement using form SET(M)

You should use application form SET(M) if you:
• currently have temporary permission to remain in the UK as the husband, wife, civil partner or unmarried/same-sex partner of a British citizen or a person settled here;
• have lived here for 2 years in this category; and
• are still planning to live together (and are still married or in a civil partnership, if applicable).
If you were given permission to remain in the UK as an unmarried or same-sex partner and are now applying to settle here as the husband, wife or civil partner of the same person, your 2-year qualifying period started on whichever is the later of these two dates: the date when Home Office gave you permission to remain as an unmarried or same-sex partner; or the date when you arrived in the UK.

You must be in the UK when you apply. When you apply, you will need to show that you have a good knowledge of language and life in the UK if you are aged between 18 and 64.

If you are a national of a country in the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland, or if you are the partner of an EEA national, you should not use form SET(M).
Applying for your children

You can use one form for a joint application by you and any children aged under 18, if they are applying as your dependants. Children over 18 must apply separately, using application form SET(F).

Documents to submit with form SET(M)

You need to submit a substantial amount of documents to support a settlement application. Send the original documents, if you have them, not copies. In exceptional circumstances, Home Office will accept a photocopy that is certified as an accurate copy by the body or authority that issued the original, or by a notary – but you must include a letter explaining why you are providing a certified copy rather than the original document.
Hereafter is the list of documents required by Home Office.

Passports and immigration documents

1. Your current passport or travel document (if you last entered the UK on a previous passport or travel document, also provide this document if you still have it).
2. The current passport(s) or travel document(s) for each child under 18 included in section 3 and applying for indefinite leave to remain in the UK with you. If they last entered the UK on previous passport(s) or travel document(s), also provide these documents if you still have them.
3. Your Biometrics Residence Permit if you have been issued with one since entering the UK.
4. The Biometrics Residence Permit for each child under 18 included in section 3 and applying for an indefinite leave to remain in the UK with you if they have been issued with them since entering the UK.
5. Child’s birth certificate: a full birth certificate (i.e. one which shows the parents’ names) for each child under 18 of your present marriage or civil partnership or relationship who is applying for indefinite leave to remain in the UK with you.

Your partner’s immigration status

• Your partner’s current passport or travel document showing that he/she is present and settled in the UK.

Your finances

• Evidence of your finance: bank statements, building society savings books, pay slips or other formal documents as evidence of your and your partner’s ability to maintain and accommodate yourselves and any dependants without recourse to public funds.

NOTE: Internet or cash-point statements are not accepted as evidence of finances. If you claim that a relative or friend is providing you with financial support, in addition to evidence of your own finances, you must provide bank statements or other documents of the kind described above as evidence of their financial resources.  The documents showing the finances available to you and to any person supporting you should cover at least the last 3 months.

Knowledge of language and life in the UK

If you are aged 18-64, you must provide one of the following:
1. A Life in the UK test pass notification letter; or
2. A relevant ESOL qualification with an original certificate from the approved awarding body, together with a letter from your college confirming your name, qualification, name of the awarding body and details on the courses.
3. A letter from your partner’s employer certifying that you have sufficient knowledge of the English language and Life in the UK if you are the partner of a permanent member of HM Diplomatic Service; or a comparable UK-based staff member of the British Council on a tour of duty abroad; or a staff member of the Department for International Development; or
4. A medical certificate or similar document if you are claiming exemption from taking the Life in the UK test or doing an ESOL course because of a medical or other condition.

Evidence of cohabitation

• 6 letters and/or other documents addressed to you and your partner at the same address as evidence that you have been living together during the past 2 years.

If you do not have enough items in your joint names, you may also provide items addressed to each of you individually if they show the same address for both of you. The dates of the letters or documents should spread over the whole 2 years. They should be from at least 3 different sources.

Examples: letters or other documents from government departments or agencies, for example HMRC, Dept for Work and Pensions, DVLA and TV Licensing letters or other documents from your GP, a hospital or other local health service about medical treatments, appointments, home visits or other medical matters; bank statements or bank books; utility bills; etc.


Relevant photographs must be submitted with the forms and supporting documents. If you do not supply them or the photographs do not meet the requirements, your application will be rejected.
1. Two recent identical passport-size photographs of yourself with your full name written on the back of each photograph.
2. A recent passport-size photograph of your partner with his/her full name written on the back of the photograph.
3. Two recent identical passport-size photographs of each child under 18 applying for indefinite leave to remain in the UK with you, with their full name written on the back of each photograph.

Where to apply

Applications for settlement can be made:
1. by post at the address stated on the application form; or
2. in person, by appointment
a. at one of the Home Office’s Public Enquiry Offices.
b. through the Settlement Checking Service, operated by a number of local authorities.

The settlement checking service is an optional service, which is available for a fee to applicants using the SET (M) application form only, at a local authority register office.

The checking service will give you reassurance and peace of mind that your application is complete and correct, although it does not guarantee your application will be successful. However, applications received through the settlement checking service are generally faster to process, as fewer cases are rejected or delayed due to incomplete or missing documents.

For further information on the settlement checking service and what it offers, please see the Settlement checking service page at

Edited by,
Source: Immigration Rules; SET(M) Application Form and Guidance Notes


Disclaimer: The above article is meant to be relied upon as an informative article and in no way constitutes legal advice. Information is offered for general information purposes only, based on the current law when the information was first displayed on this website.

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