If you’re currently in a relationship with a British national, you’ll now need to spend five years in the UK to qualify for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR), and not the two years that were previously required.
Recent changes to the UK Settlement Visa mean that it now takes five years of living in the UK to qualify for ILR. Previously, it took only two years of residency for a non-British citizen to qualify for a UK Settlement Visa, as long as they were in a relationship with a British national (or settled partner).
The UK Settlement Visa is regarded by many as the de facto stamp of approval for permanent residence in the UK. These changes might come as a shock to some, who were perhaps anticipating a short, two-year stint in the UK with their spouse to gain ILR.
There is a cheaper alternative though. If you’re in a relationship with a British citizen but have a grandparent who was born in the UK, you can apply for the UK Ancestry Visa instead of the UK Spousal/Settlement Visa. Both visas allow five years residency in the UK to qualify for ILR, but the Ancestry Visa is considered by many to be a cheaper option.