Every year, thousands of investors, skilled workers, family members, and students from outside of the European Economic Area (EEA) move to the UK on a temporary or permanent basis. Whether you are applying as part of the points-based system (PBS) for a Tier 1, 2, 4, or 5 visas, a Start-Up, Investor or Global Talent visa, or a spouse visa under the family scheme, it is possible to bring your children with you to the UK. We are frequently asked if this also applies to step-children and whether the rules vary in such circumstances. In this article, we will outline the rules around dependant children visas, and how step-children are viewed from the perspective of the UK Home Office.
A dependant child from the standpoint of the immigration system is a child of a person who is lawfully settled or has a visa to remain in the UK. The child will not be classified as a dependant if they are married or in a civil partnership, have formed an independent family unit, or are leading an independent life.
The immigration rules state that in order to be eligible for a dependant child visa, the following must apply:
The rules followed by entry clearance officers when making decisions on dependant visas state clearly any application made by a child where only one parent will be in the UK will not be granted unless the above circumstances are clearly and fully demonstrated. These rules are in place to ensure the safeguarding and welfare of the child is actively considered, preventing, for example, the unintended break-up of a family unit or child trafficking.
Looking at these rules, it is easy to understand why there is some confusion regarding how step-children are viewed by the Home Office; for example, it is not clear whether €˜parent' refers solely to a biological parent or not.
Yes, step-children can be included in a child dependant visa application, however, more evidence may be required in order to satisfy the Home Office immigration rules. As stated above, the Home Office has a duty of care to ensure that the decisions they make do not result in the unintended break-up of a family unit. In the context of a step-family, they will want to see evidence that family arrangements are such that the main applicant or their partner is legally responsible for the care and welfare of the child. As such, the applicant will need to provide clear evidence that they:
If there is any doubt that the main applicant or the dependant partner has legal custody and is responsible for the care and welfare of the child, then the Home Office may refuse the application or seek further clarification. It is for this reason that it is recommended anyone applying for a dependant visa for a step-child should seek the advice and assistance of immigration Solicitors in the UK who will ensure that all possible reasons for refusal are mitigated, and all of the evidence needed is provided.
In most cases, dependant children will be added to the application form of the main person applying for a visa in the UK. It is possible, however, to make a separate application for a dependant child visa. Making a later application for a dependant child/step-child is common where it is not practical for all family members to travel at the same time to the UK. The delay may also be necessary to put in place family legal arrangements with the other biological parent whose permission is required to allow the child to live in the UK.
Assuming that all of the necessary family arrangements have been put in place and are in writing, there are other requirements which must be met to secure a dependant child visa. Tier 2 and 5 applicants must show evidence of £630 for each dependant, which must have been held for at least three months before applying. Under the family visa route, the applicant must show evidence of earning an additional annual income of £3,800 (for the first child applicant), and £2,400 (for all subsequent child applicants), in addition to the £18,600 per annum minimum income requirement. The Home Office will also check that arrangements for the child's care and accommodation in the United Kingdom comply with relevant legislation and regulations.
Blended families can add some complexity to UK immigration applications, principally because the Home Office will want to be satisfied that the necessary family arrangements are in place. They will want to ensure that in granting a child dependant visa, there is no risk that existing custody arrangements between the child and their other biological parent are not placed at risk. It is for this reason that preparing a successful application for a dependant child visa, where the main applicant is a step-parent, may require additional proof to satisfy the Home Office rules. As ever, the best advice is to secure expert immigration law advice before submitting your application.
Related Article: How to Bring a Dependant To Join You In UK
It's a shame that you dont have an 'Excellent' star rating on here, as my experience with Reiss Edwards is nothing short of an excellent rating. They handled my application for an Indefinite Leave to remain in April 2014 and did my husband's one very recently including my daughter. Every time i have approached them, they have continued to treat me with courtesy, respect and patience. Amar was indeed a very thorough and professional gentleman. He is very knowledgeable, corporative and engaging. He responded to my emails, calls and enquiries promptly. He was always reassuring. I could not have asked for a better Immigration service. I would recommend them over and over again for anyone looking for an immigration advice. They gave me a free immigration advice when i called them, and the quality of the advice was something other charge thousands for. If you need a particular, name, Amar would be it. He exemplifies, for me, the true, professional gentleman. He is a valuable asset to Reiss Edwards.
I am glad that i instructed Reiss Edwards on my visa matter. It started with a 20 minutes free immigration advice. I met with Amar to discuss my ILR refusal. He gave me a great deal of quality advice and decided to take on my messy case. I had doubts on the merits of my case by he was relatively convinced he could win it. That made me quite secure. To be honest, things did not start as quick as I would have wanted, but they kept on communicating the process and state of things to me.A big thank you to Verusha and Foram. They were also very helpful. Brilliant and informative. Their fee was fair and reasonable, especially if you compare them to other law firms and immigration law firms in London; some of whom even told me that i would not be able to get an indefinte leave to remain in this country. The process was long but was worth it. In the end, a big thank you to Reiss Edwards.
Investing over 2 million pounds is defintely not a routine decision. We had to make sure that the Tier 1 investor immigration lawyers that we'd be picking has to be one of the best within the Tier 1 investor category. We contacted Reiss Edwards and they were able to get us not only the Tier 1 investor visa but also suggested profitable investment portfolios in addition to what we already had in mind.
TI have just had British Citizenship application approved. Prior to making the application, i was not sure which law firm i should hire to facilitate the paperwork. After a few hours of research, i decided to go with Reiss Edwards and i must confess that i wasnt disappointed. The immigration lawyers at Reiss Edwards handled my case well and they really knew what they were doing. They were fully aware of what documents I needed and it was easy for them to tell if my case was going to be easy or not. At the end of the day, I have not received my British citizenship within 3 months. If anyone is looking for a good immigration lawyer to handle thier case, contact Reiss Edwards.
My wife's spouse visa extension application was refused by the Home Office and they gave her 14 days to leave the country. We contacted Reiss Edwards and they said "OK don't worry we will sort this out". They put together the list of documents for me to obtain and they prepared a bundle which was as thick as the printer it came out from.We followed everything they asked us to do and in the end we won our appeal and got our spouse visa. We can't recommend them enough and we have promised ourselves never to make any more UK visa applications without them.
The team of lawyers at Reiss Edwards are very professional and friendly people. Their experience in and around UK immigration law is quite extensive; be sure that you application is in safe and competent hands. My immigration matter was an indefinite leave to remain application based on Tier 1 on a self-employment basis. The immigration lawyers at Reiss Edwards made sure that the application was perfect and ready to be accepted. I got a positive decision and I recommend them highly for anyone who needs a UK immigration help.
I contacted Reiss Edwards to help me with my wife's UK settlement visa. They acted with utmost professionalism throughout the entire application. I spoke with Joe Dinh, he is an immigration solicitor and he is one of the best solicitors out there. He ensured that there was little to no room for error. At some point I thought he was over cautious. He remained calmed and continued to assure us on our immigration matter. Most people in his position would have panicked but he was calmed and continued to assure us. We received out positive outcome very quickly.
I have been using Reiss Edwards for three years now for my family's immigration application. Both for my initial application and extension. They are really affordable. The team of solicitors at this firm are probably one of the most efficient and economical in terms of cost. They offered free advice over the phone and spent good time with us before inviting us for consultation.
Reiss Edwards is a top notch immigration service company. The way they handled our documentation and also the list of documents they sent was efficient and top quality. They helped us professionally throughout the process. We are very happy with the immigration advice we received from the team. We highly recommend them.
I used Reiss Edwards immigration lawyers to assist with my immigration matter and that of my family. It was an EX1 application. They dealt with the matter properly and even when complications were coming up from the Home Office, they helped resolve the issue properly. They are very professional and are very popular in London. I am happy to have worked with them.
This is the only firm that i spoke with that didn't ask for money before listening to me, will be using them again.
I used Reiss Edwards for my Tier 2 visa application and it was successful. The team was ever present and happy to answer my question. The caseworker that dealing with my case went on holiday yet by case did not suffer one bit. Another lawyer stepped and took over the case without any hassle.
My Tier 1 Investor Visa was dealt with quickly and without issue. Would recommend Reiss Edwards as an Immigration law firm in London. Thank you to the team.
530 ReviewsREAD ALL REVIEWS