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Can I stay in the UK if my child is British?

We often receive queries from parents along the lines of “my child is British, can I stay in the UK”. The reality is that if you are a foreign mother or father with a British child, you do not have an automatic right to UK citizenship as their parent. However, there may be immigration routes available to you that will allow you to settle in the UK and later gain citizenship. Here we will look at the ways you can stay in the UK if your child is a British citizen, the requirements you will need to meet, how to apply when you can apply for citizenship, and how long you can stay in the UK.

Ways of staying in the UK if your child is British

Under the UK’s immigration rules, the main visa scheme for foreign nationals who want to join their family members is the family members (FM) route. This immigration pathway is available to foreign parents of British citizens: this is the UK parent visa.

If your child is not a British citizen, you may still be able to apply for a parent visa if your child has lived in the UK for 7 years, and it would not be reasonable for them to leave the UK. This is referred to as the seven-year rule.

Other immigration routes you may consider if you are a parent of a British child and wish to stay in the UK include:

There may be several immigration options available to you, depending on your circumstances and those of your child. To discuss the best route for you, speak to one of our friendly and helpful immigration solicitors. Call us on 020 3744 2797 for advice on staying in the UK with your British child.

Requirements of staying in the UK with your British child

To apply under the family member visa route as a parent of a child, your child must:

  • be a British citizen or an Irish citizen, or
  • have settled in the UK (e.g. ILR), or
  • have pre-settled or settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme, or
  • have been living in the UK for at least 7 continuous years, and it would not be reasonable for them to leave the UK

In addition, the child must:

  • be under the age of 18 when you apply, or they must have been under the age of 18 when you were first granted leave.
  • not live an independent life (i.e. they must not be financially independent, married, or have left home).

As an applicant, you will also need to:

  • meet the parental responsibility requirement (see below for more details)
  • meet the financial requirements (you and your partner must show an income of at least £18,600 a year plus £3,800 for your first child and £2,400 for each additional).
  • Prove your knowledge of English (e.g. by passing an approved English test at level A1 on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) scale) if you are not from an exempt country.

Parental responsibility rules

To apply for a parent visa, if you have a British child, you will need to prove to the Home Office that you have either sole or shared parental responsibility for your child. If you have shared parental responsibility, you will need to prove that the other parent is either a British or Irish national or has settled in the UK (i.e. they hold ILR or EUSS pre-settled or settled status). If your child is living with the other parent, you will need to show you have a court order which grants you access to the child in person.

You will also need to show that you play an active role in the raising of your child by providing recent evidence from an official source (e.g. government, school, court, or a medical professional) that proves you are living with or caring for your child.

How to apply to stay in the UK through your British Child

The application process you will need to follow depends on if you are applying in the UK or outside.

If you are applying outside the UK, you will need to complete the required online application form1. You will also need to complete Appendix 5 form VAF4A2 (family settlement as a parent of a child in the UK). You will need to pay an application fee of £1,523.

If you are applying inside the UK, you will need to complete a different online application form3. You will need to pay an application fee of £1,033.

Whether you are applying outside or inside the UK, you may also need to complete the following steps:

  • pay the immigration healthcare surcharge of £624 per year
  • pay a biometric fee of £19.20.
  • book a biometric appointment to have your photo taken and fingerprints scanned – you will be advised how to book your appointment and where you will need to go.

Applications typically take up to 12 weeks if made outside the UK or 8 weeks if inside the UK. If you wish to pay for a faster decision, you may be able to use the super-priority service, which will provide a decision by the end of the next working day for an additional fee of £800.

Once you have a positive decision, your Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) will be available within 10 days.

Can I get citizenship through my British child?

Yes, once you have secured your parent visa, you will be able to apply for settlement (ILR) after 5 continuous years in the UK. After a further 12 months, you can then apply for citizenship.

If you are on the 10-year long residence route, you can apply for ILR after 10 years of continuous residence and then citizenship 12 months later.

How long can you stay in the UK with your British child?

Your initial parent visa under the FM route will typically be issued for a period of 33 months. Once this period ends, you can then apply to extend your parent visa for an additional 30 months. At this point, you can then apply for ILR under the 5-year pathway to settlement and then citizenship 1 year later.

How can Reiss Edwards help?

Our immigration solicitors have helped many parents with British citizenship to settle in the UK. We understand just how important it is for both the parent and child to gain the immigration needed to stay permanently in the UK. We can:

  • Advise you on the various immigration routes available to you
  • Recommend the best immigration route for you and your child
  • Guide you through the application process
  • Check your application and documents prior to submission
  • Deal with the Home Office / UKVI with any queries they raise
  • Handle refusals of parent visas, including appealing, administrative reviews, and judicial reviews.


References:

1 GOV.UK: Online Application Form

2 GOV.UK: Form VAF4A

3 GOV.UK: Applying from within the UK

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Reiss Edwards Reviews

O.L

"Andy Tieu is absolutely amazing, as a lawyer myself I can categorically say tha...

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Kiran Sardar

"I found Joe very helpful and tremendous patience which is a must in this profes...

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Cheyam Shaked

"Anna Foley was the lawyer helping my partner obtain an EEA EFM visa. She was ou...

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Isaac .T

"Professional service. I was very impressed with the fact that my ILR applicatio...

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