Joining Your Family in the UK and Gaining Assistance With Your Visa Application
Of all of the work we do as immigration Solicitors in London, the most satisfying and rewarding is helping family members, including spouses, partners, children, and parents, to be reunited with their loved ones in the UK. Given the importance of getting immigration applications for family members correct, it is essential to have a strong understanding of the various family immigration routes available and the rules and criteria which apply for each. In this article, we will outline the main options to enable non-UK nationals to reunite and live with their spouse, partner, children, or parent in the UK for longer than six months.
What Are The Main Categories Of Family Visa?
There are several family-based immigration routes in the UK, including:
- spouse or partner
- fiancé, fiancée or proposed civil partner
- relative who’ll provide long-term care for you
You will be able to make a family visa application if you are currently outside of the UK and wish to join your family member, or if you are currently in the UK on a different visa type (e.g. a work visa) – this is referred to as ‘switching’.
UK Spouse Or Partner Visa
Under this visa route, non-UK nationals can apply to join their spouse or partner in the UK. The UK based spouse or partner must be one of the following:
- a British or Irish citizen
- have settled in the UK - for example, they have indefinite leave to remain, settled status, or proof of permanent residence
- be from the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, or Liechtenstein and have pre-settled status - they must have started living in the UK before 1 January 2021
- have a Turkish Businessperson visa or Turkish Worker visa
- have refugee status or humanitarian protection in the UK
The rules state that to make a successful application, you will need to provide evidence that you are both in a civil partnership or marriage that’s recognised in the UK, or you have been living together in a relationship for at least two years when you apply. It is also possible to apply if you are a fiancé, fiancée, or proposed civil partner and will marry or enter into a civil partnership in the UK within six months of arriving. You must also have good knowledge of English and be able to financially support yourself and your dependants. The English language requirement will be met if you have passed a CEFR level A1 speak and listening test in English or if you have a degree that was taught in English. The financial requirements state that you and your partner must have a combined income of at least £18,600 a year and £3,800 for your first child and £2,400 for each child you have after your first child.
If granted, you will be given permission to remain in the UK for up to two years and nine months, at which point it can be further extended for another two and a half years. After five years in the UK, you will be able to apply for permanent settlement (ILR).
UK Child Visa
If you are a non-UK child of a person living in the UK, you will be able to apply for a family visa to join them. It is important to check if you need to apply for a child visa as if they are already permanent residents, you can apply for the same status. Likewise, if they have settled or pre-settled status through the EU Settlement Scheme, you can apply through the same scheme. If neither of the above applies, you will be able to apply for a child family visa as long as:
- you are not married, in a civil partnership, or living an independent life
- you are financially supported by your parent/s without claiming public funds
- if you are 18 or over, you last received permission to stay in the UK (‘leave to remain’) on a family visa when you were under 18
Children can either be added to their parent’s application or if this is not possible, they can apply separately.
UK Adult Dependant Visa
The UK family visa system also enables adults to come to the UK to be cared for by a relative – this is referred to as the adult dependant visa. The rules state, “You must be outside the UK to apply and need long-term care from a parent, grandchild, brother, sister, son or daughter who is living permanently in the UK”. To apply, your relative in the UK must be one of the following:
- a British or Irish citizen
- a person who has settled in the UK - for example, they have indefinite leave to remain, settled status, or proof of permanent residence
- a person from the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, or Liechtenstein with pre-settled status
- a person with refugee status or humanitarian protection in the UK
Applicants whose family member is British or has settled in the UK (not EU pre-settled status) can remain indefinitely, as long as all of the following apply:
- the applicant requires long-term care for everyday personal and household tasks due to illness, disability, or age
- the care needed is not available or affordable in their country of residence
- the person they are joining in the UK will be able to support, accommodate and care for them without claiming public funds for at least five years
- they are 18 or over
The family visa system enables close family members from outside of the UK to come to the UK to be with their loved ones. If you need assistance with your application, to confirm the best route for you and your family, or to check your eligibility, speak to an immigration Solicitor who will guide you through the process.