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UK Family Reunion Visa Application

The UK’s Refugee Family Reunion policy allows immediate family members to join a refugee in the UK. The Refugee Family Reunion policy was put in place to ensure that families separated when gaining asylum can be reunited. This is especially important when some family members are forced to flee their home country.

In this article, we will explain who can bring their family members to the UK under the Family Reunification UK policy, which family members are eligible, the requirements that must be met, the application process and documents required, and the Family reunion visa processing time and fees.

Who can bring their family members to the UK under the Family Reunion policy

Under the Family Reunion visa UK requirements, you can bring your immediate family members to live with you in the UK if you have been granted refugee status or humanitarian protection in the UK. As a person bringing your family members to the UK, you will be their “sponsor”. The Refugee Family Reunion policy states that a suitable sponsor is one who is a) lawfully resident in the UK, b) has not yet gained British citizenship, and c) is in one of the following immigration categories:

  • refugee status
  • humanitarian protection status (this must have been held for at least 5 years)
  • admitted under the Gateway Protection Programme
  • admitted under the Mandate Refugee Programme
  • admitted under the Syrian Vulnerable Person Resettlement (VPR) scheme

While you cannot sponsor a family member to come to the UK under the Refugee Family Reunion scheme if you have already gained British citizenship, you can sponsor them if you have Indefinite Leave to Remain.

Those who have been admitted to the UK under the Gateway, Mandate, or Syrian VPR schemes will normally be expected to have declared their dependant family members (i.e. partner and children) on their original resettlement application. If this was not done at the time, they need to provide a “reasonable explanation” why they were not included. The guidance of an experienced immigration Solicitor can be invaluable in providing a “reasonable explanation” that satisfies the requirements of the Home Office.

You will not be able to sponsor your family members to come to the UK under the Refugee Family Reunion scheme if your asylum application is still being considered or if you are under 18.

If you are unsure if you are eligible to sponsor a family member to join you in the UK, our immigration solicitors can help you. We understand the Refugee Family Reunion scheme rules, the eligibility criteria and will be able to recommend the best route to meet your family’s needs. Speak to our immigration lawyers for a free telephone consultation on 020 3744 2797 or by email at info@reissedwards.co.uk.

Who can you bring to the UK, and what are the requirements?

Under the Family Reunion visa UK requirements, only immediate dependent family members of a UK based sponsor can come to the UK, including the sponsor’s dependent:

  • spouse or civil partner
  • unmarried or same-sex partner
  • child
  • adopted children

Spouse or civil partner

According to the immigration rules, the spouse or civil partner of an eligible sponsor can apply under the Refugee Family Reunion scheme, where they can provide strong evidence that they:

  • have a valid marriage or civil partnership
  • have met
  • are in a genuine relationship
  • intend to live together permanently
  • are still together

The Home Office will check that the marriage or civil partnership is genuine and not a “sham” for the purposes of gaining entry and permission to stay in the UK. Allowances may be made by the Home Office where the applicant and their sponsor have been unable to communicate regularly where they have spent a long time in refugee camps.

Unmarried or same-sex partner

To meet the criteria as an unmarried or same-sex partner of a UK based sponsor, the applicant must be able to show that they:

  • have met the sponsor
  • have lived with the sponsor in a relationship that is like marriage or been in a civil partnership of at least 2 years
  • are in a genuine relationship
  • intend to live together permanently
  • are still together

Dependant child / adopted child

According to the rules for the Family Reunion visa UK for parents, the sponsor must be the parent of the child, the child must be under 18 when the application is submitted, and they must not be living an independent life (e.g. married). For an adopted child to be eligible, the sponsor must have a valid adoption order granted by an administrative authority in the third country or by a court with suitable legal powers.

To check if you are eligible to apply for the Refugee Family Reunion scheme, speak to our immigration lawyers for a free telephone consultation on 020 3744 2797 or by email at info@reissedwards.co.uk.

How to apply for family reunion

The application process for the Refugee Family Reunion scheme differs depending on whether the applicant is based outside the UK or inside the UK, as follows:

Apply for a family reunion visa outside the UK

For those outside the UK, applications to join family members in the UK under the Refugee Family Reunion scheme are made online; the steps to complete are as follows:

  1. Complete the family reunion online application form1
  2. Complete application form VAF4A2
  3. Complete Appendix 43
  4. Upload any documents required to support the application
  5. Book a biometric appointment at a local visa application centre (to have a photo taken and fingerprints scanned)
  6. Attend the biometric appointment

Apply for a family reunion visa in the UK

For those already in the UK, applications to join family members in the UK under the Refugee Family Reunion scheme are completed in writing. The steps to complete are as follows:

  1. Apply by letter to: UKVI Family Reunion Team, Admin Team, 7th Floor, Capital Building, Liverpool, L3 9PP
  2. Submit any documents required to support the application
  3. Book a biometric appointment at a local UKVCAS (to have a photo taken and fingerprints scanned)
  4. Attend the biometric appointment.

Family Reunion Visa required documents:

As part of your application to the Refugee Family Reunion scheme, you will be asked to provide several documents and items of evidence; these may include:

  • Passport or national identity card
  • Marriage certificates
  • Birth certificate
  • Adoption certificate
  • Details of the sponsor, including their name, date of birth, nationality, and Home Office reference number
  • A statement from the sponsor explaining the circumstances that led to the applicant being left behind and details of any recent contact between the sponsor and applicant
  • TB certificate (depends on which country you are applying from)

It is essential to provide sufficient evidence to support your application to the Refugee Family Reunion scheme to avoid refusals. Speak to our immigration lawyers for a free telephone consultation on 020 3744 2797 or by email at info@reissedwards.co.uk.

How long does it take for a UK Family Reunion visa?

The standard UK Family Reunion visa processing time is 12 weeks. To reduce the processing time for your application, it is important to ensure that all of the information and documents requested by the Home Office are submitted as early as possible.

Family reunion visa fee UK

The family reunion visa application fees are as follows:

Visa type

Visa application fee (£)

Partner of someone in the UK with refugee leave or with humanitarian protection (family reunion scheme)

Free of charge

Child of someone in the UK with refugee leave or with humanitarian protection (family reunion scheme)

Free of charge

Other family members of someone in the UK with refugee leave or with humanitarian protection

£388

Child of a relative (who is not your parent) with limited leave to enter or remain in the UK as a refugee or humanitarian protection

£388

What happens after applying for a family reunion visa UK?

If your Refugee Family Reunion UK application is successful, you will typically receive an entry clearance visa for 30 days to enter the UK. If you are not able to enter the UK within the 30-day period, you may be able to defer the 30-day start date by up to 3 months. Once in the UK, you will have 10 days to collect your Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) from a post office (your BRP proves your right to stay in the UK). You will be able to stay in the UK for as long as your sponsor is permitted to stay in the UK.

On what grounds can a family reunion visa UK be refused?

Refugee Family Reunion UK applications may be refused for several reasons, including where:

  • the Home Office is not satisfied that the relationship between the applicant and the sponsor is genuine
  • the applicant has not provided all of the information and documents with their application
  • the applicant has a criminal record
  • the UK based person does not meet the criteria to sponsor a person through the Refugee Family Reunion scheme

If you have received a refusal of your Refugee Family Reunion application, it is important to engage the services of an immigration solicitor who can recommend the best course of action and resolve the matter as quickly as possible. Speak to our immigration lawyers for a free telephone consultation on 020 3744 2797 or by email at info@reissedwards.co.uk.

References

1 GOV.UK: Family reunion online application form

2 GOV.UK: Application form VAF4A

3 GOV.UK: Appendix 4

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