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UK Parent Visa Application Guidance

The UK Parent Visa allows overseas nationals to come to the UK to live with their British or settled child. It is also possible to apply if you are currently in the UK and your child has been living in the UK for 7 or more years, and it would not be reasonable for them to leave the country.

Foreign parents of a British child or a child settled in the UK will often choose to apply for a UK Partner Visa to join their partner and child here. The UK Parent Visa is used by parents who are not eligible for a UK Partner visa if they are divorced or a single parent.

In this article, we will discuss the Parent Visa UK eligibility requirements, how to apply for a UK Parent Visa, whether you can bring other dependants, and whether it is possible to extend a Parent Visa for the UK.

UK Parent Visa requirements

To qualify for a UK Parent Visa, you will need to prove that you:

  • Are 18 years or over
  • Have a child under the age of 18 (when you apply) living in the UK who is settled in the UK or has British citizenship
  • Have joint parental responsibility or sole parental responsibility for your UK-based child
  • Not be in a relationship with your child’s other parent
  • Will take an active role in your child’s upbringing
  • Have sufficient funds to support yourself and your child
  • Have suitable accommodation for you and your dependants
  • Meet the English language requirements

Relationship and parental responsibility requirements

The Parents Visa UK guidance states that applicants must have sole or shared parental responsibility. Where applicants have shared parental responsibility, the child’s other parent must not be the applicant’s partner. Applicants also need to show they are taking an active role in their child’s upbringing and will continue to do so once in the UK.

Evidence that you meet the relationship and parental responsibility requirements may include:

  • Your child’s birth certificate.
  • Court documents showing you have parental responsibility or sole responsibility for your child.
  • Proof that you are caring for your child – this may be in the form of a letter from their school or doctor or a court that is less than 4 years old.

Child immigration status

Your child must be a British or Irish citizen, have settled in the UK (i.e., hold indefinite leave to remain, or EU Settled status), or have Pre-Settled under the EU Settlement Scheme and have started living in the UK by the end of 2020. Evidence of your child’s immigration status can be provided in the form of their British passport or a letter confirming their permanent residence status from the Home Office.

Financial requirement

There is no minimum income requirement for a UK Parent visa. However, you will need to show that you have enough funds to support yourself and your child without recourse to public funds. It is important to note that the Home Office does not specify a certain amount of money that you must have because they consider each application on a case-by-case basis.

Accommodation requirement

You will need to provide details of your UK accommodation to show that there is sufficient and suitable space for the exclusive use of your family. It must also not contravene public health standards and not be overcrowded. Evidence to satisfy this requirement may include:

  • A tenancy agreement or documents showing ownership (e.g., mortgage documents).
  • Details of the number of rooms available and suitable for sleeping (i.e., not bathrooms or kitchens, etc.).
  • Details of who will be living in the property.

English language requirement

Applicants under the age of 65 must provide evidence that they meet the English language requirement, either by:

  • Being from an eligible English-speaking country.
  • Passing an English language test in speaking and listening at CEFR level A1 or above.
  • Showing they have an academic qualification taught in English which is equivalent to a UK Bachelor’s or Master’s degree or Ph.D.

Exceptional Circumstances

In exceptional circumstances, the Home Office may still grant a UK Parent visa to a person who does not meet all the eligibility requirements; this may include where:

  • The child is a British or Irish citizen, or they have been living in the UK for 7 or more years.
  • It can be shown that it would be unreasonable for the child to leave the UK (e.g., where the child has no ties and would have substantial problems integrating into another country).

If you believe there are exceptional circumstances that mean you may be eligible for a UK Parent Visa, please call us at 020 3744 2797 or email for a free consultation.

How to apply for a parent visa in UK

To apply for a parent of a British child visa UK, you will need to complete the following steps:

  1. Complete and submit the online parent of a child visa UK application form – the form you need to use depends on whether you are outside the UK1 or inside the UK2.
  2. If you are applying from outside the UK, you will also need to complete and submit Appendix 5 (form VAF4A3 family settlement as a parent of a child in the UK).
  3. Pay the required application fee of £1,538 if you are outside the UK or £1,048 if you are inside the UK.
  4. Pay the immigration surcharge:
    • £1,560 if staying for 2 years and 6 months (plus £1,175 for each dependant child joining you)
    • £1,872 if staying for 2 years and 9 months (plus £1,410 for each dependant child joining you).
    • £3,120 if staying for 5 years (plus £2,350 for each dependant child joining you).
  5. Book and attend an appointment at a UKVCAS office (if you are inside the UK) or visa application centre (VAC) (if you are outside the UK). This is to prove your identity and provide your biometrics (a photo and a scan of your fingerprints).
  6. Submit any documents required by the Home Office.

You can normally expect a decision within 24 weeks if you are outside the UK or within 8 weeks if you are in the UK. It may also be possible to pay an additional fee of £800 to use the super priority service (for a decision by the end of the next working day) or £500 for the priority service (for a decision within 5 working days).

UK parent visa dependants

If you have other dependant children who will be coming with you to the UK, you can include them in your UK Parent visa application. To do so, they must be:

  • under 18 (when you apply) or
  • under the age of 18 when they first received a UK family visa and be dependant on you (i.e., they are not married and are financially dependant on you).

Extend a UK parent of a British child visa

Parent visas are normally granted for an initial period of 33 months. If you wish to stay longer, you will need to apply to extend your stay. If you are granted an extension, this is typically granted for 30 months. After 5 years of continuous residence in the UK, you will be eligible to apply to settle permanently, also referred to as ‘indefinite leave to remain’.


1 GOV.UK: Application from outside the UK

2 GOV.UK: Application from inside the UK

3 GOV.UK: Form VAF4A

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