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UK Family Visas

UK Family Visas enable eligible foreign nationals to join their family members in the UK for an extended period of 6 months or more.

Contact our immigration lawyers for a free telephone consultation on 020 3744 2797 or complete our enquiry form to discuss bringing your family to the UK.

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UK Family Visa allows you to bring family members (eligible foreign nationals) to join you in the UK for an extended period of 6 months or more. You can bring your spouse or partner, fiance or proposed civil partner, child, parent, or a relative to who you will provide long-term care. For those who wish to come to the UK for a shorter period of up to 6 months, please consider applying for a Standard Visitor visa.

To bring a family member to the UK on a family visa, you must hold a valid immigration status, i.e., a visa that allows dependant family members to come to the UK. You need be a UK or Irish citizen, or have settled in the UK (ILR or Settled Status), or have refugee status or humanitarian protection.

There is a range of UK visas under the family visa route, including:

Family visa requirements UK

There are several family visa requirements that must be met by the UK-based family member (i.e., sponsor) and the family member coming to the UK. The exact rules you and your family member will need to meet will depend on the visa you are applying for.

The sponsor must meet below requirements:

  • Hold a valid UK visa that allows dependants to join you – e.g. work visa, study visa, or business visa. Some visas, such as the Youth Mobility Scheme visa, do not allow dependants to come to the UK, and they must apply separately to do so, or
  • Be a UK or Irish national, or
  • Have settled in the UK (e.g. they have ILR or settled status), or
  • Be an EU national or a person from Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, or Liechtenstein and hold pre-settled status (the rules state that you must have started living in the UK prior to 1st January 2021)
  • Have a Turkish Businessperson visa or Turkish Worker visa, or
  • Have refugee status, or
  • Have humanitarian protection in the UK

The family member applying for UK family visa must meet below requirements:

  • Be your spouse or partner, fiancé, fiancée or proposed civil partner, child, parent, or a relative to who you will provide long-term care (see below for more details on each of these categories)
  • Be dependant on you if applying as your child – this means that they:
    • do not live an independent life
    • are not married
    • live with you (except if they will be attending university or boarding school)
  • Be able to financially support themselves and their dependants in the UK (this does not apply to children)
  • Have sufficient knowledge of the English language, and
  • Not have a criminal record or pose a threat to UK security.

A family immigration solicitor can assess your eligibility for a family visa and provide all of the information you need to know, including the documents you will need to submit, the UK family visa processing time, and the family visa UK fees.

UK spouse visa / partner visa

The UK spouse visa / partner visa under the Family Visa UK scheme enables an eligible person to join their partner in the UK and allows them to live, work and study here. Applicants must be:

  • in a civil partnership or marriage with their UK-based partner, or
  • have been living with their UK-based partner in a relationship for at least 2 years

The applicant and their UK-based partner must also show they earn at least £18,600 per year, plus £3,800 a year for their first child and £2,400 a year for each child they have after their first child. Applicants must also speak English to level A1 on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) scale.

Spouse / partner visa holders can stay for up to 2 years and 9 months. This can then be further extended for 2 years and 6 months. At this point, it is then possible to apply for indefinite leave to remain (ILR).

Fiance visa

The fiancé visa allows a fiance, fiancee, or proposed civil partner of an eligible person based in the UK to come here for up to 6 months to get married or enter into a civil partnership. The English language and financial requirements outlined above for the spouse/partner visa must also be met.

Once you are married or in a civil partnership with your UK-based partner, you can then apply for a full UK Partner and Spouse visa. As a Partner and Spouse visa holder, you will be able to stay for up to 2 years and 9 months and then extend your visa for an additional 2 years and 6 months. At this point, it is then possible to apply for indefinite leave to remain (ILR).

Parent visa

Parent visas under the Family visa scheme enable a parent to join and care for their child in the UK and live, work and study here.

To apply for a parent visa, the child must be under 18 years or have been under 18 years when their parent was first granted leave and not live an independent life.

The child must be living in the UK and be:

  • a British or Irish national
  • have settled in the UK
  • have pre-settled status under the EU settlement scheme
  • or have lived in the UK for 7 years continuously, and it would not be reasonable for them to leave

In addition, applicants must have sole or shared parental responsibility for their child.

Child visas are normally granted in line with their parent’s leave. Child visas can also be extended and can be used to gain settlement (ILR).

Parent visa holders can stay for up to 2 years and 9 months, and this can then be further extended for 2 years and 6 months. After 5 years, it is then possible to apply for indefinite leave to remain (ILR).

Child visa

Child visas under the Family visa scheme allow a child to join their parent in the UK. It is important to note that children may not require a family visa if they have at least one parent with UK ILR. In this case, it may be possible to apply immediately for ILR.

The requirements for a child visa depend on whether the child was born in the UK or not. If the child was born in the UK and under 18, they can be added to their parent’s next visa application as a dependant family member, or they can apply separately. If the child was born in the UK and is over 18, they can be added to their parent’s application as long as they are dependant on their UK-based parent.

Applicants born outside the UK must prove they are dependant on their UK-based parent/s and not married or in a civil partnership.

Child visas are normally granted in line with their parent’s leave. Child visas can also be extended and can be used to gain settlement (ILR).

Adult dependant relative visa

The adult dependant relative visa enables overseas relatives to come to the UK to receive long-term care from a parent, grandchild, brother, sister, son, or daughter living permanently in the UK.

Adult dependant relative applicants must be able to show:

  • They are 18 years or older
  • They require long-term care to carry out day-to-day personal and household tasks as a result of illness, disability, or age
  • The care required is not available (or affordable) in their home country
  • The person that will care for them in the UK must be able to support and accommodate them without the need to claim public funds for at least 5 years.

Adult dependant relative visa holders can remain for an unlimited period once in the UK.

PBS dependant visa

PBS dependant visas enable the partner and children of those with an eligible visa to come to the UK. Eligible dependants include:

  • Married partner, civil partner, or unmarried partner (if unmarried, you must have been living with your partner in a relationship for at least 2 years)
  • Child under 18 (this includes children who were born in the UK)
  • Children over 18, if they are your dependant

If your child is 16 or over, they must:

  • live with you (unless they live away for full-time education at boarding school, college, or university)
  • not be married (or in a civil partnership)
  • not have children of their own
  • be financially reliant on you.

As a dependent visa holder, your family member will be able to stay as long as your visa is valid. If you extend your visa, your dependants will also be able to apply to extend their leave. Likewise, when you become eligible for ILR (i.e. settlement), they will be able to apply to settle, assuming they meet the eligibility requirements.

Ancestry Visa

The Ancestry visa enables eligible foreign nationals to live, work and study in the UK. Ancestry visa applicants must be one of the following:

  • a Commonwealth citizen
  • a British overseas citizen
  • a British overseas territories citizen
  • a British national (overseas), or
  • a citizen of Zimbabwe

They must also be able to show that one of their grandparents was born in the UK, the Channel Islands, or the Isle of Man.

Ancestry visa holders can stay for up to 5 years initially, at which point they can further extend their visa or apply for settlement (ILR).

Family Reunion visa

Under the Family Reunion visa scheme, 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 family members to the UK, you will be their “sponsor”. 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 to the UK under the Gateway Protection Programme
  • admitted to the UK under the Mandate Refugee Programme
  • admitted to the UK under the Syrian Vulnerable Person Resettlement (VPR)

Only immediate dependent family members of a UK-based sponsor are eligible for the Family Reunion visa, including the sponsor’s dependent:

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

As a Family Reunion visa holder, it is possible to extend your leave and apply for ILR when eligible.

EUSS Family Permit

The EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS) Family Permit scheme allows a person to come to the UK if they are a family member of someone from the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, or Liechtenstein. EUSS Family Permits ensure that holders can travel to the UK, gain entry once they arrive, and join their family members without the risk of refusal.

To make a successful EUSS Family Permit application, your family member must have been living in the UK by the end of 2020.

EUSS Family permit holders can stay in the UK for up to 6 months and can travel, study, and work during this time. If you wish to extend your stay, you will need to apply under the EU Settlement Scheme. If eligible under the EUSS, you will be granted pre-settled status, which will allow you to stay for up to 5 years and then gain full settled status (settlement).

If your family visa application is refused

A family member visa UK can be refused for a wide range of reasons, including if:

  • The Home Office is not satisfied that your relationship is genuine
  • The financial requirements have not been met
  • The UK-based sponsor does not have adequate accommodation
  • You have not provided all of the required information or documents
  • You are not eligible
  • You have unspent criminal convictions applicant has a criminal record

We understand that receiving a letter of refusal from the Home Office can be extremely worrying and upsetting. Our specialist family immigration solicitors can quickly assess the reasons for refusal and recommend the best course of action to secure a positive outcome. Depending on the circumstances, we may recommend submitting a fresh application, appealing, lodging an administrative review or judicial review, or applying for a different type of visa.

For advice on bringing your family to the UK and securing a UK visa for family members, please speak to our immigration lawyers for a free telephone consultation on 020 3744 2797 or by email at info@reissedwards.co.uk.

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