Family Visas

Non-European nationals may be able to apply to come to the UK as the dependent child or adult dependent relative of a British citizen or person with settled status, refugee leave or humanitarian protection. Settled status means having been given permission to settle in the UK permanently, also known as Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR). The parent of a child or family member of a migrant worker already here may also be eligible to apply for a visa.

DEPENDENT CHILD VISAS – the dependent child of a British citizen or a person with settled status can apply for permission to enter and/or remain in the UK temporarily or permanently. To qualify the UK Border Agency must be satisfied that the child is under 18, not leading an independent life, not married or in a civil partnership and has not formed an independent family unit. There are several additional requirements, with more for adopted children.

If the parent of the dependent child applies to enter or remain in the UK as a partner or parent, they must meet a financial requirement. In all other cases the parent will need to show they can accommodate the child without help from public funds. In some cases, depending on the status of the parent(s) settlement, the child may need to apply as a points-based system (PBS) dependent.

ADULT DEPENDENT VISAS – as the parent, grandparent, sibling or child over the age of 18 of a British citizen or a person with settled status in the UK, you can only apply for permission to come here in exceptional circumstances, ie; where you need long-term personal care that your UK sponsor can provide. The application must be made from outside the UK and a visa obtained before travelling.

THE PARENT OF A CHILD IN THE UK – as the parent of a child who is a British citizen or settled in the UK, you can apply for permission to enter or stay here. You will need to show that you have sole responsibility for the child, or at the very least access rights. You must also show that you can maintain yourself without relying on public funds, together with suitability and English language requirements. If you meet all the requirements you will be given temporary permission to remain in the UK for 30 months. You will be eligible to stay for a further 30 months if you continue to meet the requirements and after 5 years you can apply for ILR (Indefinite Leave to Remain).

If you are outside the UK you must obtain your visa before travelling. If you are already in the UK you will be eligible so long as you are not on a visitor visa or on temporary admission, permission to stay was not given for a period of less than 6 months (unless as a fiancé(e) or proposed civil partner) and you are not in breach of the Immigration Rules (overstaying for less than 28 days will not be taken into account).

FAMILY MEMBERS OF MIGRANT WORKERS – as the partner or dependent child (under 18) of a migrant who is in or coming to the UK under most categories of the points-based system, you can apply for a visa to join them here as a PBS dependent. You will need to show that you intend to live with the migrant worker, your relationship is genuine, or for children, you have not formed an independent family unit or leading an independent life. The migrant worker will also need to prove that they can support you without relying on public funds.

Family visa applications can be complex and using the services of an immigration expert is highly recommended. If you’re unsure whether applying for a family visa is the right route to take, you can check using our Visa Wizard.


Frequently Asked Questions – Family Visas

I am here under the PBS (Points Based System), can my family members join me?

Yes, generally your family members will be able to join you if you are in the UK on a visa under the Points Based System. For further information, you may want to take a look at Spouse/Partner visas, as well as Dependent visas, or speak to one of our immigration experts.

I have been refused a family settlement visa – can I appeal?

As the law currently stands, you will be able to appeal in the event that your visa is refused, however, the law is set to change in 2014 with the release of the Immigration Act 2014. This new Act of Parliament with regards to immigration is set to take away the right to appeal against visa decisions so it is now imperative that you get your initial application right in the first instance. In the event that your application is refused, there may be other options even after the Immigration Act 2014 takes effect so speak to an immigration lawyer to get the best and most up to date advice. The law at the present time in respect of visit visas does not allow for a full right of appeal. You can only appeal such visas on very restricted grounds. If you have been refused a family visit visa it is advisable to speak to one our experts to advise on your options.

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