Family visas is a term used to describe any visa which enables non-EEA nationals to join their family in the UK. Some of the visas which fall under the UK family visas category include spouse visa, unmarried partner visa, fiance visa / civil partner visa, and child and adult dependent visas.
The UK-resident family member acts as a sponsor of the family visa applicant. The UK resident will need to meet certain conditions in order to be eligible to sponsor their family member.
Each immigration permission within the family visa category has different conditions and requirements which the applicant must fulfil.
- What are the different types of family visas?
- UK family visa eligibility criteria
- Family visas for spouses and partners
- Adult dependent visas
- Child dependant visas
- Apply as a child of UK resident
- Apply as a parent of a UK child
- Family visitor visas
- Ancestry visa
- Can I join my family under the EEA Family Permit?
What are the different types of family visas?
The different visas/immigration permissions which fall under the UK family visas category include:
- Spouse Visa
- Fiance Visa
- Unmarried Partner Visa
- Ancestry Visa
- Dependent partner
- Dependent children
- Dependent adult relatives
- Family visitors
- EEA family members
Some of the immigration permissions, such as the spouse visa / civil partner visa, permits holders to stay in the UK long-term. However, some of these permissions are more temporary. For instance, you will only be able to stay in the UK for up to six months if you travel to the UK under a standard visitor visa as a family member of a UK resident.
The application process and fees depend on the specific nature of the UK family visa application. For example, it is common for dependent children to be added to the application of their parent, with no separate application needed.
UK family visa eligibility criteria
In order to be eligible for a UK family visa, one of the following must apply:
- You are the spouse/civil partner, partner, or close relative of a British citizen or person with settled status
- You are the fiancé of a British citizen or person with settled status
- You are the dependent spouse/civil partner, partner, or close relative of a person with UK entry clearance
- You are a Commonwealth citizen with a grandparent who was born in the UK
- You are the family member of a person who is living in the UK (family visitor visa route)
There is no specific set of requirements for UK family visas as each immigration permission within the category is different.
However, at its most basic level, the requirements involve the applicant providing evidence to demonstrate that their relationship to the UK-resident family member is genuine.
For example, if you are applying for a Spouse visa, you will need to include a marriage/civil partnership certificate which is recognised by UK law in your portfolio of evidence. You may also need to provide photographs, evidence of shared accommodation, and bank statements that demonstrate that you meet minimum financial thresholds.
Family visas for partners
Partner visas are for those who are in a long-term relationship with a UK citizen or person with settled status.
To be eligible for a UK family visa as a partner, one of the following must apply to you:
- You are the spouse/civil partner of a UK citizen or person with settled status
- You are in a long-term relationship with a UK citizen or person with settled status which is akin to marriage
- You are fiancé/proposed civil partner of a UK citizen or person with settled status
The main requirements which apply to all the UK partner visas are as follows:
- You are in a ‘genuine and subsisting’ relationship with your UK partner
- You have met your partner in person at least once
- You can demonstrate that you have a combined annual income of at least £18,600
- If you are applying as an unmarried partner, you need to prove that you have lived with your partner for at least two years in a relationship that is akin to marriage
Partner visa documentation and fees
It is important to note that each individual application is different which means that the specific documents which you will need to provide depend somewhat on your personal circumstances.
You need to demonstrate that you:
- Meet the genuine relationship requirement. This is the most fundamental requirement for UK partner visas. Some of the documents/evidence which you may need to provide includes transcripts from conversations, photographs, tickets from events you’ve attended together, and evidence of shared bank accounts and rental/housing agreements with both of your names on
- Meet the financial requirements. As mentioned, you must prove that you have a combined annual income of at least £18,600. Bank statements, job contracts or proof of turnover if you own a business can be used as evidence
- You plan to live together in the UK in suitable accommodation. If you wish to apply for a spouse visa, you need to provide evidence that shows that you have suitable accommodation to live in with your partner (and any dependents). A tenancy or mortgage agreement or a temporary accommodation booking are all suitable as evidence
The application fee for a partner visa is £1,464 if it is completed within the UK. The fee is £1,573 if the application is completed outside the UK.
Adult dependent visas
Adult dependent visas are generally only granted to people who require long-term, daily care from their UK-based relative. The applicant is only eligible if they cannot receive the care they need in their home country. An adult dependent can be an adult grandchild, child, parent or sibling.
The UK-resident who will be providing the care must be either a British citizen or person with settled status.
In order to be eligible, the following must apply to the applicant:
- Their inability to live an independent life must stem from a long-term disability or illness, or age
- They must be unable to carry out day-to-day tasks including household and personal care tasks without assistance
- They cannot receive the care they need in their home country because they either cannot afford it or the care is not available
The family member in the UK must be able to demonstrate that they can financially support their adult dependent relative and that they can provide the care which is needed.
If the application is approved, the adult-dependent will be permitted to live in the UK with permanent residence. This means that they can remain in the country indefinitely without any restrictions.
Adult Dependent Required Documents and Fees
The applicant (or the sponsor) must provide substantial evidence to demonstrate that there is a need for the person to receive long-term care from their UK-based family member.
Examples of some of the evidence which you will need to provide includes:
- Medical evidence which shows the applicant’s long-term medical condition, disability or illness. This evidence could be an official letter or note from a doctor or healthcare professional, prescription information, medical test results and proof of medical examinations
- Proof that the care which the applicant requires cannot be provided in their home country. If it is for financial reasons, proof of finances can demonstrate an inability to pay the finances. If the care cannot be provided because it is unavailable in the applicant’s home country, a letter from a local health authority or a doctor/healthcare professional is sufficient
- Documents which show that the UK family member can provide the care and financial support which the adult-dependent needs. Bank statements and payslips can be used for financial evidence. A letter that shows the British relative’s willingness to provide long-term care should also be included in the application
The cost for an adult-dependent visa application is currently £3,250.
Child dependent visas
Dependent children can be included in many long-term UK visa applications. Under these circumstances, the dependent child would accompany their parent to the UK on the basis of their parent having entry clearance. This means that in most cases, there isn’t a single application system for dependent children.
To be eligible, the child’s parent must have UK entry clearance. Some of the visa applications/immigration permissions which a child dependent can join their parent on include:
- Spouse Visa
- Fiance Visa
- Unmarried Partner Visa
- Innovator Visa (formerly Tier 1 Visa)
- Skilled Worker Visa (formerly Tier 2 Visa)
- Student Visa (formerly Tier 4 Visa)
- Temporary Worker Visa (formerly Tier 5 Visa)
The parent of the child must be able to demonstrate that they can financially support their dependent children in the UK.
The fees for dependent children are as follows:
- Partner Visas: £3,800 for your first child and £2,400 for each child you have after your first
- Innovator, Skilled Worker and Temporary Worker Visas (formerly Tier 1, Tier 2 and Tier 5 Visas): £630 for each dependent
- Student Visas (formerly Tier 4 visas): Depends on course length and where it is being studied
Bear in mind that this fee must be paid on top of the standard application fee.
Apply as a child of UK resident
You can also become a UK resident on the basis of at least one of your parents being a UK citizen or person with settled status.
If you were born in the UK, you will receive the same residency status as your parent through this route.
If you’re under 18 you could apply separately for your UK residency, or be added to your parent’s next immigration application.
If you’re over 18, your parent can include you in their application if:
- You got permission to stay in the UK on a Family Visa when you were under 18
- You do not live an independent life
- You are applying from within the UK
If you were born outside the UK, you may still be eligible for UK residency through this family reunification route.
If you are under 18 you must not be married/in a civil partnership or living an independent life. You must also be financially supported without the need to claim public funds.
If you are over 18, your parent can include you in their application as a dependent or you can apply separately yourself. You can only apply if you got permission to stay in the UK on a Family Visa when you were under 18 and you do not live an independent life.
To find out more about this family reunification route and whether you are eligible, please call our Manchester immigration lawyers now on 0161 826 9783.
UK family visa advice package
Our Manchester immigration lawyers are here to offer expert immigration legal advice. If you would like to speak with one of our immigration legal specialists about any of the UK family visas, our advice package could be just what you need.
We will pair you with one of our Manchester immigration lawyers who will assess your circumstances and advise you of the most optimal route you can take to apply to join your family in the UK. Our advice sessions can be conducted either in our Manchester office or remotely.
During your untimed session, you can ask any questions you might have around the family visa reunification route. Your immigration lawyer will provide you with all the information and advice you need, helping to put your mind at rest. Also, after the session, you can ask any further questions free of charge for up to seven days.
After the session, you will be sent written documents with details of the session and the advice which was given.
To find out more about our UK family visas advice package and how we can help you apply to join your family in the UK, please call us now on 0161 826 9783.
UK family visa application package
If you want to apply for one of the immigration permissions within the family visa category, our application package is a fantastic option to take advantage of.
We will pair you with one of our Manchester immigration lawyers who is experienced with UK family visa applications. They will take the time to understand your case and will oversee the entire family visa application process.
Your caseworker will advise you on the documents which you will need to include in your portfolio of evidence, as well as the correct administrative standards to which they must adhere. They will help you to source, gather and compile your required documentation. Once your portfolio of evidence has been prepared, your immigration lawyer will complete all necessary application forms and will write a letter of representation to support your case.
After your application has been submitted, we will liaise with the Home Office throughout the processing stage, keeping you updated on your application’s progress.
We are confident in saying that through hiring our services, you will maximise your chances of securing your visa and moving to the UK. Call our friendly Manchester immigration lawyers now on 0161 826 9783 to find out more about our UK family visa application package.
Apply as a parent of a UK child
You can apply to live in the UK to care for you child. In order to be eligible, your child must be living in the UK and they must be a British citizen or have settled status. If you are applying from within the UK, your child must have lived in the UK for seven years continuously.
Your child must be under 18, or was under 18 when they were first granted leave and do not currently live an independent life.
To apply through this immigration route, you will need to prove that you’re taking an active role in your child’s upbringing and that you either have sole parental responsibility or shared responsibility with the child’s other parent.
You could provide:
- Letters from your child’s doctor or dentist confirming that you take them to appointments
- Letters from your child’s school confirming you take them to parent evenings
- The child’s other parent confirming how much contact you have with the child
The child’s other parent must not be your partner and must not be a British citizen or person with settled status. You cannot apply for this immigration route if you are in a relationship with the child’s other parent. You could apply for a partner visa instead in this situation.
You must be able to demonstrate that you can financially support yourself, your child and any other dependents who will be living with you in the UK.
Family visitor visas
If you want to visit family members in the UK for a short period of time, you will need to apply for the standard visitor visa. This is a short-term immigration permission for up to 6 months. You can travel throughout the UK to visit family or friends within this six-month period.
However, you cannot extend the standard visitor visa unless there are exceptional circumstances which are preventing you from returning to your home country.
Family visitor visa holders cannot work or conduct any kind of business whilst they are in the UK.
You won’t be able to switch to a different visa category when your family visitor visa expires. You will need to leave the UK and apply for a different immigration permission if you wish to stay longer in the UK.
Some of the documents which you will need to submit to the Home Office as part of the application includes:
- Passport/valid travel document
- Proof that you will return to your home country. This could take the form of a mortgage, a job contract or a place on a course
- Financial documents which prove that you can support yourself financially whilst you are in the UK
The UK family visitor visa application costs £95.
Ancestry visas are for those who have/had a grandparent who was a British citizen by birth. The application fee is currently £516.
To be eligible for an ancestry visa, you need to be:
- A Commonwealth citizen
- At least 18-years-old
- Applying from abroad
- Able to prove your relationship to your UK grandparent is real
- Planning to work in the UK
Some of the documents which you will need to include in your ancestry visa application include:
- Your passport
- Birth certificates for yourself and the parent and grandparent which your claim is based on
- Bank statements that demonstrate that you have enough money to support yourself in the UK
The UK ancestry visa lasts for five years. When it expires, you can apply to extend your visa and stay in the UK for a further 5 years. Note that you must apply to extend it before your current visa expires. You may extend this visa as many times as you wish, as long as you continue to meet the eligibility requirements.
You will also be able to apply to settle in the UK permanently via Indefinite Leave to Remain if you’ve lived in the UK for 5 years on this visa.
There is also the British citizenship by descent route where you were born outside the UK and have a parent or grandparent who is or was British.
Can I Join my family under the EEA family permit?
If you are a non-EEA national and you have a family member who is from the EEA and is living in the UK, you might be able to join them. It is free to apply for the EEA Family Permit immigration permission.
To be eligible for this family reunification route, you must be a close or extended relative of an EEA national. This could be a partner, sibling, parent, child, uncle, aunt, cousin, nephew or niece. You will need to provide:
- Your passport
- Proof of your relationship to your UK-based EEA relative
- Proof you have enough money to financially support yourself in the UK
It is important to note that the EU Settlement Scheme will replace the EEA family permit once the United Kingdom exits fully from the European Union. The EU Settlement Scheme functions in a similar way. However, only close relatives (siblings, parents, and children) are eligible for this immigration permission.
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This depends on the immigration permission you have been granted with.
The following immigration permissions enable you to look for employment in the UK:
- Spouse visa
- Unmarried partner visa
- Ancestry visa
- As a dependent of someone with valid entry clearance
Can I bring my elderly parents to the UK permanently?
Your elderly parent/s can move to the UK on the basis of their relationship to you if they are in need of long-term care which only you can provide. This immigration permission is known as the adult-dependent visa.
There are stringent conditions that must be met in order to be eligible for this immigration permission. You need to prove that your parent/s cannot receive the care they need in their home country because it’s either unavailable or cannot be paid for.
If the application is approved, your parent can live in the UK without any restrictions imposed.
Call our friendly Manchester immigration lawyers now on 0161 826 9783 to find out how we can help you secure the future for your parent/s which they deserve.
The UK family visa processing time can vary greatly but is generally between one and three months.
The processing time might be longer if there is something especially complex about your case. For example, in some circumstances, you might be requested to provide further documentation to prove your eligibility.
A spouse visa is for those who are married/in a civil partnership with a UK citizen or person with settled status.
A dependent partner visa is for people who want to accompany their non-EEA partner to the UK. The non-EEA partner must have an entry clearance based on the points-based system, such as a Tier 1, Tier 2, Tier 4 or Tier 5 visa.
This depends on the situation of yourself and your partner.
If you are unable to live in your home country because of fear of being persecuted, you might be granted humanitarian protection/refugee status which will give you the right to live in the UK.
Persecution can come in the form of discrimination and violence, or the threat of violence, on the grounds of religion, race, political stance, gender or sexual orientation. In order to be eligible for this immigration route, you must be unable to seek protection from the government in your home country.
If your partner has been granted refugee status, you should be able to join them under the refugee family reunification route.