QC Immigration has vast experience helping countless families reunite through visa routes such as the Parent Visa. No matter which country you are applying from, our expert immigration lawyers in London will provide you with a professional service that clearly outlines which documents you need to apply for this visa route.

This will save you time and give you the best chances to be granted a Parent Visa. If you would like to discuss this with a member of our team, please get in touch.

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You may apply for a UK Parent Visa if you have a child who is British or settled in the United Kingdom. If granted this visa, this may allow you to join your family to stay in the UK.

Please note that if you are eligible for a Partner Visa such as a Spouse Visa or Civil Partner Visa, you must apply under that route instead. Time spent in the UK under a Parent Visa does count towards continuous residence, so if you are looking to obtain Indefinite Leave to Remain, that is something you should consider.

uk parent visa eligibility

Parent Visa Eligibility & Suitability Requirements

In order to be eligible for a Parent Visa, the following requirements must be met.

Your child must:

  • Be under the age of 18 at the date of application; or over 18 but have not formed an independent family unit or led an independent life (i.e. leaving home, getting married, having children); if they were under 18 when the parent was initially granted entry clearance or leave to remain and now extending the Parent Visa
  • Be a British Citizen, have Indefinite Leave to Remain or Pre-settled Status, or have lived in the UK continuously for at least seven years

You, the parent applicant, must fulfil:

  1. Relationship requirements
  2. Immigration status requirements
  3. Financial requirements
  4. English language requirements
  5. Suitability requirements

Parent Visa relationship requirement

The relationship requirement for the Parent Visa means that as the applicant, you have sole parental responsibility for the child, or the child normally lives with you and not their other parent. You may also be eligible if the child lives with the other parent or carer with whom you are not in a relationship, and they have granted you direct access to the child.

What does “sole parental responsibility” mean?

Sole parental responsibility means that the other parent has abandoned their parental responsibility, and you have sole control in the daily and important decisions for the child’s care. In this case, mere or substantial financial support in the child’s raising may be insufficient.

Provided that you retain the overall responsibility for the child, you are allowed to share some responsibility with others who are not your partner. If you share parental responsibility, the child’s other parent must not be your partner.

Please note that sole parental responsibility is different from legal custody.

Showing sole parental responsibility

To showcase sole parental responsibility, you will need to provide evidence that you have been making all important decisions in the child’s life without the input of the other parent in key areas such as education, health, medical treatment, holidays, recreation etc.

You must also not be eligible to apply for Partner Visa under Appendix FM.

For these reasons, the UK Parent Visa is not for parents with a genuine and subsisting relationship together. Such applicants should consider the Partner route instead, either with a Spouse Visa or an Unmarried Partner Visa.

What does ‘direct access’ mean?

In-person/direct contact between you and the child, showing that you are taking, and will continue to take, an active and continuing role in the child’s upbringing.

You will need to show that you have direct access to the child, as agreed with the parent/carer which the child normally lives with, whereby such parent/carer is:

  1. A British Citizen in the UK or settled in the UK
  2. Not your partner (including a person who has been in a relationship for less than two years with you prior to the application date)

In order to show direct access, you will need to provide evidence of the following:

  • A residence order or contact order granted by a court in the UK
  • A letter or affidavit from the UK-resident parent or carer of the child
  • Evidence from a contact centre showing contact arrangements

Indirect contact, such as letters or telephone calls, is insufficient.

What does ‘taking an active role’ in the child’s upbringing mean?

Showing efforts to make care arrangements for the child in the present and future, such as residential arrangements, etc.

Immigration status requirement

You may apply from abroad or in the UK. If you are applying in the UK, you must not be in the UK as a visitor, with less than six months leave (unless such leave was granted for family court or divorce proceedings), or on immigration bail (unless you arrived in the UK more than six months before the application date). You also cannot breach immigration laws.

Financial requirement

You must show that you will be able to adequately maintain and accommodate yourself and any dependants in the UK without needing public funds.

Adequate accommodation must neither be overcrowded nor contravene public health regulations. Adequate means ‘after income tax, National Insurance contributions and housing costs have been deducted, there must be available to the family the level of income that would be available to them if the family was in receipt of Income Support.’

English language requirement

To prove that you have good knowledge of the English language, you must fulfil at least one of the following criteria:

  1. You are a national of a majority English speaking country
  2. You have passed the relevant English language test
  3. You have a UK academic qualification that is of degree level or above or an equivalent international qualification that is recognised by UK ENIC

There are circumstances where you may be exempt from the English language requirement. This is the case if you are 65 or over, or have a disability preventing you from meeting the requirements, for example.

Exceptional circumstances for a Parent Visa (10 years route)

If you are unable to meet any eligibility or suitability requirements to be granted a Parent Visa under the 5-year route, you may be considered for the 10-year route if paragraph EX.1. of Appendix FM applies in your case.

Exceptions under EX.1. applies when:

  1. You have a genuine and subsisting relationship with the child
  2. It would be unreasonable to expect the child to leave the UK

If you are looking to apply for a Parent Visa, QC Immigration can help. We have successfully argued that Exceptional Circumstances applied in our clients’ cases with complicated issues. We have demonstrated that refusal for leave to enter/remain would breach Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights, leading to unjustifiably harsh consequences which are not in the best interest of the child, our client, and their families.

No matter your circumstances, we know what the Home Office is looking for and will help you build a compelling case that clearly showcases why you are eligible for a Parent Visa. If you would like to discuss this further, please get in touch with one of our London-based immigration lawyers.


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