You may apply for a UK Parent Visa if you have a child who is British or settled in the United Kingdom.
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 years at the date of application, or over 18 but have not formed an independent family unit or lead an independent life
- Be a British Citizen, or have Indefinite Leave to Remain (Permanent Residence), or have lived in the UK continuously for at least 7 years
You, the parent applicant, must fulfil:
- Relationship requirements
- Immigration status requirements
- Financial requirements
- English language requirement
1. Relationship requirement
The relationship requirement 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.
What does ‘sole parental responsibility’ mean?
- Where the other parent has abandoned their parental responsibility, and you have sole control in the daily and important decisions for the child’s care.
- Mere or substantial financial support in the child’s raising in itself is insufficient.
- Provided that you retain the overall responsibility for the child, you are allowed to share some responsibilities with others who are not parents, such as friends or relatives.
Note that sole parental responsibility is different from legal custody.
How can you show 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 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:
- A British Citizen in the UK or settled in the UK; and
- Not your partner (including a person who has been in a relationship for less than 2 years with you prior to application date); and
- You are not eligible to apply for leave to remain as a partner under the 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.
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 are 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.
2. 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, or
- With less than 6 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 6 months before the application date, or
- Breaching immigration laws
3. Financial requirement
You must show that you will be able to adequately maintain and accommodate yourself and any dependents in the UK, without needing public funds.
Adequate accommodation is neither overcrowded nor contravening public health regulations.
4. English language requirement
You must show that you:
- Are a national of a majority English speaking country; or
- Have passed the relevant English language test; or
- Have an academic qualification recognized by UK ENIC; or
- Are exempt from the English language requirement due to:
- being aged 65 or over; or
- having a disability preventing you from meeting the requirement; or
- other exceptional circumstances.
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 in either:
- You have a genuine and subsisting relationship with the child, and
- It would be unreasonable to expect the child to leave the UK
- You have a genuine and subsisting relationship with a partner (who is in the UK and is a British Citizen, settled in the UK, or is in the UK with refugee leave or humanitarian protection) and
- There are insurmountable obstacles* to family life with that partner continuing outside the UK
* ‘Insurmountable obstacles’ is a high threshold where you need to show very significant difficulties which could not be overcome or would lead to very serious hardship for you and your family.
We have successfully argued that Exceptional Circumstances apply in our clients’ cases with complicated issues. We 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.
What happens after the parent visa application is successful?
You would normally be granted leave for 30 months. You may qualify for Indefinite Leave to Remain (settlement) after completing 60 months (5 years) or 120 months (10 years) in the UK under this Parent route.
Can I switch my leave to remain under the 10-year route into the 5-year route?
Yes, we have done so successfully for our clients. This is provided that your circumstances have improved, and you can now meet all the eligibility and suitability requirements.
How do I apply for a Parent Visa?
All applications must be made online via the official UK Visas & Immigration government website here.
You would pay the application fee and schedule an appointment to submit your biometrics as part of the process.
How much is the parent visa application fee?
The fee will depend on how you apply. If you are a parent looking to join your child, the parent visa application fee is £1,033 when applying in the UK and £1,523 when applying outside the UK. You can find more information on the government website.