Family Settlement Visas

We regularly advise on family settlement visa cases. This includes families trying to move to the UK together or children, parents, partners or adult dependants needing to move to the UK to join their families.

Family visas are an expensive visa to apply for and are rife with complicated rules and requirements. However, these visas generally grant the most rights and lead smoothly into Indefinite Leave to Remain after 5 years.

For further advice and information, get in touch with our family visa solicitors today by calling your local branch or by filling in our enquiry form.

What is a family visa?

If you are a non-EEA national, a family visa allows you to come to the UK to live with your:

  • Spouse, partner, or civil partner
  • Fiancé or proposed civil partner
  • Children
  • Parents
  • A relative who will care for you as an Adult Dependent Relative

How to apply for a family visa

There’s a number of pieces of evidence you must provide in order to get a family settlement visa, including:

  • Your full name and date of birth
  • Your passport
  • Information about any previous immigration applications
  • Details of any criminal convictions
  • Details of your parents’ nationalities and dates of birth
  • Proof of your finances
  • Proof of your English skills
  • Details of your relationship with your family member(s)

We can help you compile the necessary evidence and information for your family visa application to give you the best possible chance of succeeding.

Partners

If one partner in a relationship is British or settled in the UK, they can generally act as a ‘sponsor’ to bring their partner into the UK. The rules that apply differ between married partners (or civil partners), unmarried partners and fiancés but generally any applicant must show that they meet certain family settlement visa requirements relating to:

  • Relationship
  • Finances
  • Accommodation
  • Immigration Status
  • English Language skill

In addition to this, all applicants are assessed on their ‘suitability’ – i.e. their character and criminal record.

Partner or Spouse Visa Application

To obtain a family settlement visa to live with your spouse or civil partner for up to 2.5 years, you need to prove that:

  • Your partner is a British citizen, or they are settled in the UK
  • You are both over 18 years old
  • Your marriage or civil partnership is recognised in the UK
  • You can speak a good standard of English
  • You and your partner earn a combined income of at least £18,600 per year (this amount is higher if you have children – you’ll need to earn £3,800 more for your first child and £2,400 more for each additional child)

Fiancé Visa Application

To obtain a family settlement visa to live with your fiancé for up to 6 months, you need to prove that:

  • Your partner is a British citizen, or they are settled in the UK
  • You are both over 18 years old
  • You and your fiancé intend to marry or become civil partners within 6 months of coming to the UK
  • You are not currently married, and any previous marriages and civil partnerships have ended
  • You must be able to support yourself financially or your partner must be able to support you, but you are not allowed to work

Children & Parents

Although there is some overlap with the above, applications for children or parents coming to the UK can be quite complex. There will need to be a careful assessment of the independence of the relevant child in either type of case and also of the relationship dynamic between the parents. Generally, family visas will not be granted to parents or children unless they are required so it is important to get full advice before you apply.

Parent Visa Application

To obtain a parent visa to live in the UK with your child for up to 2.5 years, you must fulfil the following requirements:

  • Your child must be under 18 and not living an independent life (for example, if they are married and have children of their own)
  • Your child must be a British citizen, settled in the UK, or you have both been living in the UK for more than 7 continuous years and it would be unreasonable for the child to have to leave
  • You must have parental responsibility for your child
  • If you share parental responsibility, the other parent cannot be your partner and must be a British citizen or settled in the UK
  • You must have an active role in your child’s upbringing which will continue after you move to the UK.
  • You must have a good level of English
  • You must be able to support yourself and your child financially

Child Visa Application

If you are a child, the requirements for a family settlement visa depend on whether you were born in or outside the UK.

If you were born in the UK:

  • If you’re under 18 years old, you can stay with your parent in the UK if they have permission. They can either add you to their next visa application or apply separately
  • If you’re over 18 years old, you can only be added to your parent’s application as a dependent if you had permission to stay in the UK when you were under 18, you do not live independently, and you are applying from outside the UK

If you were born outside the UK:

  • If you are under 18 years old, you cannot be married or living independently, your parents must be able to financially support you, and one of your parents must also be making an application for a visa
  • If you are over 18 years old, you can be added to your parent’s application as a dependent or make an application yourself if you had permission to live in the UK when you were under 18 and you do not live independently

Adult Dependent Relatives

Often referred to as ‘ADR’s’, this category of family visa is notoriously difficult to obtain. Similar to the above, these visas are not often granted unless they are absolutely required. Detailed information will need to be provided about the current and proposed care arrangements for the relative and a very strong case will need to be put forward to argue that the relative needs to be in the UK in order to receive care from you.

To apply for an Adult Dependent Relative visa, your relative must be a British citizen, have settled status or Indefinite Leave to Remain, or have refugee status.

You must also fulfil the following requirements:

  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Prove you need long-term care due to age, disability, or illness
  • Show you cannot access the required care in your country
  • Prove your relative is able to support and care for you without claiming benefits

If your Adult Dependent Relative visa application is successful, you will likely be able to reside permanently in the UK without having to renew your visa.

Settlement

Family members who remain in the UK on these visas can generally apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain after 5 years (also known as Settlement). Being ‘Settled’ means that an individual can remain in the UK without being subject to a time limit. It also usually takes away any restrictions that may have been imposed on the previous visa.

For UK family visa advice, get in touch with our family settlement visa solicitors today

For further advice and information, contact our family visa solicitors by calling your local branch or by filling in our enquiry form.