Family Settlement Visas

We regularly advise on family settlement 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.


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 requirements relating to:

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

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

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 granted to parents or children unless they are required so it is important to get full advice before you apply.

Adult Dependant 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 cared 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.


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.