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Family Visas in the UK Unite with Your Dearest

If you’re seeking to reside in the UK based on a family relationship, you’ll need to apply for a specific type of UK family visa. This comprehensive guide explores the various options available for both adults and children.

Is There a UK Family Visa?

When applying for permission to come to or stay in the UK as a foreign national related to someone already residing in the UK or planning to work or study in the UK, there isn’t a dedicated family visa covering all possible familial scenarios.

However, the UK’s Immigration Rules offer different types of family visas for adults, including those for partners, parents, and adult dependent relatives, as well as dependant visas under the UK’s sponsored immigration routes.

UK Family Visas for Adult Applicants

visa application for adults

 

For adults, family visas may be applied for on the basis of family life as a spouse, civil partner, fiancé(e) or proposed civil partner, parent of a child, or a dependent relative of a British citizen or someone settled in the UK. The eligibility requirements and allowances of each visa depend on the nature of your relationship with your UK sponsor.

UK Partner Visa

To apply as a spouse or partner, both you and your UK sponsor must be over 18, have a genuine and subsisting relationship, and intend to live together permanently in the UK upon successful visa approval. Your spouse/partner must also meet certain criteria, such as being a British or Irish citizen, having settled status in the UK, or having pre-settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme.

Applying as a partner includes marriages, civil partnerships, or unmarried partnerships of 2 or more years. Financial and English language requirements must also be met, with the financial threshold increasing from £18,600 to £29,000 (and further to £38,700 by early 2025) for applications submitted after 11 April 2024. Additional financial requirements apply if applying with dependent children.

The English language requirement can be satisfied by being a national of a majority English-speaking country or having an equivalent English-taught academic qualification. Alternatively, passing an English language test with an approved provider is required.

If all requirements are met, you’ll be granted a spouse/partner visa for a specific period, with the option to extend and apply for indefinite leave to remain for permanent settlement in the UK.

UK Fiancé(e) Visa

passport for fiance

To apply for a fiancé(e) or proposed civil partner visa, you need to meet similar requirements as spouse/partner visas. However, you must marry or enter into a civil partnership in the UK within six months, which is the maximum period for visa approval in this category.

If you and your fiancé(e) or proposed civil partner have lived together outside the UK for at least two years, it might be more suitable to provide evidence of cohabitation for a family visa. This option grants you an unmarried partner visa for 2 years and 9 months, allowing you to work in the UK without the need for another visa application after marriage or civil partnership.

UK Parent Visa

To apply as a parent of a child residing in the UK, your child must be under 18 and not leading an independent life, such as being married or having children. Additionally, your child must be a British/Irish citizen, settled in the UK, or, if applying for leave to remain, must have lived continuously in the UK for at least 7 years before applying, with it being unreasonable for them to leave.

You must demonstrate parental responsibility for the child and actively participate in their upbringing. The application requires proof of your ability to adequately support and accommodate both yourself and your child, along with proficiency in English communication.

If successful, the visa allows you to stay in the UK for 2 years and 9 months when applying from overseas, or 2 years and 6 months when applying from within the UK. Extension and eligibility for settlement may be possible after a specified period of residence. It’s essential to note that if you are eligible to apply as a partner, you must choose that basis instead of applying as a parent to care for your child.

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