What is a UK Family Visa?
There is no single form of UK Family Visa, rather it refers to a number of different types of visa related to the family category. This includes people applying for Spouse, Fiancé, Unmarried Partner, Child or Adult Dependent Visas.
There are also routes available for people applying on the basis of UK ancestry. If you have a long-stay visa, you may also apply for permission to be joined by your family member or dependents, including child dependents. This can include some T1, T2, T4, or T5 visas.
In most cases, the UK-based family member will be the sponsor of the applicant. As well as eligibility criteria required by the family visa applicant, the UK family visa sponsor will also need to prove that they are an eligible sponsor.
Each family visa application is different and requires different forms of evidence to be submitted. The UK family visa application process can be time-consuming and costly.
If you wish to benefit from the support of a specialist immigration lawyer, contact our team of Newcastle immigration specialists today to help with your application. We are available to speak over the phone at 0191 303 8965 or via the online chat function.
Who can apply for a Family Visa UK?
Not everyone who wants to apply for this UK visa is eligible to be granted one. Some of the most common eligibility criteria for these UK family visas include:
- You are the legal spouse, civil partner, unmarried partner, fiancé, or close relative of a British citizen or person with settled status resident in the UK (including some forms of refugee status or humanitarian protection)
- You are the dependent spouse, civil partner, unmarried partner, or close relative of a British citizen or person with settled status resident in the UK
- You are a citizen of a Commonwealth country whose grandparent was born in the UK
In terms of the specific eligibility requirements for each UK Family visa category, it is dependent on the specific application that applies to your circumstances.
The Gov.uk website outlines the eligibility criteria for each visa category. As part of the family visa application, you will be required to submit evidence that highlights how you are suitable for the family visa.
How can Newcastle Immigration Lawyers help me?
Our team of Newcastle lawyers know how important UK visas applications are for people who wish to live in the UK, and that is why we are best placed to support you with your UK Family Visa application.
We know that the process can be complex, time-consuming, costly, and very important for you and your family life.
Working with you closely, we will be able to support you with all steps of the family visa application process. From an initial assessment of your family visa application, we will then provide an overview of your options so that you can make an informed decision.
Your dedicated lawyer will prepare a Letter of Representation showing how you fulfil the criteria of the UK family visa category that you are applying for.
Following this, we will help you with each aspect of your application, including giving you advice on the type of documents you will need to submit.
We will also liaise with the Home Office on your behalf while your family visa application is processing. We keep you fully aware of each step in the process so that you are kept up to date on all developments.
Adult dependents on a Family Visa
There is a route for eligible applicants to be granted a UK visa as an adult dependent of a British-based family member. The application must demonstrate that the individual is unable to live independently and is unable to receive adequate care in their home country.
It is possible for an adult grandchild, child, parent, or sibling to apply for this form of family visa. The sponsor must be a UK-based resident (citizen or person with settled status) who is able to provide care for the adult family member.
Adult Dependent Visa requirements
The criteria that applicants must meet include:
- They have a long-term disability or illness or are otherwise unable to live independently (for example, due to their age or level of ability)
- They are unable to complete daily tasks without assistance
- They are unable to receive care in their home country (due to inaccessibility or unaffordability)
It is the sponsor’s responsibility to show that they can support the applicant financially as well as the time required for their care. If this visa is granted, the adult may live permanently in the UK without restriction.
Adult Dependent Visa cost and processing times
As one of the most expensive visa categories, the application for an Adult Dependent Visa is £3,250.
It can take on average, 12 weeks for the Adult Dependent Visa application to be processed. For some applicants, the waiting time will be longer.
Adult Dependent Visa required documents
There are a number of documents required to complete this family visa application. Some of the following documents will be required:
- Evidence of the relationship between the applicant and the sponsor (e.g., birth certificates)
- Proof of the sponsor’s eligibility (e.g., passport or valid settled status documents)
- Independent medical evidence of the applicant’s physical or mental condition
- Proof that the applicant cannot receive adequate medical care in their home country
- Evidence of the sponsor’s ability to support the applicant financially and with the appropriate level of care
Child dependents on a Family Visa
Children are commonly accepted on applications in order to join their parents in the UK. There are a number of different ways that children can be granted permission to enter the country and stay in the UK.
In most cases, children are included on applications as dependents and usually will not have to submit a separate application.
Some of the most common categories that children are accepted on include the Spouse, Fiancé, and Unmarried Partner Visas, as well as the T1, T2, T4, and T5 Visas.
Child Dependent Visa requirements
As well as the eligibility criteria of each individual child dependent visa application, the parent of the child dependent must show that they have the financial ability to maintain the child.
For all the Spouse and Partner Visas, parents must show a gross annual income of at least £18,600 + £3,600 for the first dependent child, and £2,400 for each child after the first.
Child Dependent Visa cost and processing times
The Home Office fees for a Child Visa is £1,523 (application outside the UK) or £1,033 (application inside the UK). The immigration health surcharge must also be paid, at a cost of £1,200 (or £1,000 if the application is made inside the UK).
In the majority of cases, a Child Dependent Visa will be processed within 30 days and the applicant notified of the decision by official Home Office communication.
Child Dependent Visa required documents
Some of the most common documents that you will need to submit include:
- Your passport and the child’s passport
- Passport-sized photographs
- Evidence of adequate accommodation arranged in the UK
- Proof that you can meet the financial requirements of the category (e.g., bank statements, six months of employer payslips, a letter from your employer, etc)
Based on your individual circumstances, there may be further documentation required.
Parent of a UK child
Under some circumstances, it is possible for a non-UK-based parent to come to the UK on one of the UK family visas. There are stringent eligibility criteria.
Visa for a parent of a UK child requirements:
The child must hold British citizenship or hold settled status, be aged under 18 or have been under 18 years old when they were granted indefinite leave to remain in the UK. The child must not live independently for the parent to be eligible.
A requirement for this UK family visa is proving that you take an active role in your child’s care. You should evidence that you are either the sole carer or that you share caring responsibilities with the other parent.
It is also a requirement that the parent shows that they have direct access to the child, in agreement with the parent or carer where the child is normally resident, or as ordered by a UK court.
Visa for a parent of a UK child cost and processing times:
The cost for this UK visa application is £1,523 (or £1,033 when applying from inside the UK) and there is also UK family visa requirements concerning the immigration health surcharge at a cost of £500 for the duration of the stay.
You should receive a decision on your application within 8-12 weeks of submission. If you are granted this UK family visa, you will be able to remain in the UK for 2.5 years, and you may renew after this time if you are eligible.
Visa for a parent of a UK child required documents:
Below is a list of some of the required documents to apply:
- Proof of English language level (A1 on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages)
- Evidence that your child has been resident in the UK for at least seven years
- Evidence of your relationship with the child (e.g., birth certificate)
- Evidence of adequate accommodation arrangements
- Evidence of the financial maintenance ability
- Proof that you have parental responsibility and direct access to the child
Who can apply for a Family Visitor Visa?
The Family Visitor Visa falls under the Standard Visitor Visa category, and does not fall directly under the UK Family Visa category.
It is a short-term (not permanent) UK visa that allows you to come to the UK for up to six months in order to visit a member of your family. This does not give you permission to stay.
Family Visitor Visa requirements
The rules of the Visitor Visa are clear that you are not permitted to work or engage in business activities while in the UK on this visa.
It is also a requirement that the applicant shows they intend to leave the UK at the end of their visit and that they have firm plans to do so.
Family Visitor Visa cost and processing times
The cost of a Standard Visitor Visa application is £95. If an applicant is applying for a long-term Standard Visitor Visa, there is an additional cost depending on the length of the visa.
In the majority of cases, applicants will receive a decision on the application within three weeks.
Family Visitor Visa required documents
As part of the application process, you should submit a number of documents that provide evidence of your eligibility.
- Passport or valid travel document
- Evidence that you can support yourself financially for the duration of the visit (e.g., this could include bank statements or your employment contract)
- Evidence that you have reasons/ ties to your home country that show you will be returning back when the trip is over
- Proof of a return trip (e.g., plane tickets, travel plans, etc.)
- Proof of the relationship between you and the family member you will be visiting
The Ancestry Visa is an immigration route that allows some descendants of UK citizens to come to the UK. It applies to citizens of Commonwealth countries who can show they have a grandparent who was born in the UK.
It is a form of the UK Family Visas and if your application is successful, you will receive permission to stay in the UK. Further, you can live, work, or study in the UK for five years, without many restrictions. After this time, you may be able to apply for indefinite leave to remain.
Applications for Ancestry Visa can only be made outside the UK and not while the applicant is in the UK.
Ancestry Visa requirements
In order to be eligible for this UK visa, you should be prepared to provide evidence of the following:
- You are aged 17 years or older
- You have adequate finances to maintain yourself (including accommodation) without recourse to public funds
- You have the ability to, and intend to work in the UK
It is necessary to provide proof that you had a grandparent born in one of the following places:
- In the UK, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man
- On a ship or aircraft owned by, or registered in the UK
- In Ireland before 31 March 1922
If you are granted the five-year Ancestry Visa, you will have broad freedoms to work and study in the UK. You cannot switch to a different UK visa category or access public funds as a holder of this visa.
Ancestry Visa cost and processing times
To apply for a UK Ancestry Visa, there is a fee of £516 payable to the Home Office. There is an additional cost for the immigration health surcharge of £400 a year.
As the visa is granted for five years, the cost for the health charge is £2,000 in total.
The average time for a decision on the application is between three and eight weeks. It is possible to choose a priority service to receive a quicker decision on your application, which carries an additional cost.
Ancestry Visa required documents
There are multiple forms of documentation that are required as part of the submission process for the Ancestry Visa. These include:
- Your passport or valid travel document
- Your full (or long-form) birth certificate
- The birth certificate belonging to the grandparent(s) on whom you are making the claim
- Your grandparent’s marriage certificate (where relevant)
- Any evidence that you have of your intention to work in the UK
- Proof that you can financially support yourself in the UK (e.g., bank statements, savings, etc.)
Spouse and Partner Visas
As one of the most popular family visa categories, Spouse and Partner Visas are designed for partners of people living in the UK who are British citizens or hold valid settled status.
The main categories of Spouse and Partner Visas include:
Partner Visa requirements
Although each of these UK visas are different in terms of who may apply for a family and the requirements of the role, there are some commonalities that they share. These include:
- A requirement to prove that you and your partner have a combined annual income of at least £18,600
- You and your partner can demonstrate that you are in a ‘genuine and subsisting’ relationship
- You fulfil other criteria, including accommodation requirements, English language level, etc.
- You and your partner intend to live together permanently in the UK
Partner Visa cost and waiting times
The cost of applying for a UK Partner or Spouse Visa is £1,523 if applying from outside the UK, and £1,033 if applying within the UK.
The majority of applications will be decided within 12 weeks of the application submission, and all applications should be returned with a decision within 24 weeks.
Partner Visa required documents
Depending on the specific type of Partner Visa, you will be required to submit specific documents to show your eligibility and receive permission to stay in the UK.
In general, some of the documents you will be required to submit to prove that your relationship is genuine will include the following:
- Supporting letter outlining the nature of your relationship, its development and your future plans for the relationship
- Evidence of the relationship between you and your partner (e.g., photographs, logged phone calls, text messages from different points of your relationship, tickets showing trips taken together, events attended together, etc.)
- Evidence that each partner has visited the other in their home country
- Evidence of shared financial responsibilities (e.g., financial statements, mortgage, lease, invoice, etc)
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Depending on the specific category of your family visa UK, you may have the right to work. In most cases, the following UK family visa categories will allow you to work in the UK:
- Spouse Visa
- Unmarried Partner Visa
- Some forms of Dependent Visas
- Ancestry Visa
You do not have the right to work on the following UK family visa categories:
- Family Visitor Visa
- Fiancé Visa
In general, you should receive a decision on your UK Family Visa application within 1-3 months from the date of submission. The exact waiting time will vary based on the type of application, your individual circumstances, and whether further information is required to allow the caseworker to make a decision on your case.
In most cases, you may be able to make use of the priority service (at an additional cost), which will result in a faster decision on your UK visa application.
The Surinder Singh immigration route (also known as the EEA Family Permit) was named after a case taken in the European Court of Justice which established that in some cases, it is permissible to treat a British national as the citizen of another country in order to allow them to work in the UK.
This means that a non-EEA national who is married to, in a civil partnership with, or related to an eligible British citizen may have permission to enter, live, and work in the UK under European rights rather than the British immigration rules. It is necessary to show that the British citizen exercised their treaty rights by working or living in another EU state.
However, it should be noted that this route is being wound down and will no longer be in effect after 30 June 2021.