How to join family in the UK: Parent Visa


Many people around the world want to live closer to families overseas, especially when it’s a child that lives in another country. And it usually means applying for a visa.

In the UK, there is whole section of immigration dedicated to family visas, including a Parent Visa to reunite parents with children.

Raising a child is an important role, but it can become tricky in the event of a divorce or relationship breakdown. Even more so if the parents are from different countries.

The Parent Visa is a way to solve this issue.

The Parent Visa is aimed at parents seeking to care for a child that lives in the UK. An example of this is shared parental responsibility with the child’s other parent who is a British citizen or settled in the UK.

In situations like this, emotions are often already running high. Throw bureaucracy and immigration laws into the mix and it can become a stressful time. That’s when a little education goes a long way.

To help you find out more, this article looks at who is eligible to apply for the Parent Visa and what is needed for the application.

Who can apply for a Parent Visa?

Not everyone can apply for a Parent Visa. It can be a complicated immigration category and there are some specific requirements for a visa to be granted.

However, if you meet the following criteria, then you might be eligible:

  • The child must be under the age of 18 and a British citizen, a settled resident, or have lived in the UK for at least seven years
  • You must have sole responsibility for the child or direct access granted through a court order
  • You must have English language skills at Level A1
  • You have enough money to support yourself financially

Next, let’s take a closer look at how to apply and how much it costs.

Paperwork and application fees

The application form for this visa class is online on the British government website. It’s a good idea to gather any documents in advance that you might need.

As this application involves proving parental responsibility, you will need to show evidence for this. For example, proof of how you will take an active role in the child’s upbringing. This can be done by including letters from the child’s school or dentists.

You will also need evidence of sufficient funds to support yourself, so that you won’t need to access public money. A bank statement is an easy way to do this.

When it comes to costs, the amount will depend on whether you’re inside or outside of the UK at the time of applying:

  • Inside the UK – £1,033
  • Outside the UK – £1,523

You can include dependents on the application but there is an additional cost. The fee is £1,033 per person if you apply from inside the UK. And £1,523 per person from outside the UK.

Other costs to consider are the healthcare surcharge and £19.20 to provide biometric information (fingerprints and photo).

What happens next?

As with most visa applications, there is a processing time involved. That means you will have to wait to find out if the application is approved or denied by the Home Office.

For applications made outside the country, it usually takes 12 weeks to get a decision. But if you’re in the UK, it could take just eight weeks.

Visas are initially granted for 2.5 years and you will be able to work during this time. After that, you can extend the visa. And after five years, you might be eligible to apply for long-term settlement in the UK.

Other ways to move to the UK

The Parent Visa is just one way to join family in the UK. But it’s not the only route available.

For example, if you’re still working and want to join an adult child (over the age of 18) in the UK, then a Skilled Worker Visa could be a viable option. Alternatively, there is the Entrepreneur Visa or the Global Talent Visa.

And finally, if you have a complex case, it could be worth contacting an immigration lawyer for some specialist advice.

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Article Created By Hayley Maguire