Family Immigration

If you have family members already living in the UK and you intend to visit them or stay for more than 6 months, you will need to apply for a family visa.

When planning to enter the UK from another country, you must apply for a family visa to live with a spouse or partner, a relative who will provide long-term care for you, a child or a parent, a fiancé or a fiancée.

If you are already in the UK and intend to extend the duration of your stay in the country, you will need to apply for a visa extension or follow the procedures to change the type of visa to accommodate your new stay. You must apply for the extension or change the existing permit you possess before the expiry of its tenure.

In the eventuality that you entered the country on one particular visa and intend to extend your stay, you will be able to change to a family visa to stay with a partner or spouse, a child or a parent.

You Cannot Apply For or Switch To A Family Visa in the Following Circumstances:

  • If the family member you are residing with has only a temporary work visa or student visa. You can apply to stay with them as a dependant instead.
  • If you have a visitor visa or a visa for a tenure of only 6 months or less


However, an application or a switch to a family visa can be made if you exit the UK and enter the country again if:

  • you have an existing permit that allows you to be in the UK as a visitor
  • your existing visa is for 6 months or less
  • you have an existing 6-month family visa as a fiancé, fiancée or proposed civil partner
  • you have permission to stay in the UK for the outcome of a family court case or divorce


UK Visa Fees Structure

What you pay for a UK visa is determined by the type of visa you apply for.


Application If you are not in the UKIf you are already in the UK
Joining your partner, parent or child£1,523£1,033
Each dependant added to your application£1,523 each person£1,033 each person
Adult who needs to be looked after by a relative£3,250£1,033
If you’re applying to extend or switch visas £19.20 to have your biometric information (fingerprints and a photo) taken


Visa Timelines

A UK family visa is usually processed within a 12-week timeframe when you apply from outside the country.
If this visa application is made while you are already in the UK, a decision is made by the government through the standard service within an 8-week timeframe.

Opting for a super priority service expedites the timeframe, with an additional cost of an extra £800:


  • if your appointment is on a weekday, a visa decision can be made by the end of the next working day after providing your biometric information
  • if your appointment is at the weekend, a visa decision can be made 2 working days after providing your biometric information
  • working days are Monday to Friday, not including bank holidays

The super priority service cannot be availed when the application is for an adult coming to be cared for by a relative

Complex applications:

The timeframe may get extended in cases where the visa application is more complicated, as in the following circumstances:

  • when you do not qualify on the minimum income requirement
  • a minimum knowledge and fluency of the English language is not met
  • if you are not able to provide the mandatory evidence required by the Home Office
  • you have a criminal conviction or another personal circumstance that needs to be reviewed
  • you need to attend an interview

Other applications to stay in the UK

  1. If you have an existing permit to stay in the UK, you may be able to make an application to settle permanently or be given the leave to stay indefinitely in the UK as a partner:
    • If you were the victim of domestic abuse
    • In the eventuality of your partner’s death
  2. There is a provision for a “family reunion” visa application if your family member has refugee status or humanitarian protection in the UK
  3. You can apply for a family permit or family visa if your family member is from the European Union, European Economic Area or Switzerland
    As long as the UK remains a part of the EU, no changes to the rights and status of EU nationals living in the UK, or UK nationals living in the EU are expected.You will need to be living in the UK before it leaves the EU to apply for the EU Settlement Scheme. The deadline for applying will be 31 December 20

Application as A Partner or A Spouse

Only adults, above the age of 18 years can make a visa application to live in the UK as a spouse or a partner. This application necessitates that you and your partner propose to live together permanently in the UK on receiving this visa.

The person you are planning to live with as a partner must meet the following criteria:

  • be a national of the UK
  • must have proof of residence or settlement within the country with official permits to live and reside in the country indefinitely
  • have refugee status or humanitarian protection in the UK

Possessing a settled in the UK status could also make your spouse or partner qualify for an application to the EU Settlement Scheme or a family permit.

The EU Settlement Scheme allows you to apply if were born in the UK but are not a British citizen, or have a UK ‘permanent residence document’, or are a family member of an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen who does not need to apply – including if they’re from Ireland or are an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen with a British citizen family member.

Details you must furnish are as follows:

  • that you and your partner/spouse are in a civil partnership or marriage that is valid in the UK
  • or that you’ve been living together in a relationship for at least 2 years when the application is made
  • you are engaged to a resident of the UK as a fiancé, fiancée or proposed civil partner and will marry or enter into a civil partnership in the UK within 6 months of entering the country 

Additionally, a good knowledge of the English language must be proven to qualify for an application to live in the UK. Verified financial documentation that you will be able to effectively and completely support yourself and any other dependants must be furnished for this category of visa application.

There are a few exceptions when an application for this visa or an extension to stay can be made even if the above criteria are not met. Having a child in the UK who is a British citizen or has lived in the UK for 7 years is one of those situations. If you can establish that there would be very significant difficulties for you and your partner if you lived together as a couple outside the UK, an application for this visa can still be made. The last exception is in the eventuality that it would curtail any of your fundamental human rights if you were forcibly prevented from coming into the UK.

An application that is being made as a fiancé, fiancée or proposed civil partner must necessarily establish that the applicant has no other existing marriage or civil partnership and that you plan to marry or become civil partners within 6 months of arriving in the UK.

Length of Stay in the UK

The timeframe for which you can stay in the UK with an application as a fiancé, fiancée or proposed civil partner is between 6 months to 2.5 years. Any plans to stay longer or extend your visit requires a new application.

Application Process

The visa application process requires you to keep some basic and essential documentation ready that provides proof of your name, proof of residence, government identification, details of any criminal convictions, details of parents and family, financial documentation, details of your passport and all previous travel you have undertaken, to support your visa application. There is a specific form that enables to apply online if you are making this application from outside the country and a different form for an in-country application. For those applying from North Korea, you must download and fill in form VAF4A and appendix 2.

Children can be added to your visa application form if they are under the age of 18 or if they are still dependant on you and have not yet left home, got married or had children.

After living in the UK for 5 years, you can make an application to settle permanently in the country as a partner. This tenure of 5 years does not include your stay in the UK as a fiancé, fiancée or proposed civil partner.

All applications made before 9 July 2012 follow a different set of rules. In this case, these are the criteria that will decide your visa application for an extension of your family visa:

  • you have an existing permission to live in the country as a partner that was given before 9 July 2012
  • you are not eligible to settle
  • you have not been granted or refused another visa


It is essential that you adequately prove your fluency with the English language and that you and your partner are financially sound and have the necessary resources to support and take care of yourselves, your family members and any others who may be dependent on you without resorting to the use of public funds, which means you will not be able to claim most benefits, tax credits or housing assistance that are paid by the state.

Application As A Parent

If your child is living in the UK or is a British citizen with an indefinite permission to reside in the UK or has already lived in the country for more than 7 years without a break, you can apply to live with your child in the UK as a parent. However, if you’re eligible to apply as a civil partner, a fiancé or a fiancée (the criteria is mentioned in the section above), you must do that instead of applying as a parent.
For this visa application, it is necessary that your child must either be under 18 on the date you apply or have been under 18 when you were first granted leave and not live an independent life. Your child will be considered to be living an independent life if they’ve left home, got married and had children. If your child has settled status you may also be eligible to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme (refer to section above) or for a family permit.
To apply for a family permit into the UK as a parent, you need to have sole or shared parental responsibility for your child. In case the responsibility for your child is shared, the other parent of your child must be a UK resident with a valid permit to reside in the country and must not currently be your partner. In cases where your child resides with the other parent or caretaker, it is necessary for you to prove you have the right and the legal permissions required to have access to the child.

Evidence Required:

Any visa to reside with your child as a parent in the UK requires evidence that you have been actively and consistently a part of your child’s life and that you have fulfilled your responsibilities as a parent in the child’s upbringing and sustenance. This You must be able to prove that you’re taking an active role in your child’s upbringing and you plan to continue after you apply. Some of the documents that work as evidence are dentist appointments for your child, a record from your child’s school that you are an active and regular participant in meetings with the teachers and authorities on your child’s progress, attestation from other parents (with adequate proof of their identity) from your child’s school that you are in constant and committed contact with your child.

An adequate and proven fluency of the English language is mandatory as is the proof that you will be able to competently and independently support your child financially for all requirements.

However, if you are unable to meet any of the requirements mentioned above, your application to extend your permission to stay in the UK if your child has proof of having lived in the country for 7 years or more, supported with sufficient documentation as to why it would be detrimental to your child to leave the country. In these circumstances, the permit you may be able to avail will be for a period of 2.5 years, after which another application will need to be made.

Application Process:

  • Fill in the application form with all the supporting documentation that is mandated
  • If you are not in the UK, you must apply online with the additional completed Appendix 5 form which for a parent who has access rights to a child who is a British citizen or settled in the UK.
  • If you are in the UK, you must apply online and fill an additional form for a visa fee waiver if you do not currently have a place to stay and cannot afford to get one. This must be supported with proof that in your circumstances, making an additional payment for fees would impact the well-being of your child. 

Application As A Child

A visa application to as a child while in UK is possible if you have at least one parent who is has an existing, valid Permanent Resident visa and you were born in the UK.  If you are under 18 years old, your application can be added to your parent’s application as a dependant.

If you are over 18 years old your application can be added to your parent’s visa application only if you are not living an independent life (are still living with your parents, are not married and do not have children) and are applying from within the UK.

If you were not born in the UK and are under 18 years of age at the time of your application for a visa to the UK a s a child, you must not be married, in a civil partnership or living an independent life, therefore proving that you are financially still dependent on your parents. Additionally, one of your parents must also be applying or have applied for a visa or to extend their permission to stay as a partner (and the partner they’re joining is your other parent) or directly as a parent because they shoulder the responsibility for your upbringing and well-being.

As a child who is over 18 years of age, your application can be included in your parents application as a dependant, or you can apply separately yourself if you have an existing permission to stay in the UK on a family visa before you turned 18 years, and currently do not live independently of your parents. If your parent cannot include you in their form and you’re in the UK, you may be eligible to apply for Private Life in the UK (check section on visa application on the basis of your private life)

When you are applying for a UK visa as a child but are outside the country, all valid supporting documentation must be collected and attached to the application. You can make the online application simultaneously with your parent.

However, if you are applying separately, the online application form must be filled with the additional Appendix 1 (the application for an adult independent relative, a child of a parent settled in the UK or a parent given leave before 9 July 2012).

Application As An Adult Who Will Be Supported And Nursed By A Relative

In order to make an application under this category, you must be currently living outside the UK and must be able to provide valid and attested poof that you are dependent on long-term medical care and assistance from a parent, grandchild, brother, sister, son or daughter who is living permanently in the UK. The relative who will be caring for you must be a legal citizen of the UK and have proof of a Permanent Resident visa or they have been under humanitarian protection in the UK (or a refugee status).

Another option is to apply for a family permit (check the section on the general family visa section) or under the EU Settlement Scheme (check the section on the EU Settlement Scheme). Under this visa application, valid document evidence must be produced to show that you are ill or disabled or too old, leading to a complete dependence and need for assistance with daily personal and household chores.

Applying for a visa to come into the country as a medical dependant also requires adequate and proven evidence that your relative has the ability to financially and economically support you in all requirements for the period of at least 5 years. An additional report must prove that the care you require is not available in the country you are currently residing in.

The length of stay under this visa maybe unlimited if the family member you are joining is a UK citizen or has settled in the UK (possesses a Permanent Resident visa). All applications must be renewed if you are living with a relative who has a refugee status which needs to be renewed before it expires. All applications must be made online with adequate and valid support documentation.

Application Based On Your Private Life

This visa application allows to quote and give evidence of your private life in order to request for permission to stay in the UK if you have already been living in the country.
Evidence of your private life must include proof that you are not yet 18 years old, have already been living continuously in the country for a period of 7 years and it would be unreasonable to expect you to leave the country at this stage. You would qualify to apply for this visa if you are between 18-24 years of age and have proof of having resided in the country for more than half of your life or are above 25 years old and have a 20-year long continuous residence in the UK.
This application allows you to include your family members on it, though your application will be considered separately. This is an online application and all supporting documentation must be adequately provided and appended. A request for a fee-waiver can be made by filling in the request form if you are unable to make that payment due to valid and acceptable conditions.