Family Visitor Visa UK

Applying for a Family Visa, UK

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Restrictions may apply when you apply for a Family Visitor Visa or apply to join family living permanently in the UK. Here's a guide to the UK immigration rules on family settlement in the United Kingdom.

The rules around joining a family member in the UK vary depending on which country you are coming from, which country the family member comes from, how long they have been in the UK and what your relationship is to them.

If you want to join a relative or partner in the UK who is from the European Union or a European Free Trade Association (EFTA) country (Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland), different conditions apply. You can read our guide for EU/EFTA citizens moving to the UK for information if you or your family member is an EU/EFTA citizen.

For non-EU/EFTA nationals, only certain relatives can apply to stay with you or remain in the UK. Circumstances vary depending on whether you are living in the UK on a long-stay visa or you have either UK citizenship or permanent residence (known as indefinite leave to remain).

This guide to applying for a Family Visa, UK, includes: 

Which relatives can join residents in the UK?

If you are a from a non-EU/EFTA country and you want to join family in the UK who are from outside the EU/EFTA and have UK citizenship or permanent residence, you can apply for a UK Family Visa to:

  • join your partner (spouse, fiance(e), civil or unmarried partner)
  • join your parent (if you are under 18)
  • come to look after your child (if they are under 18)
  • come to be looked after by your family (if you are a dependent adult child, parent, grandparent or sibling)

 

You will need to meet certain UK Family Visa requirements in each case, detailed below.

Those from non-EU/EFTA countries on long-stay UK visas for purposes such as work or study can apply to bring the following family members with them:

  • spouse or partner
  • any children under 18
  • children of any age if they are a dependant

 

These family members can also apply to join at a later date as 'dependants' on the UK visa of the person they are joining.

Family members, including extended family, can apply for a short-stay visit to the UK for up to 6 months on a UK Standard Visitor tourist visa.

Family Visa UK

Getting a Family Visa, UK, for joining relatives who have been in the UK for less than 5 years

You can be joined by relatives in the UK if you are a non-EU/EFTA national on any of the following long-stay visas:

  • Tier 1, Tier 2 or Tier 5 work visa (except Tier 5 Youth Mobility Scheme visa)
  • Tier 4 (General) student visa
  • Turkish Worker or Turkish Businessperson visa
  • UK Ancestry visa

 

Your family members will need a separate visa as a 'dependant' and will need to pay the UK healthcare surcharge. You will need to show proof that you can financially support them, usually by providing evidence of savings equivalent to a certain amount for each family member applying. The amount varies according to which UK visa you have.

The duration of your family member's stay cannot exceed your own stay in the UK and they will not be able to work in the UK, unless they are eligible to apply for any of the UK work visas.

See our guides to UK work visas and UK student visas for more information on individual visa requirements.

Applying to join family living permanently in the UK

If you have UK citizenship or permanent residence (indefinite leave to remain) as a non-EU/EFTA national, your family members can apply for a UK Family Visa known as the 'family of a settled person' visa. This UK Family Visa will allow relatives or partners to stay in the UK for 6 months or more. They can also work and study in the UK on the UK Family Visa.

To make a UK Family Visa application, you will need to prove that:

  • your relationship to your family member is genuine and legally recognised in the UK
  • you will be living with your family member in the UK
  • you have a good knowledge of English (unless you're under 18, over 65 or have a long-term physical or mental health condition)
  • you have no serious or outstanding convictions on your criminal record

 

Joining a partner in the UK

If you are joining a partner in the UK, you will need to prove that you and your partner are both over 18 and are either married/civil partners, engaged (with plans to marry within 6 months) or have been living together in a relationship for 2 years.

You will also need to meet the financial requirement of £18,600 per year, rising to £22,400 for you plus a child and by a further £2,400 for each additional child.

Joining parents in the UK

You need to prove that you will be living with your parents, that you are not married/in a civil partnership and that you'll be supported and accommodated without using public funds.

Coming to look after your child in the UK

You need to prove that you either have sole responsibility for the child or that you have access to the child if they live with another parent or carer. You'll also need to demonstrate that you can support yourself without using public funds.

Coming to the UK to be cared for as an adult dependent relative

You will need to prove that:

  • you need long-term daily care due to illness, disability or age
  • the care you need is not available or affordable in your home country
  • the family member caring for you will be able to look after you, support you and accommodate you without using public funds for at least 5 years.

 

The length of your UK Family Visa will be:

  • 33 months if you are joining a partner in the UK (27 months if you applied before 9 July 2012)
  • 6 months if you applied as an engaged partner
  • as long as your parent's stay if you applied to join as a dependent child
  • no time limit if you applied to join British or settled parents
  • 33 months if you applied as a parent
  • no time limit if you applied as an adult dependent relative

 

You can apply for a UK Family Visa extension once it's due to expire so that you can remain in the UK. UK Family Visa extensions are valid for 2 years and 6 months but the visa can be extended multiple times.

If you've been granted refugee status in the UK with leave to remain, you can be joined by your partner or children under UK family reunion. You can apply for UK family reunion as a refugee if you were separated from your family when you were forced to leave your country or if you've been given 5 years' leave to remain but haven't been given UK citizenship.

Family of a settled person visa

Working or studying with a Family Visa, UK

If you have a UK Family Visa to join family in the UK who is a UK citizen or permanent resident, you are allowed to work or study unless you've been given a 6 month visa having applied as an engaged partner. Those who have joined family in the UK on long-stay work or student visas are not allowed to work or study in the UK unless they are able to obtain a valid work or student visa.

Non-EU/EFTA nationals joining family in the UK are not able to access public funds on their UK Family Visas.

Family of a settled person visa - how to apply

If you are applying to join a relative or partner in the UK who is on a UK work visa or UK student visa, the application will be done as part of their application if you are travelling with them to the UK. If you are applying to join family in the UK a later date, you will need to make a separate UK visa application which you can do here.

UK Family Visa applications to join UK citizens and permanent residents from non-EU/EFTA countries can be made online on the UK Visas and Immigration website. You will then need to visit a UK visa application centre in your home country to submit your biometric information (photograph and fingerprints) for your UK biometric residence permit. You may have to pay the UK healthcare surcharge as part of your application. More information available here.

You will need to provide the following with your UK Family Visa application:

  • current passport or valid travel ID
  • previous passports
  • proof of relationship to family member who you are joining
  • proof that you can meet the financial or maintenance requirement
  • proof of your knowledge of English
  • tuberculosis test results if you are from a country where you have to take a test

 

A list of countries where you need to be tested for tuberculosis is available here.

You should get a decision on your UK Family Visa application within 12 weeks. You can check visa processing times on the UK Visas and Immigration website.

EEA Family Permit UK

What happens if you get divorced or your partner dies?

If you have joined a partner in the UK who is from a non-EU/EFTA country and who is either a UK citizen or permanently settled, you can apply to settle in the UK if they die. This applies to spouses, civil partners and cohabitants living together in a relationship (19). You can apply using the the SET (O) form for indefinite leave to remain. See our guide to UK citizenship and permanent residence for more information (20). A copy of the SET (O) form is available here.

If you divorce or separate from your partner having entered the UK on a UK Family Visa, you must tell the UK Home Office about the change in your circumstances. You will then be required to apply for a new UK visa or leave the UK.

You need to include you and your ex-partner's date of birth, address, passport numbers and Home Office reference number (from previous correspondence) in the letter, along with details of any children you have. You should include either a 'public statement' form (if you don't want the Home Office to disclose information to your ex-partner) or a 'consent' form (if you're happy for information to be shared). Both forms are available here.

  • The letter should be sent to:
  • UK Visas and Immigration
  • TM Marriage Curtailment Team
  • PO Box 99
  • Manchester M90 3WW

 

If you want to remain in the UK after the relationship ends, you will need to apply for another UK visa to stay in the country. For example, you could apply for a UK work visa or another UK Family Visa. You can check your UK visa eligibility here.

You may also be eligible to settle in the UK as a permanent resident with indefinite leave to remain. You can check if you can apply for indefinite leave to remain here.

You have grounds to settle in the UK with indefinite leave to remain if the relationship with your partner ended because of domestic violence. More information can be found here.

UK Family Visa costs

  • The current UK Family Visa costs for 'family of a settled person' are (26):
  • Joining your partner, parent or child - £1195
  • Adult who needs to be looked after by a relative - £2676
  • UK Family Visa extension (online or by post) - £811
  • UK Family Visa extension (premium service) - £1311

 

Family Visa UK refusal

If you want to appeal against a decision made on an application for a visa or residence document, you can contact:

First-tier Tribunal (Immigration and Asylum Chamber)
PO Box 6987
Leicester LE1 6ZX

Email: customer.service@hmcts.gsi.gov.uk
Tel: 0300 123 1711

Mon – Fri 8.30am – 5pm

Further information

website of the UK Visas and Immigration, the division of the UK Home Office that deals with visas and residence permits

 
Click to the top of our guide to applying for a Family Visa, UK.

 

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8 Comments To This Article

  • Junior posted:

    on 4th March 2017, 17:06:44 - Reply

    Hello, I do have a residence card of Family Member of a EEA National which allows me to remain in UK at least 5 years, but my partner wants to leave UK and I want to remain, but I have read some rumours about whether the partner leaves UK I only have few months to remain.
    Is it true?

    Thank you

    [Moderator's note: You can also post questions on our Ask the Expert free service.]

  • Alliowe posted:

    on 18th January 2017, 12:51:44 - Reply

    i am 21 years oldi have a British citizen and i want him to apply for a visa for me what kind of visa should he apply

    [Moderator's note: You can also post questions on our Ask the Expert free service.]

  • Marita posted:

    on 20th October 2016, 03:51:50 - Reply

    Hello,i'm EEA nationality live UK 9 years ,have permit work full time , i was in long distance relationships for a long time with non EEA national , this year we get married .I want that my husband move to Uk , live together like normal familly. We think to apply for EEA Familly permit but i'm not sure about income evidence ! Because i read a lots of different information and hear from some of my friends who was in the same situacion a different information. That in my situation by the law this is family reunion and they can't ask from me specific amount that i need to earn. So what is the real situation about this income prove .Thank You .

    [Moderator's note: You can also post questions on our Ask the Expert free service.]

  • jamal posted:

    on 26th September 2016, 20:59:51 - Reply

    me and my all famly have italian indefinate visa my wife is british i have one babe and i m going to stay with her in uk if i applay for my parents visit visa and after when they in uk can we applay for them to rimain in uk for indefinate stay in uk_?

    [Moderator's note: You can also post questions on our Ask the Expert free service.]

  • Andrew posted:

    on 27th September 2016, 08:38:08 - Reply

    It is really a nice and helpful piece of information.I am happy that you shared this useful info with us. Please keep us informed like this. Thanks for sharing.
  • Shraddha posted:

    on 15th July 2016, 03:52:26 - Reply

    Hi there,

    both my parenst are British citizens (Originally migrated as Highly skilled migrants in 2009)
    I am a permanent resident of Canada but wish to join my parents as theyare growing old and they do not wish to move here.

    What are my options?

    Thank you very much

    [Moderator's note: You can also post questions on our Ask the Expert free service.]

  • Steve posted:

    on 21st April 2016, 14:07:35 - Reply

    What sould i do?Ive been living in Taiwan for 18 years married to a Taiwanese woman for 15 years and my daughter was born in Taiwan 14 years ago,she was registered as a british Citizen in 2003.So here it is,we want to go back and live in the UK as my parents are in there seveties and they are getting on abit.We cover all the bases exept the English Language Requirement,as my wife speaks Mandarin to our daughter and I speak English ,my wife understands English and I understand Mandarin.We comunicate very well as a family and have been together almost every day.The job offer I have in the UK is a good one ,but without my wife by my side it will be a lost oppertunity as I would have to take care of my parents and our daughter while my wife is only alowed 6 months of a year being able to stay in the UK on a visiting visa..Please help

    [Moderator's note: You can also post questions on our Ask the Expert free service.]

  • Barry posted:

    on 18th March 2016, 15:30:19 - Reply

    Hey,

    Thanks for nice explanation. I have one question.

    My father a non EEA national and already in UK on visitor visa. I am a German national and i am moving to UK so we both can live there together.

    Is it possible that while on visitor visa he can apply for EEA Family memeber Residence card while in UK on visitor visa or he must go back and first apply for EEA family permit. ?

    Thanks

    [Moderator's note: You can also post questions on our Ask the Expert free service.]