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Parent Visa

If you’re a parent who has a child living in the UK and wishes to travel to the UK to care for them, you may be eligible for a Parent visa.

For more information about the Parent visa, including more details about the eligibility criteria, how to apply, and to receive bespoke advice for your immigration situation, reach out to one of our legal advisers today. Call us on 0333 4149244, or contact us online.

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    Benefits of Choosing IAS for Your Family Visa Application

    We can help you in obtaining a UK Family Visa. A skilled immigration lawyer from our team will examine the specifics of your case and guide you in identifying the most effective pathway for securing a Family Visa.

    With IAS’ track record of successfully helping clients achieve their Family visas, we ensure that your application is of the utmost quality.

    Our dedicated immigration lawyers provide our services through a comprehensive and personalised approach. With us, you get immigration lawyers who are dedicated to ensuring you reunite with your family member(s). Work with IAS for:

    Compassionate support from an experienced immigration lawyer dedicated to your success

    Support in gathering supporting documents and completing a high-quality application.

    A one-stop shop that extends beyond the application to include guidance on citizenship matters.

    Personalised Letter of Representation for a compelling family visa case.

    Regardless of what your personal immigration query might be, IAS is here to help and support you. Call us or enquire online to learn more about how we can help you.

    Services we Provide

    Overview of the Parent Visa

    The Parent visa is one of the UK’s Family visas, which allow overseas nationals to come and live in the UK long-term with an eligible family member.

    In this case, parents of children living in the UK can come and settle in the UK, as long as they fulfil the eligibility requirements.

    This includes needing to have sole or shared parental responsibility for the child.

    You must also meet certain financial and English language requirements in order to apply.

    The Parent visa will allow you to stay in the UK for an initial 2 years and 9 months, after which you will be able to extend it for another 2 years and 6 months.

    Note that if you have a partner or spouse who is eligible to sponsor you as a spouse, civil partner or unmarried partner, you must apply for a relevant SpouseCivil Partner or Unmarried Partner visa instead of a Parent visa.

    What Are the Eligibility Criteria for Children?

    To be eligible for a Parent visa, your child must first meet certain eligibility requirements.

    Firstly, they must be living in the UK at the time of application.

    They must also either be:

    • Under 18 years of age at the time of application, or
    • Have been under 18 when you were first granted leave and not live an independent life

    Examples of an independent life include if your child is no longer financially dependent on you, they’ve left home, gotten married, and had children of their own.

    Additionally, one of the following must apply:

    • They’re a British citizen or Irish citizen
    • They’re settled in the UK, such as through indefinite leave to remain, settled status or proof of permanent residence
    • They’re from the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein and have pre-settled status (they must have started living in the UK before 1 January 2021)
    • If you’re applying from the UK, they must have lived in the UK for 7 years continuously and it would not be reasonable for them to leave

    What Are the Eligibility Criteria for Parents?

    To be eligible for a Parent visa, you must be living outside the UK at the time of application and have sole parental responsibility for your child.

    Alternatively, you may have shared parental responsibility for your child with another parent or carer who lives with the child (as long as this care takes the form of direct, in-person access). The child’s other parent or carer also cannot be your partner.

    The other person must also:

    • Be a British or Irish citizen
    • Have settled in the UK, such as with indefinite leave to remain, settled status or proof of permanent residence
    • Be from the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein and have pre-settled status (they must have started living in the UK before 1 January 2021)

    You must also prove the following:

    • You plan to take an active role in your child’s upbringing after you join them in the UK
    • You can adequately support yourself and any dependents financially in the UK without needing to access public funds
    • You meet minimum English language requirements

    These eligibility criteria are discussed in more detail in the following sections.

    Note that you may still be able to apply to extend your Parent visa if you don’t meet the English or financial requirements, as long as your child in the UK is a British or Irish citizen, or has lived in the UK for 7 years, and it would be unreasonable for them to leave the UK.

    Active Parenting Requirements

    As part of the eligibility criteria of the Parent visa, you must prove that you’re taking an active role in your child’s upbringing and that you will continue to do so after you apply.

    To prove this, you will need to provide a range of documents and evidence. These must:

    • Be from the government, school, court or a medical professional
    • Show that you’re living with or caring for your child
    • Be less than 4 years old

    According to Home Office guidance, some examples of evidence that may be acceptable include the following:

    • A letter from your child’s school confirming you take them to school or go to events such as parent evenings
    • A letter to your address from the local authority confirming your child’s school
    • A letter from your child’s doctor, dentist, or health visitor confirming that you take them to appointments
    • Court order paperwork confirming that your child lives with you or that you’re taking an active role in their upbringing
    • A parental agreement drafted by a solicitor and signed by you and the child’s other parent
    • A letter from HMRC confirming that you’re claiming Child Tax Credit
    • Social services paperwork confirming that you spend time with your child, or that you’re applying for access

    According to Home Office guidance, evidence such as greetings cards, photographs, texts or social media messages do not constitute compelling evidence and are unlikely to aid your visa application.

    Financial Requirements

    As part of the Parent visa requirements, you must prove that you have enough money to financially support yourself and your child while in the UK. You must also prove that you have access to adequate accommodation in the UK.

    Adequate accommodation is considered to be accommodation that is not overcrowded and does not breach public health regulations.

    Unlike some other types of Family visa, there is no formal minimum income requirement that you must meet in order to qualify for a Parent visa.

    However, there is official Home Office guidance available that dictates what ‘adequate’ maintenance refers to, which may vary depending on your own personal circumstances.

    If you need further assistance on how to ensure that you meet the financial requirement for the Parent visa, don’t hesitate to reach out to an immigration lawyer for fast, expert advice. Call us on 0333 4149244, or contact us online today.

    English Language Requirements

    Overview

    In most cases, you will need to prove that you can speak English to a certain extent when applying for a Parent visa.

    You will not need to prove your English language skills if any of the following apply to you:

    • You’ve been in the UK on a family visa for 5 years and you’re extending it as a parent
    • You’re over 65
    • You have a physical or mental condition that prevents you from meeting the requirement
    • You’re a national of one of the majority English-speaking countries that are exempt from the requirement

    If none of the above apply to you, will need to prove your English language skills by either providing proof of an academic qualification or taking an approved test.

    Academic Qualifications

    You will be able to prove your knowledge of English for the Parent visa if you have a degree or academic qualification that was mostly taught in English.

    If you received your qualification from inside the UK, you will need to provide your degree certificate to satisfy this requirement.

    Meanwhile, if you received your qualification from outside the UK, you will need to obtain a certificate from ECCTIS to demonstrate that your qualification is equivalent to a Bachelor’s degree and that it was taught in English.

    If you received your qualification from one of the majority English-speaking countries listed by the Home Office, you will need a statement of comparability.

    If you received your qualification from any other country in the world, you will need a visa and nationality statement.

    Approved English Language Test

    You will be able to prove your knowledge of English for the Parent visa if you pass an approved English language test.

    You must pass at least level A1 on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) scale.

    The test you take must also be from a provider that is verified and approved by the Home Office.

    Note that you may have to obtain a pass at a higher CEFR level when you apply to extend your visa, or when you apply for permanent settlement through indefinite leave to remain.

    Get in touch with our immigration experts for help with your Parent visa application.

    How Do I Apply?

    You may apply for a Parent visa either from outside of the UK, or while you’re already in the UK on another type of visa.

    In both instances, you will have to apply online through the Gov.uk website.

    If you’re applying from outside the UK, you must also complete Appendix 5 in addition to the standard form VAF4A.

    As part of the application process, you will have to fill in the online form with a range of information such as your personal info, info about your family, your travel history and your finances.

    You may also be required to attend an appointment at a local visa application centre to give your biometrics information as part of the process. You’ll be informed by the Home Office on how to do this.

    What Supporting Documents Do I Need to Provide?

    There is some basic information about yourself and your family that you must provide when applying for a Parent visa.

    Information About Yourself

    The information you will need to provide about yourself may include (but not be limited to) the following:

    • Your name
    • Your date of birth
    • Your current passport or other valid travel ID
    • Copies of the photo page and any visa or entry stamps in your previous passports
    • A copy of your biometric residence permit, if you have one
    • Details of any previous immigration applications you’ve made
    • Details of any criminal convictions
    • Details of the countries outside the UK you’ve lived in and visited
    • Your national insurance number, if you have one
    • Your parents’ date of birth and nationality if you’re applying from outside the UK
    • Proof that you meet the minimum English language requirements
    • Proof that you meet the minimum financial requirements
    • Your tuberculosis test results if you’re from a country where you have to take the test
    • A certified translation of any document that is not in English or Welsh

    Information About Your Child

    The information you will need to provide about your child may include (but not be limited to) the following:

    • Their name
    • Their nationality
    • Their date of birth
    • Their passport details
    • Who the child normally lives with
    • Any other people with parental responsibility for your child, such as your step children’s other parents
    • How you’re involved in their day to day life
    • Arrangements you have to see the child, such as if the courts have granted you access to see them
    • Details of the child’s extended family
    • Any countries your child has visited or lived in

    What Are the Fees and Processing Times?

    Fees

    A Parent visa costs £1,538 to obtain if you’re applying from outside the UK.

    If you’re applying from inside the UK, it costs £1,048 to obtain.

    Note that you will also have to pay an additional fee if you wish to add other children as your dependents to your application. These are £1,538 per child if you’re applying from outside the UK, and  £1,048 if applying from inside the UK.

    You and your dependents will also have to pay the immigration healthcare surcharge as part of your application.

    This will be equivalent to £624 a year for adult applicants, and £470 for applicants under the age of 18.

    Processing Times

    A Parent visa usually takes around 24 weeks to process if applying from outside the UK.

    If applying from inside the UK, it usually takes around 8 weeks to process.

    You may also be able to take advantage of priority or super priority visa processing services if you need your application to be processed quickly. This will incur additional charges, however.

    Note also that your application may take longer to process if it’s considered to be complex, such as if you need to provide more information to the Home Office, you’re asked to attend an interview, or you have criminal convictions that need to be taken into account.

    How Can IAS Help?

    The UK Parent visa is part of the UK Family visa sub-group of immigration pathways, which are some of the most highly sought-after visas offered by the UK government.

    If you’re a parent looking to apply for a visa to come and join your UK-resident child, or you’re considering another immigration pathway to come to the UK, IAS can help.

    We are experienced, sympathetic immigration lawyers working within the field of UK and international immigration. We have the tools and expertise to assist you, regardless of your personal circumstances or the complexity of your case.

    Whether you’re looking for assistance with the UK Parent visa requirements, unsure of how to navigate the application process, or just need to speak to an immigration professional regarding your immigration case, we can help.

    We can also help if you need to apply for another similar type of visa based on your circumstances, such as a UK Spouse visa, UK Elderly Dependent visa, or a visa on the basis of your personal or family life.

    For more information about the services we provide and how we can help you, reach out to a member of our team today. Call us on 0333 4149244, or contact us online..

    We offer immigration advice sessions as face to face appointments at all of our UK offices, or via the phone.

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    Frequently Asked Questions

    You will be able to add your other dependent children to your Parent visa application and bring them with you to the UK.

    However, they must be either of the following:

    • Under 18 at the date of application
    • Under 18 when they were first granted leave on a family visa and do not live an independent life

    A UK Parent visa will eventually allow you to apply for permanent settlement in the UK, also known as indefinite leave to remain.

    Usually, you will have to spend 5 years in the UK on a parent visa to be eligible.

    You must also continue to have sole parental responsibility, or share parental responsibility for your child when you apply for indefinite leave to remain.

    If your child is 18 or over at the time of applying for indefinite leave to remain, you will only be eligible if both the following apply:

    • Your child was under 18 when you first obtained your Parent visa
    • Your child does not live an independent life

    You will also likely have to pass the minimum English language requirements and pass the Life in the UK Test in order to be eligible.

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