- Overview of the Parent Visa
- What Are the Eligibility Criteria for Children?
- What Are the Eligibility Criteria for Parents?
- Active Parenting Requirements
- Financial Requirements
- English Language Requirements
- How Do I Apply?
- What Supporting Documents Do I Need to Provide?
- What Are the Fees and Processing Times?
- How Can IAS Help?
- Frequently Asked Questions
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 Spouse, Civil 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
Last modified on July 17th, 2023 at 7:54 am
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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.