Want to Join Your Family in the UK?
We have successfully helped numerous Nigerians join their family members in the UK. Our skilled team of lawyers can also support you with your application for a UK Family Visa. Let us do the heavy work and make your travel plans as seamless as possible.
- Do I Qualify For a UK Family Visa?
- UK Spouse Visa Requirements
- Proving Your Relationship
- Financial Requirements For the UK Spouse Visa
- Settling in the UK if Your Partner Dies
- Visa as a Separated or Divorced Dependent Partner
- Parent Visa Requirements
- Proving Active Involvement in Your Child’s Life
- English Language and Financial Requirements For Parents
- Requirements for Applying With Other Children
- Requirements For Waiving Application Fee
- Child Visa Requirements
- Family Visa for an Adult Needing Long-Term Care
- Family Visa on the Basis of Private Life
- UK Ancestry Visa Requirements
- How IAS Can Help
- Frequently Asked Questions
Do I Qualify For a UK Family Visa?
If you are a Nigerian citizen planning to live with a family member in the UK for more than six months, you will need to apply for a family visa. If you are staying for less than 6 months, you must apply for a UK Family Visitor visa instead.
There are different types of UK family visas, and the specific type of visa you need will depend on your situation and the purpose of your travel to the UK.
The family visas allow you to join your:
- Spouse or partner
- Fiancé, fiancée, or proposed civil partner
- Relative who will provide long-term care for you
UK Spouse Visa Requirements
The UK spouse visa route is open to spouses, civil partners, and fiancés/fiancées of UK citizens. To apply for this visa, you and your partner must be over 18 years old and intend to live permanently in the UK after applying.
You must provide evidence for one of the following situations:
- You are in a civil partnership or marriage legally recognised in the UK.
- You have been living together in a committed relationship for at least two years at the time of application.
- You are a fiancé, fiancée, or proposed civil partner and plan to marry or enter a civil partnership within six months of your arrival in the UK.
Additionally, you need to demonstrate the following:
- Proficiency in the English language.
- Sufficient financial means to support yourself and any dependents accompanying you.
When applying as a fiancé or fiancée, you might need to provide evidence that you have terminated any previous marriages or partnerships, where applicable.
Proving Your Relationship
You must provide valid and acceptable evidence to prove your marriage or civil partnership.
To be valid, the evidence should:
- Be from a reliable source, such as the government, a recognised financial institution, a reputable landlord, a utility provider, or a licensed medical professional.
- Confirm your relationship with your partner, indicating that you live together, share financial responsibilities, or are legally married or in a civil partnership.
- Be dated within the last four years to ensure its relevance.
Examples of acceptable evidence can include the following:
- A valid marriage certificate or civil partnership certificate.
- Tenancy agreements, utility bills, or council tax bills that demonstrate shared residence or joint financial obligations.
- Bank statements from a joint account or statements confirming shared residency.
- Letters or documentation from a medical professional or dentist confirming that you reside at the same address.
Financial Requirements For the UK Spouse Visa
When applying for the spouse visa, you and your partner must have a combined income of at least £18,600 a year.
However, you will need to show evidence of additional funds if you have dependent children who are not British or Irish citizens, do not possess pre-settled status, and are not permanently settled in the UK.
To demonstrate the availability of additional funds for your children, you must earn an extra income of £3,800 per year for your first child and £2,400 per year for each subsequent child.
Acceptable sources of income for the visa application include:
- Employment income before tax and National Insurance (which can be verified through your P60 or payslips). Note that you can only use your own income if you earn it in the UK.
- Income from self-employment or as a director of a limited company within the UK. You can provide evidence of this income by referring to your Self Assessment tax return.
- Cash savings exceeding £16,000.
- Income from a pension.
- Non-work-related income, such as rental income from properties or dividends.
If you or your partner are employed, you can include the following as proof of income with your application:
- Bank statements that show the income received by you or your partner.
- Six months’ worth of payslips.
- Confirmation of employment letter from your employer, which should be dated and on official company letterhead.
Settling in the UK if Your Partner Dies
If you had permission to be in the UK on a spouse visa and your partner passed away, you may be eligible to apply for settlement (indefinite leave to remain in the UK). It allows you to live, work, and study in the UK indefinitely.
You can read more about the requirements for the settlement application here.
Visa as a Separated or Divorced Dependent Partner
If your current visa depends on a relationship that has ended, you must apply for a new visa to continue residing in the UK. You must inform the Home Office of your situation, and you might then be able to apply for:
- A work visa
- A parent visa if you have a child who is British, settled in the UK, or has lived in the UK for at least seven years
- A visa based on your private life
Furthermore, if your relationship ended due to domestic abuse, you might be able to apply to settle in the UK (indefinite leave to remain’).
Parent Visa Requirements
If you are a parent whose child is living in the UK, you might be able to apply for a visa to go live in the UK and take care of them. However, if you are eligible for the Spouse visa, you should go through that route instead.
To be eligible for the UK Parent visa, your child must be:
- Living in the UK at the time of the application
- Be under 18 on the date of your application or was under 18 when you were initially granted leave without leading an independent life
Additionally, your child must meet one of the following conditions:
- They are a British or Irish citizen
- They have settled status in the UK (such as indefinite leave to remain or proof of permanent residence)
- They are from the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, or Liechtenstein with pre-settled status (having started living in the UK before January 1, 2021), or
- If you’re applying within the UK, they have resided continuously for seven years, and it would be deemed unreasonable for them to leave.
If you share parental responsibility with another parent or carer, that person must not be your partner. The other parent must also either:
- Be a British or Irish citizen
- Have settled in the UK (with indefinite leave to remain, settled status, or proof of permanent residence), or
- Are from the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, or Liechtenstein with pre-settled status, having commenced residency in the UK before January 1, 2021.
If the child resides with the other parent or caregiver, you must prove that you have in-person access to the child per an agreement or a court order.
Proving Active Involvement in Your Child’s Life
As part of your application, you must show active involvement in your child’s upbringing and your intention to continue after the application.
You must provide reliable evidence from the government, school, court, or medical professionals. This evidence should demonstrate that you are living with or caring for your child and should be no older than four years.
Examples of acceptable documentation include:
- A letter from your child’s school confirming your participation in activities such as attending parent evenings or taking them to school
- A letter from the local authority addressed to your residence confirming your child’s school
- A letter from your child’s doctor, dentist, or health visitor affirming your involvement in their medical appointments or
- Court order paperwork establishing that your child resides with you or that you actively contribute to their upbringing.
English Language and Financial Requirements For Parents
In addition to meeting the other requirements, you must demonstrate that you have a good command of the English language and can support yourself financially without relying on public funds.
If you have dependents living with you, you must also show that you can financially support them without claiming public funds.
However, even if you do not meet the English language and financial requirements, you may still be eligible to extend your stay if your child in the UK is a British or Irish citizen or has resided in the UK for a minimum of seven years, and it would be deemed unreasonable for them to leave the UK.
Requirements for Applying With Other Children
You have the option to include additional children as dependents in your application if you meet either of the following conditions:
- They are under 18 years of age at the time of your application or
- They were under 18 when they were initially granted leave on a family visa, and they don’t live independently.
Requirements For Waiving Application Fee
If you cannot pay the required application fee, you can apply for a fee waiver. This waiver applies to individuals who are facing specific financial difficulties, such as:
- Not having a place to live and being unable to afford one
- Having a place to live but struggling to cover essential living expenses like food or heating, or
- Having a very low income that will negatively impact their child’s well-being if the fee were to be paid.
If you intend to move to the UK to live with your parents, you may be eligible for a UK Child Visa. However, if one of your parents has indefinite leave to remain or proof of permanent residence, you may not need to apply for the child visa.
The eligibility requirements for this visa route depend on whether you were born in the UK or outside the UK.
Requirements for Children Born in the UK
If you were born in the UK, you would receive the same permission to stay as your parent.
If you are under 18, you have two options. You can either be included as a dependent in your parent’s next application or apply separately. If you choose to apply separately, you must know the type of permission to stay your parent currently holds.
If you are over 18, your parent can only include you in their application as a dependent if the following conditions are met:
- You were granted permission to come to or stay in the UK on a family visa when you were under 18
- You do not live an independent life (left home, got married, or had children, for example)
- You are applying from inside the UK.
Requirements for Children Born Outside the UK
If you were born outside the UK, whether you can apply depends on your age and how your parent applied.
If you are under 18, you must meet the following criteria:
- You must not be married, in a civil partnership, or living an independent life
- You must be financially supported without claiming public funds.
Additionally, one of your parents must be applying for or have applied for a visa or an extension of their permission to stay as a
- Partner, and the partner they are joining must be your other parent.
- Parent if they have sole parental responsibility for you
In some instances, you might still be eligible to apply if there are compelling reasons to let you come to or stay in the UK and there are plans for your care.
If you are over 18, your parent can include you as a dependent in their application, or you can apply separately. However, you can only apply if:
- You were granted permission to stay in the UK (‘leave to remain’) on a family visa when you were under 18
- You do not live an independent life.
Family Visa for an Adult Needing Long-Term Care
You can apply for a UK Family Visa as an adult coming into the country to be cared for by a relative. To be eligible, you must require long-term care from a parent, grandchild, brother, sister, son, or daughter residing permanently in the UK.
One of the following must also apply to the relative providing care:
- They are a British or Irish citizen.
- They have settled in the UK, which includes having indefinite leave to remain, settled status, or proof of permanent residence.
- They are from the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, or Liechtenstein and have pre-settled status, having commenced living in the UK before 1 January 2021.
- They have protection status, such as leave to remain as a refugee, permission to stay as a refugee, or humanitarian protection, in the UK.
As part of your application, you will need to provide evidence that:
- You require long-term care for everyday personal and household tasks due to illness, disability, or age.
- You are 18 years or older.
- The necessary care is not accessible or financially feasible in your current country of residence.
Additionally, you need to establish that the relative you are joining in the UK can accommodate and provide care for you for either:
- Throughout the duration of their permission to stay in the country or
- Five years if your relative is a British citizen or settled in the UK.
Family Visa on the Basis of Private Life
If you are a Nigerian already residing in the UK, you can apply for a family visa based on your private life. You must be able to provide evidence supporting one of the following conditions:
- You are under 18 years old, you must have lived continuously in the UK for at least seven years, and it would be deemed unreasonable to expect you to leave the country.
- You are between 18 and 24 and must have lived continuously in the UK for more than half of your life.
- You are 18 or older, have resided in the UK for less than 20 years, and would face difficulties living where you would be required to move to.
- You have lived for 20 years continuously in the UK.
- You were born in the UK to a person who has permission to stay in the UK based on their private life or is currently applying for it.
Your family members can apply together on the same application, but each individual will be assessed separately.
UK Ancestry Visa Requirements
The UK Ancestry Visa is open to the following:
- A Commonwealth citizen
- A British overseas citizen
- A British overseas territories citizen
- A British national (overseas)
- A citizen of Zimbabwe
As a Nigerian, you might be eligible to apply for the UK Ancestry visa since Nigeria is a Commonwealth nation. However, you must prove that you have ancestral ties to the UK.
You must provide evidence that you have a grandparent under one of the following conditions:
- They were born in the UK, the Channel Islands, or the Isle of Man.
- They were born in what is now Ireland before 31 March 1922
- They were born on a ship or aircraft registered in the UK or owned by the UK government.
You must also meet the following requirements:
- Be 17 years of age or older.
- Have sufficient financial means to support yourself and any dependents without relying on public funds.
- Be capable and intend to work in the UK.
The UK government will allow you to claim ancestry whether you or your parent were adopted or your parents or grandparents were not married.
IAS can provide expert guidance and support in navigating the complexities of the family visa application process. Our team of experienced immigration advisors understands the importance of keeping families together and will work diligently to help you achieve a successful outcome.
We offer comprehensive assistance at every stage, from initial consultation to gathering and preparing the necessary documents, completing application forms, and providing representation in case of appeals or challenges.
With our in-depth knowledge of immigration laws and regulations, we will strive to ensure that your family visa application is handled efficiently and with the utmost care. Call us at +23413438882 or our UK office at +44 (0) 3316300929 to speak with an immigration lawyer.
Last modified on October 25th, 2023 at 10:54 am
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You may be able to switch to a family visa if you meet the eligibility criteria. However, you have to apply before your current permission to stay in the UK expires.
Your child’s nanny will not be eligible for a family visa if they are not a family member. However, they might be able to apply for the Overseas Domestic Worker Visa.
A criminal record can affect your UK visa application but does not guarantee rejection. The impact depends on the type and severity of the crimes committed and the visa you are applying for.
Discuss your case with our immigration lawyer before submitting your application.