VISA4UK Settled status in the UK

Family visas: apply from outside the UK

Family Visas in the UK

1.Overview-Family Visa UK

You’ll need a ‘family of a settled person’ visa if you’re from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland and you want to join, for 6 months or more, a partner or family member who’s living in the UK permanently.

You don’t need a ‘family of a settled person’ visa to visit your family for up to 6 months, but you should check if you need a Standard Visitor visa.

Your family member can:

  • have asylum or humanitarian protection in the UK
  • have settled in the UK
  • be a British citizen/li>

If you meet the eligibility requirements, you can apply to:

  • come to be looked after by family
  • come to look after your child
  • join your parent
  • join your partner (spouse, fiancé(e), civil or unmarried partner)

Exceptions

You may need to apply in a different way if:

  • you want to reunite with a partner or parent who has asylum or humanitarian protection in the UK
  • you’re inside the UK
  • your partner is from the EEA

How long it takes

You should get a decision on your visa within 12 weeks. Check the guide to processing times to find out how long getting a visa might take in your country.

Fees

Your situation:

  • Coming to look after your child-£1,464
  • Joining your partner or parent-£1,464
  • Adult who needs to be looked after by a relative-£3,250

You may also have to pay the healthcare surcharge as part of your application. Check how much you need to pay before you apply.

What you can and can’t do with your visa

You can use your ‘family of a settled person’ visa to:

You can’t get public funds for yourself and any dependants.

Extend your stay

You may be able to apply to extend your visa or settle in the UK permanently.

2.Exceptions

You can apply for a family permit instead of a ‘family of a settled person’ visa if the person you’ll be joining is from a country in the European Economic Area (EEA) (excluding the UK) or from Switzerland

If you’re already in the UK

You can’t apply for a ‘family of a settled person’ visa - you must apply to remain in the UK with family instead.

Reunite with a partner or parent in the UK

You should check if you can apply for ‘family reunion’ to stay with a partner or parent who has asylum or humanitarian protection in the UK.

Your relationship must have started before your family member’s departure from their home country because of persecution.

3. Eligibility

To apply for a ‘family of a settled person’ visa, you must be from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland.

Your partner or family member must have one of the following:

  • asylum or humanitarian protection in the UK
  • settlement in the UK
  • British citizenship

You must also prove that:

  • you and your family will have an adequate place to live in the UK
  • your relationship to your family member is genuine and recognised in the UK, eg your marriage is legal in your country
  • you’re 18 or over, unless you’re applying as a child
  • you intend to continue living with your family member or partner in the UK after you apply (unless you’re a parent who has access to the child)
  • you have a good knowledge of English if you’re 18 or over - unless you’re applying as an adult dependent relative

Your application might be refused if, for example, you’ve:

  • got a criminal record in the UK or in another country
  • provided false or incomplete information to the Home Office

Read the full guidance on refusals.

Joining your partner

You must prove that you and your partner are 18 or over and in a genuine relationship.

You must be one of the following:

  • married or civil partners
  • engaged to be married or to become civil partners
  • living together in a relationship for 2 years

You must prove that any previous relationships you or your partner had are permanently broken down

You must also meet the financial requirement of:

  • £2,400 per year for each additional child
  • £18,600 per year if you’re applying only for yourself
  • £22,400 per year for you and one child
Download Appendix_FM_1_7_Financial_Requirement.pdf

You won’t need to prove you have this money if you or your partner get certain disability benefits or Carer’s Allowance, but you’ll need to adequately accommodate and support yourselves and any dependants.

You’re engaged

You must prove that you plan to marry or become civil partners within 6 months of arriving in the UK.

If you or your partner has been married or in a civil partnership with someone else before, then you’ll need to provide proof that the relationship has ended when you apply. This could be:

You won’t be able to work during your engagement

Bringing your children

Your children must be under 18.

You must name your children on your application, but you’ll need to apply for them separately.

Joining your parents

You must be under 18 and all of the following must apply:

  • you’ll be supported and accommodated adequately without using public funds, or you meet the financial requirement
  • you’re not married, in a civil partnership or living an independent life
  • you’ll be living with your parent or parents

Coming to look after your child

Your child must be under 18, living in the UK, and either a British citizen or settled in the UK.

You must prove that either:

  • your child lives permanently with another parent or carer who’s British or settled in the UK and not your partner, and you want to help raise them
  • (you’ll need to prove you have access to your child in person, either agreed with the other parent or carer, or by a court order)
  • you’re the only parent of the child and you’re the only person who’s responsible for them (you have ‘sole responsibility’)

You must also:

  • be able to support and accommodate yourself without claiming public funds
  • prove you’re taking an active role in the child’s upbringing
If you’re the partner of the child’s parent you must apply to join as a partner.

Coming to be cared for - you’re an adult dependent relative

You must be dependent on a parent, grandchild, brother, sister, son or daughter who is living permanently in the UK.

You must prove that:

  • you’re 18 or over
  • you need long-term care to do everyday personal and household tasks because of illness, disability or your age
  • the person you’ll be joining in the UK will be able to support, accommodate and care for you without claiming public funds for at least 5 years
  • the care you need is not available or affordable in the country you live in

4. Knowledge of English

You may need to prove your knowledge of the English language when you apply.

You can prove your knowledge of English by passing a test at an approved test centre. You need to get at least CEFR level A1.

Check the current list of approved tests and test centres. This list changed on 6 April 2015 - tests on previous lists won’t be accepted.

Alternatively, you can give evidence that you have an academic qualification that both:

  • is recognised by UK NARIC as equivalent to a bachelor’s or master’s degree or PhD
  • was taught or researched in English

National of a majority English speaking country

You won’t need to prove your knowledge of English if you’re a national of one of these countries:

  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • Australia
  • the Bahamas
  • Barbados
  • Belize
  • Canada
  • Dominica
  • Grenada
  • Guyana
  • Jamaica
  • New Zealand
  • St Kitts and Nevis
  • St Lucia
  • St Vincent and the Grenadines
  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • US

Exemptions

You won’t need to prove your knowledge of English if:

  • You must explain why you can’t prove your knowledge of English in your application and give evidence to support this.
  • you’re unable to because of a long-term physical or mental condition
  • you can show there are exceptional circumstances which prevent you from meeting the requirement
  • you’re age 65 or over

More information

See the document about the English language requirement in the guidance for family members for more information.

5. Documents you need to provide

You’ll need to provide:

  • proof you can meet the financial requirement or maintenance requirement
  • your current passport or other valid travel ID
  • proof of your knowledge of English if you’re 18 or over - unless you’re applying as an adult dependent relative
  • proof of your relationship to the person you’re joining
  • previous passports
  • your tuberculosis test results if you’re from a country where you have to take the test
You may need to provide additional documents depending on your circumstances - eg a sponsorship form from your family member in the UK.

You’ll need to have a blank page in your passport on which to put the visa.

You must also provide documents to prove that you meet the eligibility requirements - read the guide to supporting documents for examples.

To check that you meet the financial and maintenance requirements, read ‘Appendix FM 1.7: financial requirement’ and ‘Appendix FM-SE’.

6. Apply

You can only apply for this visa if you’re outside the UK.

You must apply online for this visa.

You can give details about how your application to come to the UK is in the best interests of your children. Put this in the ‘Additional information’ box when you apply online.

You may have to pay the healthcare surcharge as part of your application. Check how much you need to pay before you apply.

You’ll need to have your fingerprints and photograph (known as ‘biometric information’) taken at a visa application centre as part of your application.

You may be able to get your visa faster or other services depending on what country you’re in - check with your visa application centre.

North Korea

You can’t apply online if you’re living in North Korea.

To apply from North Korea you must download and fill in form VAF4A and appendix 2.

You might also need:

  • appendix 1 - you’re coming to the UK as an adult dependent relative, or as the child of settled parents or with one parent who got a visa under the rules in force before 9 July 2012
  • appendix 5 - you’re coming to look after your child
  • form SU07 - you’re coming to be looked after by family (adult dependent relative)

You should also read:

7. Extend your visa

You can apply to extend your visa towards the end of your stay.

You must apply before your visa expires.

When you’re eligible, you can apply to settle. Settlement means you can stay in the UK without time limits.

You may have to pay the healthcare surcharge as part of your application. Check how much you need to pay before you apply.

Your initial stay will be:

  • 33 months if you applied as a partner (27 months if you applied before 9 July 2012)
  • 33 months if you applied as a parent
  • without time limits if you applied to join your British or settled parents
  • as long as your parent’s stay if you applied as a dependent child or to join a parent with sole responsibility for you
  • 6 months if you applied as an engaged partner or proposed civil partner

You’re an adult dependent relative

Your initial stay will be:

  • as long as your family member’s stay if they have asylum or humanitarian protection in the UK - you won’t need to extend but you can apply to settle when you’re eligible
  • without time limits if you applied to join a family member who’s British or settled in the UK - you won’t need to apply to extend or settle

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