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UK Family Visas

Find out more about the different types of UK Family Visas, including the requirements, processing times and costs.

Call us on 0121 667 6530 for immediate help and assistance. We offer advice and application support in person, over the phone, or online.

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    What Are Family Visas?

    UK Family visas are a broad term used to describe a category of UK visa which lets family members join one another in the UK.

    There is no one set Family visa. Instead, there are different types of visas for family members of British citizens and people who are settled in the UK who wish to accompany or join them. These include Spouse visas and Partner visas, Proposed Civil Partner/Fiance visas and Child Dependent visas.

    Each category may have different requirements and costs involved. In most cases, visas in this category require the UK relative to act as a ‘sponsor’ for non-UK relatives.

    Some types of Family visa let family members go on to become settled in the UK too and can be used as a route to indefinite leave to remain in the UK (ILR).

    Call us on 0121 667 6530 if you have any specific questions about your situation or need immigration advice/application guidance.

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    Different Types of Family-Based Visas

    There is no single visa called a ‘UK Family Visa’. If you wish to join or accompany your family member or partner to the UK, you must apply under a specific route within this category.

    The main types of visa under the family category include:

    These different types fall under different categories of visa law. For example, Partner and Spouse Visa UK applications are made under the FL (M) route and dependent children and partners fall under the PBS route (which varies depending on the person being accompanied to the UK, e.g a Skilled Worker Visa or a Student Visa) UK Family Visit Visas fall under the ‘Standard Visitor’ category. EEA Family Permits come under EEA law rather than UK law.

    Some of these categories are long-term, and others are temporary. Spouse and Partner, Ancestry, and Dependent Visas are all eligible for ILR.  Each visa type also has its own set of requirements, application processes, costs and lengths of stay.

    Family Visa requirements

    As there are many different types of family visa, requirements for each of them will vary greatly. However, generally speaking, you should fulfil one of the following criteria in order to be eligible for the most common and popular types of Family visas:

    • You are a married, in a civil partner with, or a long-term unmarried partner of a British citizen, settled person or someone with refugee status or humanitarian protection
    • You are the fiancé of a British citizen or settled person
    • You are the dependent spouse/partner or child of someone with valid entry clearance to the UK
    • You are an adult in need of long-term constant care from a relative who is a British citizen or settled in the UK
    • You are an overseas citizen with a grandparent who was born in the UK
    • You are a person with refugee status or humanitarian protection in the UK
    • You are a Turkish Businessperson visa holder
    • You qualify as an EU citizen or an individual from Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, or Liechtenstein, possessing pre-settled status (as per regulations, you must have initiated residence in the UK before 1st January 2021)

    The individual seeking a UK family visa must satisfy the following criteria:

    • Spouse, partner, fiancé, fiancée, proposed civil partner, child, parent, or a relative for whom you will be providing long-term care (more details on each of these categories are provided below).
    • If applying as your child, they must be dependent on you, which implies that they are not leading an independent life, are unmarried, and reside with you (unless they are attending university or boarding school).
    • They must possess the means to financially support both themselves and their dependants in the UK. This financial requirement does not apply to children.
    • They need to have a satisfactory command of the English language.
    • They should not have a criminal record or pose a threat to the security of the UK.

    The requirements for Family Visas can involve the applicant demonstrating that their relationship to the named relative, whoever that may be, is genuine. To show this, you must include evidence that proves this.

    For example, marriage or birth certificates, photographs, proof of your communication, cohabitation, and shared finances. The types of documents you must include will vary depending on which category of leave you are applying for.

    In cases where the UK-based family member acts as the applicant’s sponsor (as with Spouse, Unmarried Partner, and UK Fiancé visa applications) you may also need to include a letter of sponsorship. It should include information such as how long you have known each other, the nature of your relationship, your future plans together, as an example.

    It should also include evidence which proves you are who you say you are and that you are either British, settled or have a valid form of entry clearance. This depends on the type of application being made.

    Partner Visas

    Partner Visas are used by partners of British citizens and people who hold some kind of settled status in the UK, such as indefinite leave to remain.

    To be eligible for a visa under this category, you must be:

    • A spouse or civil partner of a British citizen or settled person
    • A long-term unmarried partner who has lived with a British person or settled person in a relationship ‘akin to marriage’ for at least two years
    • The fiancé or proposed civil partner of a British person or settled person

    Partner Visa Requirements

    To meet the requirements for a Partner Visa, you must show that you:

    • Are in a ‘genuine and subsisting’ relationship with your British/settled sponsor
    • Meet the combined financial requirement.
    • Meet the minimum English language requirements
    • Meet the adequate accommodation requirements

    The Financial Requirements:

    Starting from spring 2024, the new income requirement stands at £29,000, and it is stated  to increase to £34,500 and subsequently to £38,700. It is advisable to submit your application as soon as possible.

    Notably, there will no longer be a separate child element in the minimum income requirement, eliminating the need for additional funds for each child, effective from spring 2024.

    For existing visa holders or those applying before the minimum income threshold rises, their assessment will be based on the current income requirement. The same rule applies to individuals currently holding a fiance visa, even if they plan to apply for a spouse visa later.

    However, individuals switching to this route from another (after the implemented changes) will undergo assessment based on the updated criteria.

    Partner Visa Costs

    A Partner visa application costs £1,048 if made from within the UK, and £1,538 if made from outside it.

    Partner Visa Documents

    The documents you need to include for a Partner visa may include (but not be limited to) the following:

    • Valid passport or other travel ID
    • Details of any previous immigration applications you’ve made
    • Details of any criminal convictions
    • Your parents’ dates of birth and nationalities
    • Your tuberculosis test results if you’re from a country where you’re required to take one
    • Documentary proof that your relationship is genuine and subsisting
    • Documentary proof that you meet the minimum financial requirements
    • Documentary proof that you meet the minimum language requirements, or proof that you’re exempt from them
    • Proof that you’ll get married to, or enter into a civil partnership with, your partner (if applicable)

    Parent Visa

    The Parent visa can be used by parents of eligible UK-based children to come to the UK and care for them.

    Parent Visa Requirements

    There are a number of requirements that applicants and their child must meet for this visa. These include (but are not limited to) the following:

    • The child must be 18 or under
    • The child must be living in the UK and be a British citizen or have settled status
    • The parent needs to have sole or shared parental responsibility for the child. If responsibility is shared, the child’s other parent cannot be the applicant’s partner and also be a British citizen or have settled status
    • The parent will be taking an active role in the child’s upbringing
    • The parent will need to meet minimum English language requirements
    • The parent will need to meet minimum financial requirements

    Parent Visa Costs

    A Parent visa application costs £1,048 if made from within the UK, and £1,538 if made from outside it.

    Parent Visa Documents

    The documents you need to include for a Parent visa may include (but not be limited to) the following:

    • Valid passport or other travel ID
    • Details of any previous immigration applications you’ve made
    • Proof of the relationship between you and your child
    • Documentary proof that you are, or will be, taking an active role in your child’s upbringing, particularly ones from the government, schools, courts or medical professionals
    • Proof that you can speak English to the minimum standard
    • Proof that you can support yourself financially
    • Your tuberculosis test results if you’re from a country where you’re required to take one

    Get in touch with our expert immigration lawyers to learn how to apply for a UK Family Visa. Contact us

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      Child Visa

      The Child visa allows eligible children to join their parents in the UK. A number of requirements apply to this visa, including separate requirements depending on how old the child is and where they were born.

      Child Visa Requirements

      There are a number of different requirements for this visa based on the following:

      • If the applicant is under 18 or over 18
      • If the applicant was born in the UK or outside the UK
      • What kind of immigration permission the applicant’s parent has in the UK

      For this reason, it’s important to ensure that you fulfil the specific requirements for your own situation and ensure that your own family situation means that you’re eligible for this visa type.

      Child Visa Costs

      A Child visa application costs £1,048 if made from within the UK, and £1,538 if made from outside it.

      Child Visa Documents

      The documents you need to include for a Child visa may include (but not be limited to) the following:

      • Valid passport or other travel ID
      • Details of any previous immigration applications you’ve made
      • Proof of relationship between the applicant and their parent
      • Proof of parent’s immigration status in the UK
      • Proof that the applicant doesn’t live an independent life (if relevant)
      • Proof that the applicant is being financially supported by the parent (if relevant)

      Ancestry Visa

      The Ancestry visa can be used by a person whose grandparent was born in the UK to move to and settle in the UK. It is a long-term residence visa that can lead to indefinite leave to remain.

      Ancestry Visa Requirements

      You must meet several specific requirements to be eligible for the Ancestry visa. For example, you must:

      • Be 17 years old or over
      • one of the following:
        • A citizen of a Commonwealth country
        • A British overseas citizen
        • A British overseas territories citizen
        • A British national (overseas)
        • A citizen of Zimbabwe
      • Be able to demonstrate your relationship with your grandparent is genuine
      • Plan to get a job in the UK
      • Have enough money to support yourself and any dependents

      Ancestry Visa Costs

      The Ancestry Visa application fee is £531. You must apply for this visa from outside the UK.

      Ancestry Visa Documents

      You will need to include several documents to prove you meet the requirements for a UK Ancestry Visa. These include:

      • Your birth certificate
      • The birth certificate of the parent and grandparent you are making a claim under
      • The marriage certificates of your parents and grandparents
      • Proof that you plan to find work/that you have work lined up in the UK (e.g job application or offers, or a business plan if you plan to be self-employed)

      The Ancestry Visa lasts for five years.

      After this time, you can either extend it or apply for ILR, provided you meet the settlement requirements.

      Adult Dependent Visa

      The Adult Dependent Relative visa is used by people who need long-term, daily care from their UK-based relative. To be eligible, they must be unable to receive this care in their home country.

      An adult dependent can be an adult child, grandchild, parent or sibling. The carer (called the sponsor) must be either a British nation or settled person.

      Adult Dependent Relative Visa Requirements

      To meet the requirements for this UK visa, the applicant must be able to demonstrate that:

      • They are unable to complete everyday tasks, including household and personal care tasks without help
      • This inability must come from a long-term disability or illness, or age
      • Be unable to receive the care they need in their home country because it either doesn’t exist or they cannot afford it

      The UK family member must show that they are able to financially support you and provide the care you need while you are in the UK.

      This is a permanent type of family-based visa. If granted, the adult dependent relative is able to live in the UK indefinitely without having to extend their visa or apply for settled status.

      Adult Dependent Relative Visa Costs

      People applying to take care of an adult relative in the UK must pay a fee of £3,250 if applying outside the UK, or £1,048 if applying from inside the UK.

      Adult Dependent Relative Visa Documents

      Applicants (or those applying on their behalf) should provide extensive documents which show the relative needs long-term care, and that they are unable to access this in their own country. Examples of these documents include:

      • Medical evidence. This must prove that the applicant has a long term condition, disability, or illness which makes it impossible for them to complete everyday tasks by themselves. This could be a note from a doctor or health professional, proof of examinations, prescriptions, test results, X-rays, etc.
      • Proof that care is unavailable or inaccessible. This must come from either a local health authority, a doctor/health professional, or a local authority in general. Proof of finances can also be used to prove that they are unable to afford care, if this is the basis of the application.
      • Documents that show the UK-based relative is able to provide this care. This could be bank statements, payslips, a job contract. A letter should also be included which shows the British relatives’ care plans and willingness to support their relative.

      EU Settlement Scheme Family Permits

      If you’re the family member of someone from the EU, Switzerland, Iceland, Norway or Liechtenstein, you may be able to come to the UK to join them under certain circumstances as part of the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS).

      EU Settlement Scheme Family Requirements

      To be eligible for this immigration pathway, all of the following must apply:

      • Your family member started living in the UK by 31 December 2020
      • They have settled or pre-settled status
      • You’re joining them in the UK on or after 1 April 2021

      You will be able to apply through this route as a spouse, civil partner, unmarried partner, or as a child, grandchild or great-grandchild under 21 years old. You may also apply as a dependent parent, grandparent or grand-parent in certain circumstances.

      Specific requirements for different types of family permit will depend heavily on the type of relationship involved, the immigration status of the UK-based family member, and multiple deadlines for the EUSS.

      EU Settlement Scheme Family Costs

      It’s free to apply for an EU Settlement Scheme family permit.

      EU Settlement Scheme Family Documents

      The documents you will need to provide for a EUSS family permit include (but may not be limited to) the following:

      • A valid passport, travel document or national identity card
      • Proof of your relationship with your family member
      • Proof of your family member’s eligibility for the scheme, such as proof of theory immigration status or immigration history
      • Details of any previous criminal convictions

      Family Visit Visas

      If you need to come to the UK to visit a family member for a temporary period, you may be able to apply for a Family Visitor Visa.

      This type of entry clearance falls under the ‘Standard Visitor Visa’ category.

      This type of visa is temporary, and it lets the holder visit their UK-based family for a specified period. This is usually 6 months or less. During their visit, the visa holder cannot work or conduct business, and they cannot switch onto any other visa category.

      Family Visit Visa Costs

      A UK Family Visit costs £100. In some specific circumstances, this can be higher. This is the case if it needs to be extended. This usually happens when you need to visit a family member for ongoing medical reasons, over a period of years.

      Family Visit Visa Documents

      The documents you need to submit for a Visit Visa are as follows:

      • Your passport/a valid travel document
      • Financial documents that prove you can support yourself in the UK (like bank statements, wage slips, proof of income etc)
      • Proof that you will return to your home country (e.g a mortgage, a job, a place on a course, a family etc).

      Adult Dependant Relative Visa

      The Adult Dependant Relative Visa allows eligible adult dependents of a British citizen, a person settled in the UK, or someone with refugee or humanitarian protection status to join their family member in the UK.

      This visa is intended for individuals who require long-term care and support due to serious illness, disability, or age and who are unable to receive the required level of care in their home country.

      Note that applicants don’t need to prove their level of English or pass the Life in the UK Test.

      Adult Dependant Relative Visa Costs

      An Adult Dependant Visa costs £3,250 if you’re applying from outside the UK and £1,408 if you’re applying from inside the UK.

      Adult Dependant Relative Visa Documents

      The documents you need to submit for an Adult Dependant Relative Visa are as follows:

      • Your passport or a valid travel document
      • Financial documents that prove you or your UK family carer can support yourself in the UK (like bank statements, wage slips, proof of income etc) without relying on public funds.
      • Your TB test results, if you come from a country where TB is common. Check the UK government website for the updated official list of these countries.

      PBS Dependant Visa

      The PBS Dependant Visa is a type of visa available under the Points-Based System (PBS) in the UK. It is designed for family members or dependents of individuals who hold certain types of visas within the PBS, such as Tier 1, Tier 2, Tier 4, or Tier 5 visas.

      This visa allows eligible dependents to join their family member in the UK during their period of stay. The main visa holder needs to currently be a PBS migrant or in the process of applying to become one for points-based visas like the Skilled Worker Visa or Health and Care Visa.

      PBS Dependant Visa Costs

      The PBS Dependant Visa fees are subject to change, and depend on the visa category you are applying for.

      PBS Dependant Visa Documents

      Proof of the eligible relationship with the PBS visa holder, such as for spouses:

      • Marriage or civil partnership certificates
      • Joint bank statements with both names
      • Council tax bills shared under both names
      • Utility bills shared under both names
      • Personal bank or building society statements covering the preceding 90 days
      • In specific situations, a Criminal Record Certificate (as outlined below) Confirmation of adequate maintenance funds The PBS worker’s Certificate of Sponsorship (if relevant)

      Family Reunion Visa

      A Family Reunion Visa is a type of visa that allows certain family members of individuals who have been granted asylum or humanitarian protection in a country to join them in that country.

      The purpose of this visa is to reunite families who have been separated due to conflict, persecution, or displacement.

      Family Reunion Visa Costs

      If the applicant is using the visa to reunite with asylum seekers in the UK, then the visa application fee is nullified, and free of charge. Check the UK’s official government website for further details on fees depending on your specific situation.

      Family Reunion Visa Documents

      • Passport or official national ID document
      • Marriage certificates
      • Certificate of birth
      • Certificate of adoption
      • Tuberculosis (TB) certificate (based on the applicant’s originating country)
      • Sponsor’s personal details, encompassing their name, birthdate, citizenship, and Home Office reference code
      • A declaration from the sponsor elucidating the conditions that resulted in the candidate being left behind, along with specifics of any recent communication between the sponsor and candidate

      How Can Birmingham Immigration Lawyers Help?

      Are you thinking about applying for a Family visa to join your family member in the UK? Birmingham Immigration Lawyers can help.

      We offer advice packages conducted by our team of Birmingham immigration lawyers and are specifically tailored for those who need advice about joining or accompanying their family to the UK.

      This involves you being paired up with a caseworker, who will assess your eligibility and advise you on your best route and course of action. If you have a specific question or issue, they will work through this with you too. All our advice sessions are untimed, and can take place at our offices in Birmingham, or remotely. As part of our service, your lawyer will put you at ease, and explain any legal jargon you are confused or concerned about.

      We also offer comprehensive and extensive application packages where one of our experienced lawyers will oversee the Family Visa application process from start to finish, including sourcing, gathering and ordering your supporting documents into an Evidence Portfolio for you. Your Birmingham-based lawyer will complete all your application forms on your behalf and write up a Letter of Representation. In this letter, your lawyer argues your case to UKVI, which improves your chances of a successful outcome. Once this has been written, it will be filed with your Evidence Portfolio and application forms, which your lawyer will submit on your behalf.

      If you would like to arrange a session with us, and make the first steps towards making an application to be united with your family in the UK, call us on 0121 667 6530 or reach out to us online today.

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      During this untimed Advice Session with our professional immigration lawyers in London, you will receive our comprehensive advice, completely tailored to your needs and your situation.

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        With our Application Package, your dedicated immigration lawyer will advise you on your application process and eligibility. Your caseworker will then complete and submit your forms to the Home Office on your behalf.

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            By choosing our Appeal Package, you can rely on our lawyers’ legal knowledge and experience to ensure you have the highest chance of a successful appeal. We will also fully represent you in any hearings/tribunals.

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                Related pages for your continued reading.

                Frequently Asked Questions

                The answer to this question depends on the type of Family Visa you are applying under.

                You can work if you live in the UK as a partner or family member of a British citizen or settled person.

                You can also work if you are here under an ancestry claim.

                You are also eligible to take on work if you live in the UK as a dependent of someone with valid entry clearance.

                However, you cannot work as a doctor or nurse on a dependent visa.

                You can work, study or jobseek in the UK as a relative of an EEA national.
                You cannot work while in the UK as a visitor.

                Most Family visa applications will have to be made online through the website.

                You can bring your elderly parent/parents to the UK, but only if they are in need of long-term care which only you can provide. This process is called an Adult Dependent Visa application. This application process is very complicated and competitive. This is because you need to prove that not only is your parent in need of this care but that they absolutely cannot receive this in their home country.

                The answer to this question depends on your situation and the situation of your UK relative.

                You may be able to be granted humanitarian protection or asylum if you can prove that you are unable to live in your home country because you are being persecuted. This persecution can come in the form of religious, racial, political, gender, or orientation-based discrimination and violence. For a successful asylum or humanitarian protection claim, you must be unable to seek protection from your own government.

                If your relative has been granted with leave to remain as a refugee, you may be able to join them under the refugee family reunion route. If not, you can make a separate asylum claim by coming to the UK and lodging one at any port.

                If you have had an application for a Family-based Visa denied, we can assist you.

                We offer a complete appeal service. In this, one of our highly-trained immigration lawyers will assess your grounds of appeal and work with you to create a detailed plan of action.

                They will determine how you should proceed, whether this be an appeal, administrative review, judicial review, or fresh application.

                Depending on the outcome of this decision, they will support you in whatever way they see fit.

                If you lodge an appeal, they will represent you – either by creating a detailed cover letter and documentation bundle, or physically at a tribunal hearing.

                They will also liaise with the upper tier tribunal and the Home Office on your behalf, as well as any immigration judges involved in reviewing your case.

                Once a decision has been reached, your lawyer will inform you of the decision immediately.

                If you want to find out more about our appeal package, get in touch with us by calling us on 0121 667 6530.

                Depending on the reason for your refusal, which will be outlined in your refusal letter, you have a few options to pursue with the help of Birmingham Immigration Lawyers:

                Reapply: If the refusal was due to inadequate documentation or a minor error, you can reapply with improved evidence and addressing the concerns raised in the refusal letter. Birmingham Immigration Lawyers can help you compile your documentation with our application service.

                Appeal: Depending on the type of visa and the country’s immigration rules, you might have the right to appeal the decision. The refusal letter will provide information on how to appeal if applicable. Our lawyers can assist you with this.

                Administrative Review: Some countries offer an administrative review process that allows you to challenge the decision if you believe there was an error in the application assessment.

                Judicial Review: In certain cases, you might consider seeking legal advice to explore the possibility of a judicial review if you believe the decision was unlawful. We can help with this if you decide to pursue a judicial review.