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Who needs to apply for a family visa?

If you wish to live with a family member in the UK for more than 6 months and you are a non-UK national, you may need to apply for a family visa.

You can apply for a family visa to join your spouse, civil partner, fiancé(e), unmarried partner, child, parent or relative who will provide you with long-term care, so long as you meet the relevant requirements.

The legal requirements that need to be met to be eligible to apply for a spouse visa, fiancé(e) visa, unmarried partner visa and parent visa are contained within Appendix FM. The legal requirements to be eligible to apply for an adult dependant relative visa, child dependant visa, to apply as a victim of domestic violence or abuse or as a bereaved partner were previously also contained within Appendix FM. However, the legal requirements to apply for these visas are now contained within their own Appendix.

Please see below an explanation of the various relationships which may entitle you to apply for a family visa.

What is Appendix FM?

The Immigration Rules contain the framework for immigration applications and claims engaging Article 8 of the ECHR (the right to respect for private and family life). Appendix FM of the Immigration Rules provides routes to entry clearance based on family life.

If you wish to make an application under Appendix FM, it is useful to consult the Home Office guidance on the rules. The guidance gives a detailed explanation of the requirements that must be met and advises on the documents that should be provided in support of the application. Links to different aspects of the guidance are highlighted below.

Please click here for more information about Appendix FM.

Family visa options

Spouse visa

Spouses or civil partners of UK citizens, or of those who are settled in the UK, may apply under Appendix FM for a spouse visa.

A spouse visa allows an applicant to live with their partner in the UK for up to 30 months before having to apply for further leave to remain.

Please click here to read more about applying for a spouse visa.

Fiancé(e) visa

Fiancé(e)s of UK citizens, or of those who are settled in the UK, may make an application under Appendix FM for a fiancé(e) visa to enter the UK with a view of marrying their sponsor.

Please click here to read more about applying for a fiancé(e) visa.

Unmarried partner visa

Unmarried partners of UK citizens, or of those who are settled in the UK, may make an application under Appendix FM for an unmarried partner visa.

There has been a significant change in the rules in that unmarried partners now do not necessarily need to have lived together for two years for the relationship to be considered ‘durable’, although cohabitation is still a strong indicator of this.

If the applicant and their unmarried partner have been apart for more than 6 months, good reasons must be provided for this.

Please click here to read more about applying for an unmarried partner visa.

Parent visa

If you have a child who is a British citizen or who has settled status in the UK, you may be able to apply to join your child in the UK on a parent visa.

You may also be able to switch in-country from another visa category (e.g. partner, fiancé(e) or spouse) to a parent visa should you meet the relevant requirements.

Please click here to read more about applying for a parent visa.

Adult dependant relative visa

Dependents over the age of 18 who are living overseas and require long term care to do every day personal and household tasks may apply under the adult dependent relative route if they can demonstrate that, as a result of age, illness or disability they require the level of long term personal care that can only be provided in the UK by the relative here and without recourse to public funds.

Please note that these adult dependent visa applications cannot be made in-country. They can only be made from outside the UK. However, one can make an in-country application under this route either outside the rules, or under Immigration Rule 276ADE.

Please click here to read more about applying for an adult dependent relative visa.

Child dependent visa

If you, as a parent, have or are applying for limited leave to remain in the UK, you may be able to apply for a child dependent relative visa for your child. To be eligible to apply for this visa, your current partner must be the child’s other parent, or you have had and continue to have sole responsibility for the child’s upbringing.

If you have been granted indefinite leave to remain in the UK, or you are British and you would like to apply for your child to join you in the UK, a different part of the Immigration Rules will apply to you – Part 8.

An application for indefinite leave to remain as a child is covered by Immigration Rule 298.

Please click here to read more about applying for a family visa for a child.

Victim of domestic violence or abuse

The domestic violence rule applies if you are in the UK as a spouse or civil partner of someone who is British or who has indefinite leave to remain and you have suffered domestic violence. You can apply for indefinite leave to remain straight away.

Any behaviour that is within the definition of domestic violence will satisfy the criteria; this includes violent and non-violent behaviour. You will have to explain when the relationship broke down with your sponsor (partner) and why.

The application form to use is SET(DV) and the application fee for the domestic violence rule application is currently £2,885 for each person unless you do not have enough money to support yourself.

Please click here to read more about applying for indefinite leave to remain as the victim of domestic violence or abuse.

Bereaved spouse

You may be able to apply for indefinite leave to remain in the UK as a bereaved partner.

You do not have to wait until your current visa expires to apply for settlement under this route and you must be in the UK.

Danielle invites you to take a look at her blog, where you will see the diverse range of clients that she has helped.

If you have any questions about the process or would like to apply for a family visa UK, please contact Danielle or call on 020 7267 4133. Danielle will only charge you for the first consultation if you decide to become her client and if she can assist you.

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