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In exceptional circumstances, the UK Immigration Rules allow non-European nationals to apply for leave to remain in the United Kingdom on the basis of their relationship as a ‘dependent adult relative’ of someone with settled status or British Nationality.

Who should apply?

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 visa 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.

If you are the parent, grandparent, brother, sister or adult child of someone with settled status in the UK or who is a British Citizen, you may be able to apply for Leave to Remain in the UK if you can prove that there are exceptional circumstances.

Exceptional circumstances usually mean that you require long term care from your relative in the UK due to age, illness or disability. You must be able to prove that the care can only be provided by the relative in the UK, and that you are unable to obtain the same level of care in your current country of residence. You must also be able to prove that the carer in the UK can support you financially and by way of accommodation.

Please note that these adult dependent visa applications (leave in the UK) cannot be made in-country. They can only be made from outside the UK.


There are a number of requirements that apply to adult dependent relatives under Appendix FM:

  1. The applicant must be outside the UK;
  2. The applicant cannot be the subject of a deportation order;
  3. The applicant cannot have been convicted of an offence for which they have been sentenced to a period of imprisonment of one year or more, unless a period of 10 years has passed since the end of the sentence;
  4. The applicant cannot have been convicted of an offence for which they have been sentenced to a period of imprisonment of less than one year, unless a period of 5 years has passed since the end of the sentence;
  5. The applicant cannot be of bad character, for example by their associations, or other reasons;
  6. The applicant must not have failed without reasonable excuse to attend an interview, provide information, provide physical data, or undergo a medical examination or provide a medical report when requested to do so by the Home Office;
  7. The applicant must not be a registered sex offender who has failed to comply with any notification requirements; and
  8. The applicant must be a parent, a grandparent, a brother or sister, or a son or daughter of the sponsor.

Further, the sponsor must be either a British citizen, a refugee, or settled in the UK.

Requirements for an adult dependent visa and COVID-19

Arguing the cases of adult dependent relatives to join a British citizen is of particular interest because the provisions of care in a home country must be reasonable both from the perspective of the provider and from the perspective of the applicant. In making applications during Covid-19, we consider if it is reasonable for a person in our client’s position to receive this care in a country that is struggling to provide health services because of the Pandemic, and ask the Secretary of State to consider the conditions in the applicant’s country of origin.

How we can help

Danielle Cohen Solicitors has acted for an increasing number of adult dependent relatives who wish to remain living in the United Kingdom with their British family members. We pride ourselves in being able to promote the best interests of, for example, the grandchildren who would benefit from their grandparents remaining in the UK. It is our argument that the consideration of the children’s best interests should be evaluated together with other factors, sometimes leading to the finding of “exceptional circumstances” even if the Rules themselves cannot be satisfied.

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Adult dependent relatives under the European Regulations

The relevant regulation is Regulation 7(1)(c). This provides that for the purpose of the EU Regulations, dependent direct relatives in the ascending line of the spouse or civil partner of the EU national should be treated as family members. The test of dependency has been considered on a number of occasions by the Court of Justice of the European Union.

Applications will usually succeed if enough evidence of material or emotional support is provided and if it is demonstrated that having regard to the financial and social conditions, the dependent relative would not be in a position to support himself/herself without the EU worker’s help. The need for material support must exist in the state of origin of the relative, or the state where they came to be at the time when they joined the community member.

Questions and answers about adult dependent relative visas

Can I bring my parent to the UK under this route?

Sponsoring parents to live permanently in the UK can be difficult, as the adult dependent relative requirements are difficult to satisfy. Since 2012 the focus of the category has shifted to considering the health and living conditions of the applicant overseas, and an application may be allowed under the rules due to the exceptional circumstances of the applicant.

What should I do if the dependent visa is refused?

You are able to lodge an appeal, as the application may be successful if the entry clearance decision causes an interference with the enjoyment of private and family life, which is sufficiently serious as to engage Article 8(1) of the ECHR.

The decision in TZ (Pakistan) and PG (India) v SSHD confirms that “where a person satisfies the Rules, whether or not by reference to an Article 8 informed requirement, then this will be positively determinative of that person’s Article 8 appeal, provided their cases engages Article 8(1) for the very reason that it would then be disproportionate for that person to be removed”.

Can I make an application in country under the adult dependent relative route?

One can make an in country application under this route either outside the rules, or under Immigration Rule 276ADE. This rule provides that a person should be granted leave to remain if there are significant obstacles to the applicant’s integration into the country to which she will have to go if required to leave the UK.

We assist our clients with such applications by demonstrating significant obstacles regarding the applicant’s health, and that integration would not be possible in their home country. During Covid-19, we have successful in arguing that vulnerable elderly people should be granted leave to remain in the UK given the need to isolate.

Alternatively, the applicant may argue that they have a family life with their sponsor in the UK, and therefore their application should be considered in respect of their rights under Article 8.

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 would like further information about adult dependent relative visas, please contact Danielle and her team of Immigration and Human Rights lawyers on 020 7267 4133 who will be able to assist you.

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