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If you have a child who is a British citizen or who has settled status in the UK, there are provisions in the UK Immigration Rules which enable you to apply to join your child in the UK. If you would like to know more about how to apply please do not hesitate to get in touch.

You will have to provide evidence that you have either (i) sole parental responsibility for the child; or (ii) access rights to the child; and also that you are taking and intend to continue to take an active role in the child’s upbringing. You must be able to financially support yourself and accommodate yourself and any dependants without recourse to public funds. You must also satisfy the English Language requirement.

How can I apply for a parent visa for the UK?

The main issues for applicants will be that they need:

  1. To meet the relationship requirement with the child
  2. Not be in a relationship with the child’s other parent or carer
  3. Provide evidence that they are taking and intend to continue to take an active role in the child’s upbringing.

The parent must be outside the UK, over the age of 18 and able to adequately maintain and accommodate themselves and any dependents on arrival and be able to speak English to an acceptable level (CEFR A1).  The child must be living in the UK, be under the age of 18 and be either British or have settled status in the UK.

How to make the application to join my child in the UK

Applications are made online on an application form and the applicant will have to pay a Home Office fee as well as Immigration Health Surcharge for the use of the National Health Service.  Once the application is successful, the applicant will be granted leave to remain for two and a half years.  Once the application has been submitted and the fees paid, the applicant will be invited to book an appointment at the local Visa Application Centre to enrol for biometrics.  This means giving fingerprints and having their photograph taken.  The applicant will need to take a print out of the online form signed and take it along to the Visa Application Centre together with the supporting documents relevant to the case.

The decision will be made by the Home Office in the UK which is based in Sheffield.  We can assist in selecting the supporting documents as it depends on the facts of each particular case. In any event, all applicants must submit an Appendix 5 (VAF4A) document.

What is sole responsibility and how can I prove it?

Parents can either provide evidence that they have “sole responsibility” for the child; or that the British settled parent with whom the child lives is not their partner but they have direct access to the child.  The meaning of “sole responsibility” is not whether someone has day-to-day responsibility for the child, but whether the parent has continuing control and direction of the child’s upbringing, including making all the important decisions in the child’s life.  This was the test which was set in a case called TD (Paragraph 279(i)E) Sole Responsibility (Yemen) [2006].  In this case the Court listed considerations to be taken into account by decision makers looking at the discretion of who has sole responsibility.  When assisting in making the application, we look at the practical considerations in having sole responsibility for a child living abroad or away from the parent.  The sole responsibility can always be shared between different individuals, especially if a child remains in a different country.

What is Direct Access?

If you do not have sole responsibility, you must demonstrate that you have direct access to the child agreed with the parent or the carer with whom the child normally resides; or as ordered by the Courts in the UK.  It is important to understand that individuals can make their own contact arrangements without having to instruct lawyers and without having to go to Court. The evidence can be in any written form.

Why does the relationship between the applicant parent and the other parent have to break down?

The parent route is not for couples with a child who are continuing to have a genuine and subsisting partner relationship together.  Those in this position must make an application under the partner route.  An applicant cannot apply under the parent route if they are eligible to apply to come to the UK as a partner.

What evidence do I need to submit in support of an application?

Regardless of if you have sole responsibility or shared responsibility, you must demonstrate that you are taking and will continue to take an active role, in the child’s upbringing.  This can be financial support, evidence of visiting, evidence of involvement in school meetings, photographs together, testimony from relatives and friends etc.

How much money do I need in order to make an entry clearance application?

There is no prescribed amount, but there is guidance as to what might constitute “adequate”.

Can a parent of a British child remain in the UK permanently?

Initially, an applicant can stay for two years and nine months and after this they will need to apply to extend the visa.  Once the applicant has lived in the UK continuously for five years, they can apply for indefinite leave to remain.  The applicant cannot include time spent in the UK on any other visa.

Can one switch into a parent visa in the UK?

On occasions, one can apply to switch in country from another category to that of a parent.  For example, if one was permitted to remain in the UK as a partner, fiance or spouse and the relationship broke down.  To be eligible to apply you must satisfy the following requirements:

  1. The child must be either under 18 at the date of the application or has been under 18 when you first granted leave, and not live an independent life
  2. The child must be in the UK as a British citizen, with settled or pre-settled status, or has lived in the UK for seven years continuously, and it would not be reasonable for them to leave the UK.
  3. If the child has pre-settled or settled status, you might also be able to apply under the EU Settlement Scheme
  4. You will need to prove if you share parental responsibility, that the child’s other parent is not your partner and is British, settled or from the EU and has pre-settled status and that the child lives with the other parent and you have access to the child as agreed with other parent or by a Court Order.

Providing documentary evidence that you are taking an active role in the child’s upbringing and plan to continue doing so is very important. You can stay in the UK for two years and nine months on this visa and after that you can apply to extend.

Danielle is an experienced Immigration Solicitor and together with her team of Immigration Solicitors, she will help you to provide the correct supporting documentation and seek to make the process as clear and straightforward as possible. If you would like Danielle and her team to assist with your application, or you have a general query please do not hesitate to call us on 020 7267 4133.

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

If you have any questions about the process or would like to make a parent visa application, please contact Danielle or call us 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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