The UK Parent visa is for foreign parents of a British minor. This visa allows you to live, work and take care of your child in the UK. Our immigration specialists discuss the intricacies of the Parent visa and how you can get one.
What is the UK Parent visa?
Under the Family visa category, you are able to apply as a parent of a British child who is a minor. If you are not a British citizen, but your child is through their other parent, then the Parent visa allows you to come to, or remain in, the UK to care for your child. This visa is for those who are not married to or in a relationship with the child’s British parent, or another British citizen, and therefore cannot qualify for a spouse or partner visa.
It’s important to note that this is different from a Parent of a Child Student visa. This visa is for parents of international students under the age of 18 who are attending primary or secondary school in the UK.
You can also switch to a Parent visa if you were in the UK on a spouse or partner visa and the relationship ended. This visa grants you limited leave to remain in the UK in order to maintain your relationship with your child, if all the requirements are met.
UK Parent visa requirements
There are several requirements that you need to meet in order to be eligible for a Parent visa, including parental responsibility, relationship, English language and financial requirements.
If you’re eligible to apply as a partner, you must do that instead of applying as a parent.
Parental responsibility requirement
The complexity of this visa comes in when you have to prove you have sole parental responsibility for your child. If the child’s British parent is deceased, then you will not have to prove this. However, if the other parent is still alive you must show that they have relinquished all parental responsibility of the child.
Sole responsibility is not the same as sole custody. In the eyes of UKVI even if you have sole custody, but the other parent has any sort of parental responsibility or input in the child’s life, there is still shared responsibility.
If you share parental responsibility, there are a few stipulations that need to be taken into consideration. The child’s other parent must either:
- Be a British or Irish citizen or,
- Have settled in the UK – for example, they have indefinite leave to remain (ILR) or have settled status or,
- Be from the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein and have pre-settled status – they must have started living in the UK before 1 January 2021.
If the child lives with their other parent or carer, you must have physical access to the child, as agreed with the other parent or carer or by a court order.
You must also provide evidence that you are taking, and intend to continue to take, an active role in your child’s upbringing.
Relationship requirements when applying from outside the UK
You must be over the age of 18 and must also satisfy the following relationship requirements with regard to your child. They must either be:
- A British or Irish citizen or,
- Settled in the UK – for example, they have ILR or have settled status or,
- From the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein and have pre-settled status – they must have started living in the UK before 1 January 2021
Your child must also:
- Be under 18 on the date you apply
- Be living in the UK
- Not be married or in a civil partnership
Relationship requirements when applying from within the UK
When you are applying from within the UK, it could be because the relationship with the child’s British parent ended and you will need a different visa in order to remain in the UK with your child.
When applying for limited leave to remain in the UK both you and your child must be in the UK. However, you must not be in the UK on a Visitor visa or on a visa that has been granted for six months or less.
Your child must:
- Be under the age of 18 years at the date of application
- Not be leading an independent life if they have already turned 18 since you were first granted entry clearance
- Be living in the UK and,
- Be a British citizen or settled in the UK, or
- Have lived in the UK continuously for at least seven years immediately preceding the date of application
The parent or carer with whom the child normally lives must:
- Be a British citizen in the UK or settled in the UK
- Not be your spouse or partner (which here includes a person who has been in a relationship with the applicant for less than two years prior to the date of application)
You must provide evidence that you have either:
- sole parental responsibility for the child, or that the child normally lives with you; or
- direct access (in person) to the child, as agreed with the parent or carer with whom the child. normally lives or as ordered by a court in the UK.
You must also prove that you are taking, and intend to continue to take, an active role in your child’s upbringing.
There is no financial requirement for a Parent visa but you must be able to prove that you are able to adequately maintain and accommodate yourself and any dependants in the UK without needing public funds.
You must also prove that you will provide appropriate accommodation in the UK for your family. This includes family who are part of your household but are not included on your application.
English language requirement
To meet the English language requirement you must fulfill one of the following:
- Be from a qualifying English language speaking country
- Pass an English language test in speaking and listening at a minimum of level A1 of the CEFR at an approved testing facility
- Have a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree, or a PhD awarded by a UK educational institution
You will be exempt from meeting the English language requirement if:
- You are 65 years old or over
- You have a physical or mental disability which prevents you from meeting the requirement
- There are exceptional circumstances which prevent you from being able to meet the requirement prior to entry to the UK
If you are switching to the visa from within the UK or extending your visa, and you have met this requirement in a previous application, you will have to provide documentation of this with your new application.
How long you can stay on a UK parent visa
Your visa will be granted for 33 months and you can apply to extend your stay after this. If you extend your family visa or switch to this visa from a spouse or partner visa, you can stay in the UK for two and a half years.
This visa is a path to settlement in the UK. When you have been in the UK for five continuous years, you will be able to apply for ILR. Once you have held ILR for 12 months, you will be eligible to apply for British citizenship if you meet the other requirements.
Applying with other children
You can add other children to your application as dependants if one of the following applies:
- They are under 18 on the date you apply
- They were under 18 when they were first granted leave on a family visa if you are in the UK
They must also:
- Live with you, unless they’re living away from home in full-time education – for example, at boarding school or university
- Not be married or in a civil partnership
UK Parent visa costs
The cost for a Parent visa differs depending on if you’re applying from outside or from within the UK.
|Outside the UK||Within the UK|
|Application fee – 18 and over||£ 1,846||£ 1,048|
|Application fee for dependants (per person)||£ 1,846||£ 1,048|
|Immigration Health Surcharge – (per adult for the duration of the visa)||£ 1,872*||£ 1,560*|
|Immigration Health Surcharge – (per child for the duration of the visa)||£ 1,410*||£ 1,175*|
*The IHS is due to be increased soon, from £624 to £1,035 per person per year.
UK Parent visa processing times
If you’re applying from within the UK, the fastest way to get an answer about your application is to submit your application in person. You will get a decision within a day.
If you’re applying from within the UK via post or online, it will take up to eight weeks.
Applying from outside the UK means that you could wait up to 12 weeks for a decision.
If you need to apply for a Parent visa, our OISC-registered UK immigration consultants will be able to help you determine if you qualify and will guide you through this complicated process.
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