Joining Family in the UK

Family Visa
Legally reviewed by: Sherena Lawrence

UK Family Visa Applications

If you are hoping to join a family member or spouse for a longer period of time you may want to apply for one of the different categories of UK family visa.

Our expert UK immigration solicitors can guide you through every stage of the family visa application process, helping you settle in the UK. Our immigration solicitors are by your side throughout, from choosing the right visa to processing your application smoothly.

If you wish to travel to the UK and stay for a period under six months, and you are not looking to work in the UK, you can come as a family visitor under a standard visitor visa.

Expert Family Visa Application Services

Making Your UK Family Visa Application Easier

To apply for any UK visa within the family category you need to provide documentation to support the statements you have made on your visa application forms.

The process to apply for a UK family visa is complex, and there is no room for mistakes. The Home Office will decline applications on even the smallest of errors. With our expert UK immigration solicitors on your side, you can be sure that your visa application is as strong as it can be, with all the evidence you need.

Are you the partner or child of a British citizen, or a person present and settled in the UK?

We have a long history of success supporting family and points-based visa applications. Whether it be a UK partner visa application or a UK fiancée visa application you need help with, we are ready to take on your case whenever you are ready. Call or email us today to find out what we can do for you.

If You are Currently in the UK

It is essential to understand that you are not eligible to apply for any UK family visa while you’re still on a visitor visa.

If you are currently in the UK on any other visa you can apply for a family visa from 28 days before your current visa expires. You may also be eligible to switch your current visa into this category, as long as you act before your current visa expires.

If you’re not yet here on another visa we can help you before you travel to the UK. We can speak to you by phone or Skype and go through all the detail of your application remotely.

If you have been in the UK for five years or more we also help you to apply for indefinite leave to remain.

Our immigration solicitors may be able to help you stay in the UK on a family visa, so get in touch today.

Spouse, Fiancé and Civil Partner Visas

You may be able to apply for a visa to join your partner in the UK if they are:

  • A British citizen
  • Settled in the UK with ‘indefinite leave to remain’
  • Living here with refugee status or humanitarian protection

If you are married to your partner you are likely to be eligible to apply for a spouse visa, if you have been living in a genuine relationship for over two years without being married you can apply for an unmarried partner visa.

If you apply in this way, you would be known as the ‘dependant’ and your spouse as the ‘sponsor’. For help with your UK partner visa application, speak to our solicitors.

Proving Your Relationship

To apply for a UK family visa on the basis of a relationship you need to demonstrate you are in a genuine relationship.

To demonstrate that you are in a genuine relationship with your partner you’ll need to share evidence that proves it along with your application.

You’ll need to satisfy the Home Office that you either:

  • Have been in a marriage or civil partnership, recognised by UK law
  • Have been living together for at least two years at the time of application whilst in a relationship, or
  • Are engaged to marry or enter a civil partnership within six months of arriving in the UK

As well as this you need to be able to prove that you have a good knowledge of English and that you can financially support yourself and any of your dependants.

To prove your English language abilities, you will probably need to complete the English language test.

If you want to remain in the UK after you have been in the UK for five years or more on a family visa by applying for indefinite leave to remain you must also meet all these requirements.

UK Family Visa Categories for Children

If you have a child or children you would like to bring to the UK on a family visa, you may be able to apply for a dependent visa on their behalf. There are strict rules in place that you will have to keep in mind when you are looking at applying for a dependent visa.

Firstly, for your children to be granted a dependant visa, one of the below must be true:

  • The whole family are applying for visas at the same time and will be entering the UK at the same time
  • Both parents are present in the UK, with the child joining them from abroad,
  • One parent is present in the UK and the other parent applying for a visa from abroad at the same time as the child

Family visa exceptions apply for one-parent families. These exceptions can be made when you:

  • Are the sole surviving parent
  • Have sole responsibility for the child

Any other exceptional family circumstances will likely be taken into account too.

The parent or parents of the child who this family visa is for don’t need to be UK citizens for children to qualify. Parents can be in the UK on a visa (exceptions do apply) or hold indefinite leave to remain.

UK Dependent Visas

If your partner or parent is a holder of a visa that allows dependents to live with them in the UK you can apply for what is called a UK dependent visa. For adults, we most often help with applications for:

Dependents of settled persons may also apply for British settlement after they have been living in the UK for five years or more.

About the UK Family Visa Application Process

Before You Apply for Your Family Visa

Before you start the application process for your UK family visa, you need to ensure that you meet all the criteria.

You need to be able to prove your relationship to your partner, that you both intend to live together as partners and that the relationship is genuine.

Understanding Visa Processing Times

Unfortunately, all applications take a long time to process, and if your family visa application is denied you may not be able to appeal the decision.

If you are entitled to appeal a refusal, this could take even longer than the initial submission. Such an appeal can take anywhere between 6 and 12 months.

Our immigration solicitors do offer fast track and same-day family visa services, so if you are in a hurry to get an answer, we can help speed up the process.

Exceptional Circumstances

Sometimes individuals who don’t meet the criteria for a UK family visa are still allowed to apply. These exceptions occur when:

  • The applicant has a child in the UK who is a British citizen. This child must have resided in the UK for at least seven years and be unlikely to leave
  • You are able to prove that you would encounter significant difficulties if you and your partner lived in a country other than the UK and that it would be excessively harsh if you were returned
  • It would be in breach of your human rights – specifically your right to have a family and private life in the UK

UK Family Visa Application Support

Help with Family Visa Applications

UK immigration law can be highly complex, especially for families who wish to stay here permanently.

There are lots of different family visas for specific family members and situations. Thankfully our immigration experts are on-hand to give clear advice throughout the visa application process.

We're here for you.