British citizens who have children living outside the United Kingdom can take them to the UK through the Child Visa, which falls under the Family visa category.
A UK Family Visa, is the type of visa you will need if you want to enter and remain in the UK to live with a family member for more than 6 months. Besides the Child Visa, other types of UK Family visas include:
What is a UK Child Visa?
The UK Child Visa, is a type of visa that allows citizens or residents of the United Kingdom with no immigration restrictions to bring their non-EU child in the UK. Therefore, the main criterion for a child to be eligible for this type of visa, is to have one of their parents already residing in the UK. The requirements for this type of visa depend mostly on whether you were born inside the UK or outside.
How to Apply for a Child Visa?
You will need to apply online if you are applying from outside of the UK. You will also have to complete the VAF4A Appendix 1 application form.
Whereas, if you are in the UK you have two choices. You can apply online, or by post. You can also apply at a premium service center. In order to do so you will have to fill in the form and book an appointment, or make an online application and book an appointment.
If you apply in the UK, upon your application you will receive a letter asking you to provide your biometric information, which means your fingerprints and a photo.
UK Child Visa Requirements
For children born in the UK
If the child was born in the UK then you will be granted by the Home Office, with the same permission to stay as your parent.
You will have to use the form FLR(M) if your parent has a limited permission to stay in the UK:
- as a partner, settling in 2 years
- as a partner, settling in 5 years
Whereas, you will have to use the form FLR(FP) if your parent has a limited permission to stay in the UK:
- as a partner, settling in 10 years
- as a parent, settling in 5 years
- as a parent, settling in 10 years
- on the basis of their private life (10 year route)
For children born outside of the UK
If the child was born outside the UK then your age will determine whether you can apply or not.
- If you are under 18 then you must:
- not be married or in a civil partnership
- not be living an independent life
- be financially supported without claiming the public funds
- One of your parents must also be applying for a visa as a partner joining the other parent or as a parent that has the sole responsibility of you
If you’re over 18 then your parent can include you in their application as a dependant. You can also apply separately, but in both cases you are eligible to apply only if:
- you got permission to enter and remain in the UK for an appointed period of time on a family visa when you were under 18
- you don’t live an independent life
Financial Requirements for Child Visa Application
This requirement has to be fulfilled by the parent who is living in the UK. The UK visa policy has foreseen that for a person to bring a non-EU citizen in the UK, they have to prove they have enough financial funds to sponsor both. Your parent must prove that he or she has an income of at least £18,600 per year. You might also use your savings, if you have any, to prove you have enough funds.
The reason behind this requirement is that the UK doesn’t want to bring people that are not capable of financially maintaining themselves, therefore they are requiring from them (or their sponsor) to be able to earn a minimum amount of money.
If the sponsor parent living in the UK is planning to bring to the UK his or her other children who are not British nationals or EEA nationals, then he or she has to earn extra money for each.
Many people fail to obtain their visas because they cannot fulfill this requirement, to which the Home Affairs gives a lot of importance and attention. The good side of this requirement is that every legal source of income can be counted in order for the parent to meet the income requirement, as:
- salary, if the parent earns it in the UK
- cash savings above £16,000
- pension money
- non-work income, i.e. property rentals or dividends
- In order to prove your income you can have to submit proof, as:
- bank statements of the parent residing in the UK
- 6 months of payslips
A letter from an employer which includes the job title, the period the parent has worked there, the current salary and also payslips
Child Visa Language Requirement
One of the very important UK Family visa requirements is that of English language knowledge. Whether the language requirement applies to you or not, it all depends on your age, since children among other categories are exempt from the fulfillment of this requirement.
Exempt from English knowledge requirement are also the residents of the countries listed below, despite of their age:
- Antigua and Barbuda
- the Bahamas
- New Zealand
- St Kitts and Nevis
- St Lucia
- St Vincent and the Grenadines
- Trinidad and Tobago
Aside of children, the applicants that belong to one of the categories listed below are also exempt from this requirement:
- Applicants over 65,
- Applicants coming to be cared for by a relative,
- Applicants with a physical or medical condition that prevents them from meeting the requirement.
If you will have to prove your language you can do that by taking an approved English language test and passing it with at least a CEFR level A1 in speaking and listening.
Here you can find a list of approved English language tests and providers.
Visa fees depend on the way you apply. If you apply outside the UK to join your parent, you will have to pay a fee of £1,464. Whereas if you apply in the UK online or by post the fee will cost to you £993, and £1,583 if you apply in the UK in person with the premium service.
Even if you are applying as a dependant added to the application of your other parent, you will still have to pay the fee of £1,464 if you apply outside the UK, £993 if you apply in the UK online or by post and £1,583 if you apply in the UK in person with the premium service.
In order to be able to apply for a UK child visa, you need to submit some documents that are commonly required for every type of visa, aside of the supporting document. The main documents that you will have to submit are the following:
- Valid passport with at least an empty page in order to be able to affix visa
- previous passports
- 2 passport sized color photos
- Proof of English language requirement
- Proof of financial means
- Proof of relationship with your UK residing parent, as photos of you two together, etc.
You will also have to submit supporting documents that will give the following information:
- Your full name
- your date of birth
- details of any previous immigration applications, if any
- details of any criminal convictions, if any
- your national insurance number, if any
- your parents’ date of birth and nationality if you’re applying from outside the UK
- your tuberculosis test results if you’re from a country where you have to take the test
- You will have to provide a translation of any document that isn’t in English or Welsh
Application Processing Time
Usually the process takes up to 12 weeks to be processed, or up to 8 weeks if you apply within the UK either online or by post. On the other hand, if you apply in person in UK then you will get an answer regarding your Spouse Visa application, within a day
However, application processing might take longer if:
- you do not meet the income requirement
- cannot prove your English knowledge
- need to attend an interview
- have a criminal record
- haven’t provided all of the required documents
If your application gets approved, you will receive a biometric residence permit which will be valid for 2.5 years. You will have to apply for its extension before it expires. Under this biometric residence permit you will be able to study, and work once your reach age.