British citizens who have parents living outside the United Kingdom can take them to the UK through the Parent 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 Parent Visa, other types of UK Family visas include:
What is the UK Parent Visa?
UK parent visa, is a type of visa established for cases when a parent wants to join their child who is a citizen or a resident of the United Kingdom with no immigration restrictions. Keep in mind that you can only apply for this type of visa if your child is a dependent UK resident under 18.
How to Apply for a UK Parent Visa?
The UK Parent Visa application process is very similar to the other application processes. It really depends on the way you apply. You will need to apply online if you are applying from outside of the UK. You will also have to complete the application form VAF4A.
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.
UK Parent Visa Requirements
The UK child resident, and the parent that wants to join him / her in the UK, both must fulfill some criteria set by the Immigration Authorities in the UK.
If you are planning to join your dependant child, the main thing you have to know before applying for this type of visa is that if your partner is living together with the child and is a UK resident, then you will have to apply for the UK spouse visa. You can apply for the UK Parent Visa only if you are no longer in a relationship with the other parent of your child residing in the UK.
The other eligibility criteria are as follows:
- Your child must be under 18 on the date you apply, and not live an independent life
- You must be a parent of a British child, or have an indefinite leave to remain
- You need to have shared or sole parental responsibility for your UK resident child
- If you share responsibility, the other parent of the child must not be your partner
- If you share responsibility, the other parent of the child must be a British citizen, or settled in the UK
- Throughout your application you will have to prove that:
- you are taking an active role in your child’s upbringing and plan to continue doing so
- you have a good knowledge of English
- you can financially support yourself and your child in the UK
Parental responsibility requirement
You will have to prove to the consular officer that you are taking an active role in your child’s upbringing and you plan to continue doing so. You will have to prove through documents as:
- School confirmation that you take part in parent evenings and meetings,
- School confirmation that you also take your child to school,
- Confirmation from the dentist that you take your child to appointments.
If your child has been living for too long in the UK and you don’t have any of the above mentioned evidences, then you can just submit pictures of you two whenever you met. You can submit photos that you took your kid to the park, cinema, theater, bookstore, etc. This requirement comes as a result of the Immigration Authorities wishing to know if they are bringing to the UK someone who will really care for their child and take an important role in their child’s upbringing.
UK Parent Visa Financial Requirements
The failure to fulfill the financial requirement is the main reason that many people fail to obtain a UK parent visa. The main reason behind this requirement is that the UK does not want to bring over people that are not capable of financially maintaining themselves, therefore they are requiring from them to be capable to show proof they can earn (or possess) a minimum amount of money.
If you want to join your child in the UK then you will have to prove that you have enough financial funds to sponsor both, you and your child. That is why you must prove that you have an income of at least £18,600 per year. You might also use your saving to prove you have enough funds.
If you are planning to bring to the UK, other children who aren’t British nationals or European Economic Area (EEA) nationals with you, you will have to:
- earn an extra £3,800 per year for your first child
- earn an extra £2,400 per year for each child you have after your first child
Every legal source of income can be counted in order for you to meet the income requirement, as:
- your salary, if you earn 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 will have to submit proof, as:
- bank statements
- 6 months of payslips
- A letter from an employer which includes the job title, the period you have worked there, the current salary and also payslips
Parent Visa Language Requirement
The English language requirement is a very important requirement without the fulfillment of which you cannot obtain a UK parent visa. When you submit your visa application, you will have to submit some document as an evidence of your English knowledge.
You can prove your knowledge in English by:
- submitting a document or academic qualification that was taught or researched in English, which is recognized by UK NARIC as being equivalent to a UK bachelor’s degree or higher
- 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.
The residents of English speaking countries are exempt from English knowledge requirement, as listed below:
- Antigua and Barbuda
- The Bahamas
- New Zealand
- St Kitts and Nevis
- St Lucia
- St Vincent and the Grenadines
- Trinidad and Tobago
Exempted from the English language requirement are also the individuals that belong to one of the categories listed below:
- 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
Parent Visa Fee
Visa fees depend on the way you apply. If you apply outside the UK to join your child, 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.
You will have to pay an extra £1,464 for each dependant you are planning to bring with you to the UK, 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.
Required Documents for Parent Visa Application
For a UK parent visa you will have to submit the common documents that are usually required by applicants, as listed below:
- Valid passport with at least an empty page in order to be able to affix visa
- Previous passports
- 2 passport sized color photos according to the ICAO standards
- Proof of English language requirement (as explained above)
- Proof of financial means (as explained above)
- Proof of parental responsibility as photos of you two together (as explained above)
Aside of these documents you will also have to submit other 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
How Long Does it Take to Get a UK Parent visa?
The fastest way to get an answer for your visa application is to apply in person in the UK, since then you will get an answer regarding your visa application, within a day.
However, the process takes us to 12 weeks to be processed when you apply outside the UK, or up to 8 weeks if you apply within the UK either online or by post.
Still, the 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
In general, if you have applied to join your child, you will get a permit to stay in the UK for 2 years and 6 months. After this period you will have to extend your stay.
UK Elderly Dependent Visa
Whereas, if you are the parent of an independent child residing in the UK, and wish to join him or her because due to your age, physical or mental health, you need somebody to take care of you, then you will have to apply as an adult coming to be cared for by a relative.
To be fully eligible for this type the following requirement must be fulfilled by you and the child you are planning to join in the UK:
- Your child must be over 18 and independent,
- your child must be a British citizen settled in the UK,
- your child and you must fulfill the financial requirement,
- you must show proof that you need long-term care to do everyday personal and household tasks because of illness, disability or your age,
- the care you need is not available in your country of residence.
The child who is sponsoring their parent to join him or her in the UK must be capable of financially supporting the parent, accommodating and caring for him or her without claiming public funds for at least the first five years of stay in the UK. If the applicant has enough savings, even if the child does not have enough financial means to sponsor the parent, they can prove through a bank statement that the parent will not be a burden to the UK public funds, because he or she has enough savings to maintain oneself.
A person who applies as an adult coming to be cared for by a relative does not need to fulfill the English language knowledge requirement.