Family members of UK citizens and residents

Do You Want to Bring your Dependant to live with you in the UK?

Individuals wishing to come to the UK on the basis of their relationship to a British citizen or person present and settled in the UK must apply for entry clearance to enter the UK in that capacity. Non- EEA citizens and visa nationals do not have an automatic right to settle in the UK on the basis of their relationship.

If you are applying to enter the UK as the partner or child of a British citizen or a person who is settled here, you may be granted immediate permission to settle here permanently.

 Spousal visa: spouses & civil partners

The purpose of the fiancé(e) or proposed civil partner visa is to allow a foreign national to come to the UK to get married or enter a civil partnership in the UK rather than abroad. They are granted six months’ leave to enter during which time they are expected to marry. After this period, or once the parties are married, the applicant can apply for a spouse or civil partner visa which is valid for 2 years.

If the couple have not married or entered a civil partnership during that period they must show ‘good cause’ why the marriage or civil partnership has not taken place and that it will take place at an early date and can then apply for a further six months’ leave to remain as a fiancé/e or proposed civil partner. The foreign national is not allowed to work during this 6 month period in the UK.

The requirements are set out in paragraph 281 of the Immigration Rules which provides:

(i) (a) the applicant is married to or the civil partner of a person present and settled in the United Kingdom or who is on the same occasion being admitted for settlement; or

(b)(i) the applicant is married to or the civil partner of a person who has a right of abode in the United Kingdom or indefinite leave to enter or remain in the United Kingdom and is on the same occasion seeking admission to the United Kingdom for the purposes of settlement and the parties were married or formed a civil partnership at least 4 years ago, since which time they have been living together outside the United Kingdom; and

(b)(ii) the applicant has sufficient knowledge of the English language and sufficient knowledge about life in the United Kingdom, unless he is under the age of 18 or aged 65 or over at the time he makes his application; and

(ii) the parties to the marriage or civil partnership have met; and

(iii) each of the parties intends to live permanently with the other as his or her spouse or civil partner and the marriage or civil partnership is subsisting; and

(iv) there will be adequate accommodation for the parties and any dependants without recourse to public funds in accommodation which they own or occupy exclusively; and

(v) the parties will be able to maintain themselves and any dependants adequately without recourse to public funds; and

(vi) the applicant holds a valid United Kingdom entry clearance for entry in this capacity.

Marriage to a British national

An individual may apply for a spousal visa if they are married to someone with indefinite leave to remain in the UK (settled status) or someone who is a British citizen. Following changes made last year, both parties must now be 21 years of age in order to qualify for a spousal visa. There may be instances where an application can still be made if one of the parties does not meet the age criteria however; this requires a case specific evaluation with our immigration lawyers.

If successful, the visa will be granted for a two year probationary period. In some cases, the period may be shorter requiring the individual to apply for an extension of leave. Once the two year probationary period has been completed, the individual can apply for indefinite leave to remain provided they satisfy the criteria.

 English Language Requirement

 From 29 November 2010, any person who wants to enter or remain in the UK as the spouse or partner of a British citizen or a person settled here will need to show that they can speak and understand English.

If you are not a national of a majority English-speaking country or do not have a degree taught in English you will need to pass an acceptable English language test with one of our approved test providers.

  If your marriage, civil partnership or other relationship ends

This page is for people who have been given permission to enter or remain in the UK as the partner of a British citizen, a person who is settled here or a migrant who has temporary permission to stay here. It explains what you should do if your relationship with your partner ends.

By ‘partner’ we mean husband, wife, civil partner, unmarried partner or same-sex partner.

Partners of British citizens and people who are settled here

If your relationship ends while you have temporary permission to stay in the UK – that is, during your two-year probationary period before you can apply to live here permanently – you should tell the UKBA about the change in your circumstances and whether you intend to leave the UK. Since you no longer meet the requirements of the Immigration Rules under which you were given permission to stay here, you may consider whether that permission should be cancelled.

If you are a British citizen or settled here and your relationship with your partner ends during their probationary period, you should tell the UKBA  that the relationship has ended.

Partners of migrants with temporary permission to stay in the UK

If you have temporary permission to stay in this country as the partner of a migrant who also has temporary permission to stay here, you must leave the UK. This is because you will no longer be meeting the requirements of your permission to stay.

Non-European partners of European citizens

If you are a national of a country outside the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland, and you have come to the UK with an EEA family permit as the partner of an EEA or Swiss citizen, you must leave the country if your relationship with that person ends.

 Family Reunion Policy

The family reunion provisions are contained in paragraphs 352A-352FI of the Immigration Rules.

Family reunion applies to those who families who have broken up with the sponsor fleeing to the UK where he or she subsequently claims asylum. Family reunion is intended to reunite the family with the sponsor who is either a recognised refugee or has been granted humanitarian protection in the UK.  Under this category, only pre existing family members can qualify for family reunion (such as spouses, civil partners, unmarried or same sex partners and minor biological children who formed part of the family unit at the time the sponsor fled and children conceived before the sponsor fled).

The entry clearance officer considering such applications should also consider Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights which guarantees the right to respect for private and family life.

Refugee sponsors who were granted refugee status prior to 30 August 2005 would have been granted indefinite leave to remain in the UK. Applicants joining such sponsors if successful should be granted indefinite leave to enter the UK in line with the sponsor.

Refugee sponsors granted refugee status after this date would be granted five years limited leave to remain in the UK. Applicants seeking to join these sponsors will be granted leave in line with the sponsor and their leave will be subject to review at the expiry of their leave.

There is no fee for applications made under the family reunion policy and the sponsor does not have to meet the maintenance and accommodation requirements.

It should be noted that at present, there is no requirement for applicants to pass the English language test. Also, there is no provision for children under the age of 18 who are recognised as refugees to sponsor their family members to the UK. However, where there are compelling or compassionate circumstances involved, these may be considered by the entry clearance officer.

 Fiancé(e) visas and proposed civil partners

 The purpose of the fiancé(e) or proposed civil partner visa is to allow a foreign national to come to the UK to get married or enter a civil partnership in the UK rather than abroad. They are granted six months’ leave to enter during which time they are expected to marry. After this period, or once the parties are married, the applicant can apply for a spouse or civil partner visa which is valid for 2 years.

If the couple have not married or entered a civil partnership during that period they must show ‘good cause’ why the marriage or civil partnership has not taken place and that it will take place at an early date and can then apply for a further six months’ leave to remain as a fiancé/e or proposed civil partner. The foreign national is not allowed to work during this 6 month period in the UK.

 

The requirements are contained in paragraph 290 of the Immigration Rules which need to be fulfilled in order to enter the UK in this capacity:

(i) the applicant is seeking leave to enter the United Kingdom for marriage or civil partnership to a person present and settled in the United Kingdom or who is on the same occasion being admitted for settlement; and

(ii) the parties to the proposed marriage or civil partnership have met; and

(iii) each of the parties intends to live permanently with the other as his or her spouse or civil partner after the marriage or civil partnership ; and

(iv) adequate maintenance and accommodation without recourse to public funds will be available for the applicant until the date of the marriage or civil partnership ; and

(v) there will, after the marriage or civil partnership, be adequate accommodation for the parties and any dependants without recourse to public funds in accommodation which they own or occupy exclusively; and

(vi) the parties will be able after the marriage or civil partnership to maintain themselves and any dependants adequately without recourse to public funds; and

(vii) the applicant holds a valid United Kingdom entry clearance for entry in this capacity

Once married, the fiancé/fiancée will then be able to apply for a spousal visa which will entitle them to live and work in the UK. In respect of fiancé (e) visas, the applicant is expected to marry the sponsor within 6 months of entry. If the marriage cannot take place during this period, then an application to extend leave should be made explaining the reasons why.

Unmarried and same sex partners

The immigration rules allow for applications to be made to enter or remain in the United Kingdom on the basis of relationships where the couple are not married or in a civil partnership.

Opposite sex couples who are not married are referred to as “unmarried partners”, same sex couples who are not in a civil partnership are referred to as “same sex couples”. The rules are the same whether an unmarried or same sex partner.

These rules not only apply to people in relationships with British citizens but also to people in relationships with UK permanent residents and to other nationals who have certain types of limited stay in the United Kingdom. There are also very similar provisions for the unmarried and same sex partners of European Economic Area nationals who are living in the United Kingdom. These are dealt with by the European Law concept of “durable relationship”.

The immigration rules require that the couple must be living together in a relationship “akin to marriage or civil partnership” which has continued for two years or more. This is interpreted by the Home Office and embassies abroad to mean two years’ cohabitation and strong evidence of this cohabitation will be needed.

The Immigration Rules now require that any applications by the partners of British citizen or permanent residents must be accompanied by evidence of English language ability. Details for this can be found on the Home Office website.

Applications by unmarried partners and same sex-partners of European Economic Area nationals in “durable relationships” are dealt with under European law as interpreted by the UK’s Immigration (EEA) Regulations 2006. While these Regulations interpret European law to require two years’ cohabitation to qualify as a “durable relationships”, legal arguments can be made to justify applications by individuals who do not meet the cohabitation requirement. We can assist with such applications.

If you plan to make an application yourself you must read the rules and the Home Office policy section thoroughly as this page only provides a very brief overview. The partners of EEA nationals should follow the European guidance specific to them.

The appropriate place to make the application (in the UK or outside), the form to be used, and the length of stay to be granted, all depend on the particular circumstances of the couple.

Many applications fit clearly within the rules but many people do find it difficult to meet the cohabitation requirement or have a difficult immigration history. If this is the case, we can help. If you are in a committed relationship, no situation is hopeless!

Spouses or unmarried partners of EEA nationals

Applicants must apply for an EEA family permit prior to their arrival in the UK. This is normally valid for one year after which the applicant can apply for a UK residence permit, usually issued for five years. An application for indefinite leave to remain can be made after 4 years continuous residence in the UK.

 Family members of EEA nationals

EEA Citizen Family Visa

Family members of EEA citizens enjoy the right of admission to the UK without leave to enter or remain providing they can prove their relationship to an EEA citizen. Normally this will be done though a passport and an EEA family permit, family residence card or permanent residence card.

Member States are compelled to give a person claiming to be a family member without these documents every reasonable opportunity to obtain the relevant documents or have them brought to him or her or to prove by other means that he or she is indeed a family member.

Family members enjoy the same right of initial residence for a period of three months as EEA citizens (without the right to be accompanied by family members).

A family member wishing to travel to the UK can apply to an Entry Clearance Officer (ECO) for a family permit, which will considerably ease passage into the UK. The application is free and the permit must be issued as soon as possible if the person qualifies.

An extended family member is subject to an extensive examination by the ECO, whereas an immediate family member need only furnish evidence of the qualifying relationship with the qualified person and of the fact that the qualified person is or will soon be entitled to reside in the UK under the terms of the Directive.

 Dependant Relative Visas of a Resident in the UK

Parents

You may apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain in the United Kingdom if you are related to a person present and settled here under one of the following circumstances:

•Mother or grandmother who is a widow aged 65 years or over

•Father or grandfather who is a widower aged 65 years or over

•Parents or grandparents travelling together of whom at least one is aged 65 or over

•A parent or grandparent aged 65 or over who has entered into a second relationship of marriage or civil partnership but cannot look to the spouse, civil partner or children of that second relationship for financial support; and where the person settled in the United Kingdom is able and willing to maintain the parent or grandparent and any spouse or civil partner or child of the second relationship

•Parent or grandparent under the age of 65 if living alone outside the United Kingdom in the most exceptional compassionate circumstances and mainly dependent financially on relatives settled in the United Kingdom

•The son, daughter, sister, brother, uncle or aunt over the age of 18 if living alone outside the United Kingdom in the most exceptional compassionate circumstances and mainly dependent financially on relatives settled in the United Kingdom

  – Children  

If you are present and settled in the UK, you may wish for your children (if adopted, it will have to be established whether the adoption is recognised under UK law) to apply for a visa to join you in the UK under one of the following circumstances:
•Both parents are present and settled in the United Kingdom

•Both parents are being admitted on the same occasion for settlement

•One parent is present and settled in the United Kingdom and the other is being admitted on the same occasion for settlement

•One parent is present and settled in the United Kingdom or being admitted on the same occasion for settlement and the other parent is dead

•One parent is present and settled in the United Kingdom or being admitted on the same occasion for settlement and has had sole responsibility for the child’s upbringing

•One parent or a relative is present and settled in the United Kingdom or being admitted on the same occasion for settlement and there are serious and compelling family or other considerations which make exclusion of the child undesirable and suitable arrangements have been made for the child’s care.

Family members also enjoy a right of extended residence while they remain the family member of a qualified person. They can apply for a residence card.

The family members of qualified persons enjoy the same rights to take up activities in Member States. The children of nationals of a Member State who are or who have been employed in the territory of another Member State are entitled to that State’s general educational, apprenticeship and vocational training courses under the same conditions as a national. The child of a national of one Member State who resided in the territory of another Member State may not claim the benefit of that Regulation where a parent no longer residing in the host Member State, last resided there as a worker before the birth of the child.

Family members may be accompanied by their own children who are under 21 or are dependent or by their own direct dependent relatives in the ascending line. However, any of these family members do not have any right under EC law to be accompanied by other family members (e.g. a spouse or civil partner). They would need to rely on the UK immigration rules, which would be difficult as it cannot be said that a person reliant on EEA freedom of movement rights is present and settled in the UK (one of the requirements for most family applications) until that person has acquired the right of permanent residence, usually after five years.

Family members of migrants under the points-based system

 If you are the partner or dependent child under 18 of a migrant who is in or coming to the UK under most categories of the points-based system, you can apply for a visa to join them here.

If you are the partner or dependent child under 18 of a migrant who is in or coming to the UK in most work categories outside the points-based system, you can apply for a visa to join them here.

The migrant worker will need to prove that they can support you and themselves without needing state benefits or other public funds. You will need to show that:

you intend to live with the migrant worker during their stay, and your relationship is genuine (not a ‘marriage of convenience’), if you are their partner; or

you have not formed an independent family unit and are not leading an independent life, if you are their child aged under 18.

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