Bringing your immediate family members with you to the UK is possible with a few different visas, however, this covers your children and your partner. Bringing your parents to the UK is a more difficult process unless they meet specific eligibility requirements. For a short-term stay in the UK, your parents can easily apply for the Standard Visitor Visa, but for long-term residence, they’ll need to apply for one of two Family visas, which is much harder.
Let’s look at the eligibility requirements and how to apply, so you can understand how it might be possible for you to bring your parents to the UK.
Bringing Your Parents to the UK: Standard Visitor Visa
Most nationals need to apply for a Standard Visitor Visa to come to the UK for a period of less than 6 months, although citizens of some countries, including the UK, Ireland, EU and USA do not. However, if they have a criminal record, they should still apply for a Visitor visa to ensure they are not refused entry at the border.
If you would like to bring your parents to the UK for a visit of less than 6 months, they can apply for a Visitor visa online. You cannot request the visa for them, but you can assist with their application by writing an invitation letter to them or the Home Office which, along with supporting documents, can help prove they will have suitable accommodation for the duration of their stay in the UK.
When applying for a Visitor visa, the applicant must show their intention to leave the UK at the end of their stay i.e. by showing onward travel tickets, so Visitor visas cannot be switched to Family visas and only extended except in very particular circumstances.
As this is a short-term option, to bring your parents to the UK permanently, the best option is to apply for a Family visa.
To bring family members to the UK on a Family visa, you as their sponsor need to meet certain eligibility requirements. Being their sponsor does not mean you have to cover your family members’ financial costs for their application or their stay, but you will support their application with any necessary documents.
The sponsor must have either:
- Irish or British citizenship
- Indefinite leave to remain (ILR) also known as settled status or permanent residency
- Protected status
- Turkish Businessperson or Turkish Worker visa
If you have one of these statuses, you may sponsor family members to the UK on a Family Visa. If you are a Student visa holder or have a UK work permit, you can also bring close family to the UK, but they must apply as your dependents, not with a Family visa.
Not every family member can apply for Family visas. Family visas include:
- Partner or Spouse visa
- Parent visa
- Child Dependant visa
- Adult Dependant Relative visa
You can, therefore, bring your parents to the UK to join you, but there are numerous requirements they must meet in order to be eligible.
Bringing Your Parents to the UK: Parent Visa
For your parents to join you in the UK permanently, you, the sponsor, must:
- Be under 18 years old when the application is first made
- Be a legal UK resident
- Live in the UK
- Live with your parent or in an educational facility such as a boarding school
- Not live independently i.e. work, live alone or be married or in a civil partnership
If you meet these requirements, your parent must:
- Be living in the UK legally and have sole parental responsibility
- Being living in the UK legally and have shared parental responsibility but not be in a relationship with the other parent
- Have an active role in the child’s upbringing
If your parent lives in another country and is applying to come to the UK for the first time, they can still apply for a Parent visa, however, they must:
- Prove they will take on parental responsibility and be active in the child’s upbringing. Evidence should be a solicitor’s letter signed by both parents
If you are over 18 or both of your parents live outside of the UK, you cannot apply for a Parent visa, however, an Adult Dependant Relative visa may be applicable. If you do meet the above eligibility requirements, your parent will need to pay the application fee and submit their application online with the necessary accompanying documents.
How Much is a Parent Visa?
The application fee for a Parent visa is:
- £1,538 to apply from outside the UK
- £1,048 to apply from inside the UK
First-time applicants will also have to pay the immigration health surcharge of £1,872, and £1,560 when extending.
Applications submitted outside the UK will take up to 24 weeks to process and those from inside the UK will take up to 8 weeks to process. The application process time may be extended if the Home Office requests more information or an interview with the applicant.
How Long Can You Stay in the UK on a Parent Visa?
Most Family visas are issued for up to 2 years and 9 months for the first time. When Family visas are extended, the applicant is issued a further 2 years and 6 months, after which they are eligible to apply for indefinite leave to remain to be able to reside in the UK permanently.
During the visa holder’s time in the UK, they may live, work and study in the UK lawfully.
Bringing Your Parents to the UK: Adult Dependant Relative Visa
If your parents are not eligible for the Parent visa, they may be eligible for the Adult Dependant Relative visa. However, for this visa, they must:
- Be a brother or sister, parent, grandparent or son or daughter, over the age of 18, of the family member in the UK
- Prove they cannot live independently
- Prove they have a disability or illness or are of an age that means they cannot look after themselves
- Prove that sufficient care is not accessible, available or affordable in their home country
- Prove their relative in the UK will be able to sufficiently accommodate and care for them during their stay in the UK
- Prove sufficient finances will be available to them in the UK to cover any costs of care for the first 5 years of their stay in the UK
This visa is therefore there to enable care for family members who can no longer look after themselves and need to join their relative in the UK to have their daily needs met.
How Much is an Adult Dependant Relative Visa?
The Adult Dependant Relative Visa costs:
- £3,250 if you’re applying from outside the UK
- £1,048 to apply from inside the UK if your relative has protected status
- £404 to apply from outside the UK if your relative has protected status
It is unlikely you’ll need to pay the immigration health surcharge, but you can check if you need to pay in advance.
How Long Can You Stay in the UK on an Adult Dependant Relative Visa?
Most Family visas are issued for less than 2 years and 9 months, however, the Adult Dependant Relative visa is usually issued for at least 5 years, or the same amount of time as their relative in the UK. Since the visa sponsor must have permanent residency or citizenship, adult dependant relatives will thus have permission to stay in the UK indefinitely. Therefore the Family visa does not need to be renewed in this case.
However, if their relative has protected status, their residence permit may differ slightly.
Synergy Immigration Solutions – UK Visa Specialists
UK visa applications can be tricky. Especially if you’re not sure which one to apply for or how to help elderly or disabled relatives with their applications. Thankfully, Synergy Immigration Solutions is here to help everyone with their UK visa applications for work, study, joining family members or gaining permanent residency.
Contact us today to learn how we can help you with your UK visa application.