It’s a great thing to travel with family, and it can be an even greater thing to offer your family members the same opportunities you have, so we regularly receive the question of whether you can bring your family members to the UK with you. However, while Standard Visitor Visas are not so difficult to apply for, they are only granted for up to 6 months, so if you wish to help your sister move to the UK permanently, you’ll need to apply for a long-term visa, such as a Family Visa.
This is, unfortunately, more difficult to receive as both you and your sister would need to meet several eligibility requirements for this to be a valid option for you. What they are and how you can apply, we’ll look at now.
How to Sponsor Someone for a UK Visa
The person assisting someone to get their visa for the UK is known as the sponsor, and they need to meet several requirements to be eligible for sponsorship. Work visa sponsors, student visa holders sponsoring family and UK residents sponsoring family to come to the UK part-time or permanently, all need to meet different requirements for sponsorship.
However, in most cases, the sponsor will need:
- A legal residence permit for the UK
- Sufficient funds to support their family member joining them
- Suitable accommodation to house their family member joining them
- No criminal record for any serious crimes or immigration crimes
While the sponsor cannot request a visa for the applicant, if they meet all of these criteria, the family member’s application can benefit from an invitation letter from the sponsor, detailing the above with valid supporting evidence such as housing contracts and financial statements.
Requirements for Sponsorship for Family Visa
To sponsor family members to the UK on a Family Visa, you must also have either:
- Irish or British citizenship
- Permanent residency in the UK (ILR)
- Residency as a refugee or protected person
- A Turkish Businessperson visa or Turkish Worker visa
It’s necessary to meet one of these requirements to prove your legal status in the UK as well as your family member’s intent to remain long-term in the UK. However, not every relative or family member is eligible to apply for a Family Visa.
Who is Eligible for Family Visas?
Family Visa is a broad term for four separate visas, each for a different family member, and each with its own strict eligibility requirements.
- Partner or Spouse Visa
- Parent Visa
- Child Dependent Visa
- Adult Dependant Relative Visa
As you can see there is no such thing as a sibling visa, so to bring your sister to the UK permanently, they would need to have a parent in the UK and be eligible to apply for the Child Dependent Visa, or meet the requirements of the Adult Dependant Relative Visa.
Adult Dependant Relative Visa Requirements
To qualify for an Adult Dependant Relative Visa, your sibling needs to have a long-term health condition or be of a certain age that they can no longer take care of themselves and need you, their close family relative, to look after them and provide them with the care they need. It must be proven with official medical documents that the applicant cannot take care of themselves, as well as that they cannot access sufficient medical care in their home country so must come to the UK to be cared for by the sponsor.
The applicant must also be either:
- A parent aged 18 years or over
- A grandparent
- A brother or sister aged 18 years or over
- A son or daughter aged 18 years or over
Therefore, you can sponsor your sister to come to the UK on an Adult Dependant Relative Visa if she is over 18, has a long-term disability and cannot receive care from anyone but you.
Applying for an Adult Dependant Relative Visa
When applying for UK visas, all applications must be submitted online by the applicant themselves. If the applicant has a disability that prevents them from applying themselves or does not have internet access, their application can be assisted by a third party.
When applying for a Family Visa, supporting evidence must be submitted alongside the application and the application fee must be paid. Each Family Visa costs a different amount; the Adult Dependant Relative Visa costs £3,250 to apply from outside the UK, or £404 if your sponsor has protected status in the UK. You cannot switch from a Visitor Visa, so most applications should be done from outside the UK.
Necessary Documents for the Adult Dependant Relative Visa
Documents and supporting evidence that must be submitted include:
- A valid (in-date) passport of the applixant and sponsor
- Proof of relationship between the applicant and sponsor
- Proof of suitable accommodation in the UK
- Proof of sufficient finances to cover care in the UK for at least 5 years (can be from the applicant or sponsor)
- Tuberculosis test results (if from any of the government’s listed countries)
- Details of any criminal history
- Details of any previous immigration applications made
- Certified translation of any supporting documents that are not in English or Welsh. This should include confirmation of the eligibility of the translator
- Photo page and any visa or entry stamps in previous passports
- Proof of the applicant’s disability or illness from a health professional that proves they cannot live independently
- Proof that the care needed is not available or affordable in the applicant’s home country
- Proof that the applicant will be adequately cared for and accommodated during their stay in the UK
- Any other supporting documents that UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) has asked for
The Adult Dependant Relative Visa can be difficult to apply for, so each piece of evidence needs to clearly demonstrate the necessity of the applicant’s care in the UK. Documental evidence can come in many forms, however, for a successful result, each piece of evidence submitted should be from an official source to prove the validity of the document.
For example, to prove your relationship, you should submit your and your sibling’s birth certificates to show you have the same parents and are therefore siblings. To prove you have sufficient finances, you can submit bank statements from savings accounts or your sponsor’s payslips. Medical evidence must be provided by medical professionals with stamps and signatures to prove their reliability.
How Long Your Sibling Can Stay in the UK as an Adult Dependant Relative
It can take up to 6 months to receive a response on your application; if your sibling’s applicant is successful, they will be invited to their nearest embassy to have their biometric information taken – their photo and fingerprint – so that their residency permit can be printed. They can then travel to the UK where they can legally reside with the sponsor for as long as their sponsor has permission to stay in the UK. Usually, Family Visas grant permission to also work and study in the UK, however, if the applicant cannot live independently, they also cannot work in the UK as this would break the terms of the agreement.
In most cases, this means the successful applicant is granted indefinite leave to remain, i.e. permanent residency, as their sponsor must have the right to remain indefinitely in the UK to sponsor the applicant. However, this may be different for sponsors with protected status. This also means that if the sponsor were to fail to meet the terms of their residency agreement, for example by committing a serious crime that would make them a threat to British society, they can have their right to remain removed, which may affect the right to remain of the Adult Dependant Relative Visa holder.
However, as adult dependant relatives can usually remain indefinitely, they do not need to apply to extend their Family Visas, and can apply for British citizenship after living in the UK for 10 years, or apply for ILR after 5 years.
Need Visa Help? Contact Synergy Immigration Solutions
There are plenty of documents needed to apply for Family Visas and if the applicant has a health condition, the application process can be all the more difficult. Fortunately, Synergy Immigration Solutions is here to help everyone with their UK visa applications. Contact us now to learn how we can help you.