Applying for a visa to the UK can be difficult, especially if you’re trying it alone and from another country. It can be useful to get the help of a family member, especially one in the UK. However, how much they can help you with your application depends on what visa you’re applying for.
For Visitor Visas, your friend or family member who is resident in the UK can assist with documents for your application, such as providing evidence and assisting with the finances for your trip to the UK. But for Family Visas, the onus is largely on the applicant to provide documents to support their visa application.
If you need help with your visa application, it can be useful to enlist the help of a visa agency, such as Synergy Immigration Solutions. They have all the knowledge and expertise needed to help with any visa application, as well as apply for a sponsorship licence for work visas.
Let’s look into how to get a visa for a family member in more detail.
Can You Get a Visa for a Family Member?
You cannot request a visa for a family member; they will have to apply on their own behalf. However, if the family member is a minor or has a disability that stops them from being able to apply themselves, you can complete their application for them.
For Visitor Visas, you can assist in the visa application process for your family member by writing a letter to the immigration authorities to explain your relationship with the person. This letter should include evidence that they will stay with you and have reason to leave at the end of their stay to return to their home country. You can also provide bank statements and evidence of income if you are planning to financially support the family member visiting.
These bank statements should make it clear that you have sufficient funds to continue supporting yourself and any dependents, pay your rent, mortgage or bills, and still have enough money to provide for the family member who is visiting you. You should include comprehensive details of any plans you have together during their stay, to ensure that your cost calculation is as accurate as possible. You will also have to provide an identity document to prove you are a legal resident of the UK.
Visitor Visas are only valid for a maximum of 6 months and are not necessary for EU citizens. So if your family member will be staying for more than 6 months, they’ll need to apply for a Family Visa. Which Family Visa they apply for depends on what relation they are to you.
What Family Members Can You Bring to the UK?
Family Visas in the UK refer to four separate visas for different family members. The family members must be immediate relatives i.e. partners, parents, or children, unless they are dependent on care.
Family Visas include:
- Partner or Spouse Visa
- Parent Visa
- Child Dependent Visa
- Adult Dependant Relative Visa
Therefore, siblings (brothers and sisters), grandparents, grandchildren, cousins, aunts and uncles cannot apply for Family Visas unless they are adults who require care.
A Partner or Spouse Visa is for a partner, married partner, or partner in a civil union to come to stay in the UK. Partners must be able to prove they have been living together for at least 2 years prior to the application or that you intend to get married or enter a civil partnership within 6 months of arriving in the UK.
Parents can only apply to care for their child in the UK if their child is under 18 years old when the application is made, or over 18 but not living an independent life i.e. married or working.
The Child Dependent Visa is also only for children under 18, or those not living independent lives.
Adult dependant relatives must also provide evidence that they require care that can only be provided by their relative in the UK.
UK Family Visa Requirements
The family member in the UK will be known as the sponsor for the Family Visa. They do not have to provide financial assistance if not specified in the application, however, they must intend to live with the applicants. Each sponsor of a Family Visa must be a legal resident of the UK.
This means they must have:
- British or Irish citizenship
- Permanent residency in the UK (ILR)
- Residency as a refugee or protected person
- A Turkish Businessperson visa or Turkish Worker visa
Each applicant must then provide many documents as proof of their status and their relationship with their sponsor.
These documents include:
- A valid passport for the duration of the proposed stay in the UK
- Biometric photographs and fingerprints
- Proof of relationship between the applicant and UK resident (documents cannot be over 4 years old)
- Proof of suitable accommodation in the UK
- Proof of A1-standard English*
- Proof of sufficient finances to cover your stay in the UK**
- Tuberculosis test results***
- 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
- Any other supporting documents that UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) has asked for
Each applicant will have to provide the above documents when submitting their application unless marked with asterisks, in which case there are some exceptions.
*If the applicant is under 19, over 64, has a disability that prevents them from communicating in English, or is a native of an English-speaking country, they do not have to provide evidence that they can communicate effectively in English.
**The sponsor can provide evidence that they will cover the costs of the stay of the applicant if desired.
***Tuberculosis tests are only necessary if the applicant is from or has lived for at least 6 months prior to the application in one of the 112 listed countries.
Family Visa FAQs
The application process is slightly different for each relative, so below are some frequently asked questions relating to Family Visas.
How Long Can You Stay in the UK on a Family Visa?
When applying for a Family Visa for the first time, you will be granted temporary residency for up to 2 years and 9 months, unless you are a child or adult dependant relative, in which case the length of your stay is determined by how long your sponsor can legally stay in the UK. You can also extend your visa indefinitely, and receive permission to stay for a further 2 years and 6 months.
How Much Does a Family Visa Cost?
- Partners, parents and children must pay £1,538 to apply
- Adult dependant relatives must pay £3,250 to apply unless their relative has protection status, in which case they must pay £388 to apply
Each applicant must also pay the immigration health surcharge when submitting their application.
What Are Your Rights on a Family Visa?
If your application is successful and you receive your Family Visa, you will be granted temporary residency. This is residency with an expiration date, as opposed to permanent residency which allows you to stay in the UK indefinitely. Permanent residency is also known as settlement and indefinite leave to remain (ILR). This again is different from British citizenship, which has different application requirements and grants you the same rights in the UK as British nationals.
Need Visa Help?
If you’re confused about what visa to apply for, how to apply for your visa or simply intimidated by the idea of applying for your visa alone, you need the help of Synergy Immigration Solutions.