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  • Alastair Blair

How to apply for a visa as the parent of a child

There are many parents living outside the UK who have children living in this country.  If you are one of these parents and wish to move to the UK, the good news is that there is an immigration route you can take; however, there are a number of stringent requirements you must meet to qualify for this visa, specifically, you must satisfy UK Visas and Immigration that you meet the following requirements:

  • You are at least 18 years old;

  • Your child is under the age of 18;

  • Your child is living in the UK;

  • Your child is either a British or Irish citizen, settled in the UK or in the UK with pre-settled status;

  • Either (i) you have sole parental responsibility for the child; or (ii) the parent or carer with whom the child normally lives is a British or Irish Citizen in the UK, settled in the UK, or in the UK with pre-settled status, they are not your partner, you are not eligible to apply for entry clearance as a partner under Appendix FM of the Immigration Rules and you have direct access (in person) to the child, as agreed with the parent or carer with whom the child normally lives or as ordered by a court in the UK;

  • You are taking, and intend to continue to take, an active role in the child’s upbringing;

  • You can maintain and accommodate yourself and any dependants in the UK without recourse to public funds;

  • You satisfy an English language requirement.

Note 1. You will not be able to get this visa if your child is overseas. To qualify, your child must be physically present in the UK at the date of application and you must intend to make the UK your home with your child. 

Note 2. For the relationship requirement to be met, you must either have sole responsibility for your child; or have shared parental responsibility and direct in-person access to your child - where this access has been agreed with the parent or carer who normally lives with your child in the UK, or where that access has been ordered by a court in the UK. Legally, the test for sole responsibilityis, not whether anyone else has day-to-day responsibility, but whether the parent has continuing control and direction of the child’s upbringing including making all the important decisions in the child’s life – if not, responsibility is shared and so not “sole”.”

Note 3. Following on from Note 2, the Parent of a Child Visa route is not available to parents who share responsibility for the child, are partners, and therefore are still together as a couple. In these circumstances, you should apply on the applicable partner route rather than as a Parent of a Child.

Note 4. You must provide evidence that you are taking an active role in bringing up your child and that you intend to continue to do so. We can advise you on what proof will be accepted – for example, it might include letters from your child’s school, or a healthcare practitioner, which explain how you either live with, or care for, your child.

Note 5. Switching Into the Parent of a Child Visa Route from Within the UK

·       An application for leave to remain as a parent can be made from within the UK, unless you are in the UK as a visitor or, with few exceptions, with valid leave granted for a period of 6 months or less.  

·       Visitors who wish to settle in the UK as a parent of a child in the UK should leave the UK and apply for entry clearance as a parent from overseas.

·       If you are in the UK with permission granted pending the outcome of family court proceedings then, exceptionally, you can apply for leave to remain as a parent from within the UK.  

Length of Stay under a Parent Visa

If your application for a Parent Visa is approved, you will be allowed to stay in the UK for 2 years and 9 months. After this, you will need to make an application to extend your stay. 

After spending 5 years (60 months) in the UK on the Parent Visa route, you may be eligible to apply for indefinite leave to remain in the UK.  To qualify for indefinite leave to remain as a parent you will need to demonstrate, in addition to the above requirements, that:

  • You meet the higher CEFR Level B1 English Language requirement that applies to settlement applications;

  • You have passed the Life in the UK test (unless exempt).

If you make an application for indefinite leave to remain as a parent but do not satisfy the above requirements, UK Visas and Immigration will go on to consider if you meet the requirements for a further extension of stay as a parent.  Again, please feel free to ask Rodriguez Immigration Services for advice here as we understand that this is a complex area which can be confusing for applicants.

Silvia Rodriguez Molina

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