If you are a permanent resident in the UK and currently living here or if you are a British citizen, you can apply for permission for your children under age 18 and dependent relatives to travel to the UK in view to settle with you on a permanent basis (settlement visa).
Once in the UK, they will be able apply for permission to settle permanently (indefinite leave to remain).
WHO CAN APPLY FOR A FAMILY MEMBER SETTLEMENT VISA
Your children age 18, elderly relatives and other dependent relatives (under exceptional circumstances) are eligible for permission to enter and settle with you.
They can apply from their country they are living in if they meet the following criteria:
Children under age 18:
If both parents are living and settled in the UK or are applying for settlement, your children can join you if you can show that they:
- are not leading an independent life;
- are not married or in a civil partnership;
- have not formed an independent family unit; and
- are aged under 18.
If only one parent is settled in the UK or is applying for settlement, children can apply only if:
- one parent is dead and the other is settled or coming to settle here; or
- that parent has the sole responsibility for looking after them; or
- there are serious reasons why they should be allowed to join their parent in the UK.
For all of the above, ‘parent’ includes: a step-parent where the father or mother is dead; either the father or mother of an illegitimate child; and, in certain circumstances, an adoptive parent.
Elderly dependent relatives:
A elderly relative can apply for a settlement visa if they are related to you in one of the following ways:
- widowed parent or grandparent aged 65 or over; or
- parents or grandparents who are travelling together, if one of them is aged 65 or over; or
- parent or grandparent under the age of 65 if living alone outside the UK in the most exceptional compassionate circumstances and mainly dependent financially on relatives settled in the United Kingdom.
They will need to prove that:
- they are joining or accompanying a settled relative or a relative who is on the same occasion being admitted for settlement; and
- they are financially wholly or mainly dependent on that relative; and
- they will be accommodated adequately, together with any dependants, without recourse to public funds, in accommodation which the settled relative owns or occupies exclusively; and
- they will be maintained adequately, together with any dependants, without recourse to public funds; and
- they have no other close relatives in their own country to whom they could turn for financial support.
Other dependent relatives:
If there are exceptional compassionate circumstances and they are mainly financially dependent on their relative settled in the UK, the following relatives can apply for a settlement visa:
- sons, daughters, sisters, brothers, uncles and aunts over the age of 18.
They will also need to show the required evidence listed above.
SETTLEMENT VISA APPLICATION
Your family members will need to apply for a settlement visa to travel here at the visa application centre closest to where they live.
Depending upon the facilities available in the country they are applying from, they will need to complete either an online visa application or a hard copy visa application - the latter being preferable as it is a lot more straightforward and convenient.
The required hard copy visa application form for a settlement visa can be downloaded here: form VAF4A. Alternatively, you can obtain a copy from your nearest visa application centre or British Embassy.
The application may be done online too, depending on their country of residence. Find out the options in your country here.
Online applications need to be made on the official British Government website for online visa applications: Visa4UK . You will need an email address to complete the online forms and a printer to print out a hardcopy of your application.
A good grasp of the English language is required to complete an online visa application: the questions are not as clear-cut and can be easily misread and therefore answered incorrectly, albeit by accident.
Visa application forms are available only in English and must be completed in English.
Careful: it is very important that no mistakes or errors are made when you complete your visa application form, as even the smallest error could result in your visa application being refused and you could be banned from coming to the UK if the Entry Clearance Officer thinks you deliberately provided incorrect or misleading information.
SUPPORTING DOCUMENTS FOR SETTLEMENT VISAS
A substantial amount of supporting documents must be submitted to support your visa application.
If you apply online, the supporting documents will need to be submitted at the time you attend the biometric appointment, along with the printed application form.
Send the original documents, if you have them, not copies. In exceptional circumstances, Home Office will accept a photocopy that is certified as an accurate copy by the body or authority that issued the original, or by a notary - but you must include a letter explaining why you are providing a certified copy rather than the original document.
You can find the list of documents required by Home Office for a VAF4 application here.
OTHER FAMILY CATEGORIES
Your partner, spouse and fiancé or proposed civil partner will need to follow a similar route to enter the country in view of settlement. Find out more in the following guides:
SETTLING IN THE UK: INDEFINITE LEAVE TO REMAIN
Once in the UK, your relatives can apply can apply for permission to settle in the UK (also known as 'indefinite leave to remain') as a family member of a permanent resident.
Make sure their application is made before their current permission to stay in the UK expires. They must be in the UK to apply.
The required form for the settlement application can be downloaded here: Form SET(F).
When they apply, they will need to show they have a good knowledge of language and life in the UK (KOL) unless they are aged under 18 or 65 and over.
Learn more about Kol here.
SUPPORTING DOCUMENTS FOR INDEFINITE LEAVE TO REMAIN APPLICATIONS
A substantial amount of supporting documents must be submitted to support your settlement application.
You can find the list of documents required by Home Office for a settlement application here.
By Federica Gaida
Excerpt of: "The Migrant Guide"
For questions regarding the subject covered in this guide, please visit migreat.com.
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You should always seek advice from an appropriately qualified solicitor on any specific legal enquiry.