UK Parent Visa

QC Immigration has helped families reunite through visa routes such as the Parent Visa. No matter which country you are applying from, our expert immigration lawyers in London will provide you with a professional service that clearly outlines which documents you need to apply for this visa route.

This will save you time and give you the best chances to be granted a Parent Visa. If you would like to discuss this with a member of our team, please get in touch.

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You may apply for a UK Parent Visa if you have a child who is British, Irish or Settled in the UK. If granted this visa, this may allow you to join your family to stay in the UK.

Please note that if you are eligible for a Partner Visa such as a Spouse Visa, Civil Partner Visa, Unmarried Partner Visa, or Fiancé Visa, you must apply under that route instead.


Parent Visa Eligibility & Suitability Requirements

For parents of a child in the UK who themselves live outside the UK, but want to move to the UK, the Parent Visa application route is one that enables parents to move to the UK to be with their child.

In order to be eligible for the parent application route, the following requirements must be met.

Your child must:

  • Be under the age of 18 at the date of application; or have been under 18 when you were initially granted entry clearance or leave to remain and they are not living an independent life.

Fulfill one of the following:

You, the parent applicant, must fulfil:

  1. Relationship requirements
  2. Immigration status requirements
  3. Financial requirements - prove you are able to financially support yourself without claiming benefits or public funds
  4. Minimum English language requirements
  5. Suitability requirements

Parent Visa relationship requirement

visa requirements and residential arrangements

The relationship requirement for this visa application means that as the applicant, you have sole parental responsibility for the child, or the child normally lives with you and not their other parent.

You may also be eligible if the child lives with the other parent or carer with whom you are not in a relationship, and they have granted you direct access to the child.

What does “sole parental responsibility” mean?

child's upbringing and family life

Sole parental responsibility means that the other parent has abandoned their parental responsibility, and you have sole control in the daily and important decisions for the child's care.

In this case, mere or substantial financial support in the child's raising may be insufficient.

Provided that you retain the overall responsibility for the child, you are allowed to share some parental responsibility with the other parent who is not your partner.

Please note that sole parental responsibility is different from shared parental responsibility or legal custody.

Showing sole parental responsibility

To showcase sole responsibility, you will need to provide evidence that you have been making all important decisions in the child's life without the input of the other parent in key areas such as the child's welfare, education, health, medical treatment, holidays, recreation, etc, as well as financially support your child.

Having a parental agreement drafted may further prove care arrangements and may be included as one of the relevant documents. A letter from the child's school or local authority confirming that you were the sole parent attending school events, for example parents evenings or taking the child to school, would be one of the eligible documents.

You must also not be eligible to apply for Partner Visa or UK Spouse Visa under Appendix FM.

For these reasons, the UK parent route is not for a child's parents with a genuine and subsisting relationship together. Such applicants should consider the Partner route instead, either with a Spouse Visa, Civil Partner Visa, Unmarried Partner Visa, or Fiancé Visa.

What does ‘direct access' mean?


This refers to in-person and direct contact between you and the child, showing that you are taking, and will continue to take, an active and continuing role in the child's upbringing.

To prove active parenting of the child, you have to provide evidence from the school, government, or medical professionals (such as a health visitor confirming or doctor confirming) that you are involved in their life.

Other evidence includes evidence of appointments, court order paperwork, or a parental agreement.

You will need to show that you have direct access to the child, as agreed with the parent/carer which the child normally lives with, whereby such parent/carer is:

  1. A British Citizen in the UK or settled in the UK
  2. Not your partner (including a person who has been in a relationship for less than two years with you prior to the application date)

In order to show direct access, you will need to provide evidence of the following:

  • A residence order or contact order granted by a court in the UK
  • A letter or affidavit from the UK-resident parent or carer of the child
  • Evidence from a contact centre showing contact arrangements

Proof of indirect contact, such as social media messages as letters or telephone calls, is insufficient.

Application Evidence

Immigration status requirement

You may apply from abroad or in the UK. If you are applying in the UK under the standard 5-year route, you must not be in the UK as a visitor, with less than six months’ leave (unless such leave was granted for family court or divorce proceedings) or on immigration bail.

If you are on Immigration Bail after arriving in the UK more than 6 months prior to the date of application, or if you are in breach of immigration laws with extended overstaying, we may argue that your application should be considered under the discretionary 10-year route instead if your case qualifies under paragraph EX.1., which we shall discuss further below.

Financial requirement


You must show that you will be able to adequately maintain and accommodate yourself and any dependants in the UK without needing public funds.

Adequate accommodation must neither be overcrowded nor contravene public health regulations.

Adequate means ‘after income tax, National Insurance contributions and housing costs have been deducted, there must be available to the family the level of income that would be available to them if the family was in receipt of Income Support.'

English language requirement

Language test

To prove that you have good knowledge of the English language, you must fulfil at least one of the following criteria:

  1. You are a national of a majority English speaking country
  2. You have passed the relevant English language test
  3. You have a UK academic qualification that is of degree level or above or an equivalent international qualification that is recognised by UK ENIC.

There are circumstances where you may be exempt from the English language requirement, ie if you are 65 or over, or have a physical or mental condition or disability preventing you from meeting the requirements.

If the Child's Other Parent Is Your Partner

If you are eligible to apply for a Partner Visa, don’t hesitate to take advantage of this opportunity. You won't need a Parent’s Visa UK then.

To apply for the Partner Visa, you and your partner must be 18 or older.

Your partner also must:

  • Have British citizenship or Irish citizenship.
  • Be a permanent resident of the UK (for example, have an indefinite Leave to Remain, settled status, or a document confirming their permanent residence).
  • Be a national of the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, or Switzerland and have pre-settled status, i.e., started living in the UK before 1 January 2021.
  • Have a Turkish Businessperson Visa or Turkish Worker Visa.
  • Have refugee status or humanitarian protection in the UK.

It is important that you and your partner intend to live together permanently in the UK.

You must also provide evidence of one of the below:

  • You are in a civil partnership or marriage recognized in the UK.
  • You have lived with your partner for at least 2 years by the time of application.
  • You are a fiancé, fianceé, or prospective civil partner and intend to get married or enter into a civil partnership in the UK within 6 months of arrival.

You also need to prove that you:

If you are unable to do this, you may still be eligible to apply for the visa or extend your residence permit if:

  • You have a child in the UK who has British or Irish citizenship or has lived in the UK for 7 years, and it is not reasonable for them to leave the country.
  • You and your partner are experiencing severe difficulties that cannot be overcome if you live outside the UK.
  • Banning you from entering Britain or forcing you to leave the country would violate your rights.

A decision on this Family route application is usually made within 1 to 4 months.

With a long-term visa for parents in the UK, you are allowed to stay for 2 years and 9 months. If you are applying as a fiancé, fiancée, or intended civil partner, you can stay in the country for 6 months before moving on to a more permanent Spouse Visa or Civil Partner Visa.

Can a Parent of a British Child Remain in the UK Permanently?

The UK visa for parents gives the right to enter and stay in the country for 33 months, after which you must apply for an extension. When you have lived in the UK continuously for 5 years, you can apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain.

Your continuous stay does not normally include time spent in the UK on any other visa.

Can One Switch Into a Parent Visa in the UK?

In some cases, you can switch from another visa category to the UK Parent’s Visa, for example, if you are allowed to remain in the UK as a partner and your marriage breaks down.

To have the right to apply for the Parent’s Visa UK, you must meet the following requirements:

  • The child must be under 18 at the time of application or under 18 when the first permit was issued and must not be living independently.
  • The child must live in the United Kingdom as a citizen, has Settled status, or continuously reside in the UK for 7 years.
  • You have to prove that you share parental responsibility and that the child's other parent is British, Irish, or Settled and is not your partner.

You must also prove that the child lives with the other parent and that you are involved in their upbringing as agreed upon with the parent or by court order. You can get the Family Visa UK any time before your current Leave to Remain in the UK expires.

Exceptional circumstances - the 10 years’ route

If you are unable to meet any eligibility or suitability requirements to be granted a UK Parent Visa under the 5-year route, you may be considered for the 10-year route if paragraph EX.1. of Appendix FM applies in your case.

Exceptions under EX.1. applies when:

  1. You have a genuine and subsisting relationship with the child
  2. It would be unreasonable to expect the child to leave the UK

If you are looking to apply for a Parent Visa, QC Immigration can help.

We have successfully argued that Exceptional Circumstances applied in our clients' cases with complicated issues.

We have demonstrated that refusal for leave to enter/remain would breach the child’s Human Rights and welfare, leading to unjustifiably harsh consequences which are not in the best interest of the child, our client, and their families.

No matter your circumstances, we know what the Home Office is looking for and will help you build a compelling case that clearly showcases why you are eligible for a Parent Visa.

If you would like to discuss this further, please get in touch with one of our London-based immigration lawyers.


Can You Extend the UK Parent Visa?

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What Are the Eligibility Criteria for Parents?

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What Are the Eligibility Criteria for Children?

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What Documentation Should I Furnish as Supporting Evidence?

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Does Entry Clearance as a Parent Lead to Settlement in the UK?

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How Long Is the Parent Visa Valid?

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How Can I Initiate the Application Process?

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How do I apply for a Parent Visa?

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