Apply For A 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.


You may apply for a UK Parent Visa if you have a child who is British 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 or Civil Partner 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.
  • Fulfil 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 or an Unmarried Partner 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.

In order to prove active parenting of the child, you need to provide evidence from the school, government or medical professionals (ie 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

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Immigration status requirement

You may apply from abroad or in the UK. If you are applying in the UK, 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 (unless you arrived in the UK more than six months before the application date).

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.'

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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.

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.


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