From the UKVisas website Guidance INF6

What is this guidance about?
This guidance explains what you will need to do if you want to live in the United Kingdom (UK) with relatives already living there, and what the Immigration Rules say. It is only a guide but it aims to answer some common questions.

If you want to come to the UK as the family member of someone who is not settled in the UK, for example a work permit holder, please read the appropriate guidance on this website.


Can I go to live with my parents in the UK as a child?
You can apply to join your parents in the UK if:

  • your parents live in the UK legally, with no time limit on their stay, or they are applying at the same time as you
  • one parent is living and settled in the UK or is applying for settlement at the same time as you, and has had sole responsibility for looking after you
  • your parents can support you without help from public funds
  • your parents have enough accommodation, which they own or live in, where you can live without help from public funds, and
  • you are their child.

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.
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How can I qualify to join my parents in the UK?
You, or your parent, must show that you:

  • are under 18 years of age, and
  • cannot support yourself financially, are not married or in a civil partnership and are not living independently away from your parents.

A child cannot normally go to live in the UK if one parent is living abroad, unless the parent in the UK has sole responsibility for the child, or if there are special reasons why the child should be allowed to join the parent in the UK.

You must get a visa before you travel to the UK.
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Can an adopted child go to the UK?
You can get information on how an adopted child can go to the UK in our Adopted children (INF 7) guidance note.
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Can parents, grandparents and other dependent relatives go to live in the UK?
If you are a widowed parent or grandparent aged 65 or over, or parents or grandparents travelling together and one of you is 65 or over, you may qualify if:

  • you are completely or mainly financially dependent on children or grandchildren living and settled in the UK
  • you have no other close relatives in your own country to help you
  • your children or grandchildren can support you without needing help from public funds, and
  • your children or grandchildren have enough accommodation, which they alone own or live in, where you can live without needing any help from public funds.

If you are a parent or grandparent under the age of 65, you may qualify if:

  • you are living in the most exceptional compassionate circumstances
  • you are completely or mainly financially dependent on children or grandchildren living and settled in the UK
  • you have no other close relatives in your own country to help you
  • your children or grandchildren can support you without needing help from public funds, and
  • your children or grandchildren have enough accommodation, which they alone own or live in, where you can live without needing any help from public funds.

If you are over 18 and have a parent settled in the UK, or if you are a sister, brother, aunt, uncle or any other relative of a person settled in the UK, you may qualify if you meet the conditions listed in the previous paragraph and you are living alone in the most exceptional compassionate circumstances.
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What if my relative has been recognised as a refugee or has been granted exceptional leave to live in the UK?
If you are the wife, husband, civil partner, unmarried or same-sex partner of a person granted refugee status in the UK, you and your dependent children under 18 may qualify for entry clearance under ‘Family reunion’. (Family reunion is the term used where a person applies to join someone already in the United Kingdom who has been granted refugee status or humanitarian protection as their husband, wife, civil partner, unmarried or same-sex partner, or child under 18.)

You and your dependent child under 18 may qualify for entry clearance under ‘Family reunion’ if:

  • your husband, wife, civil partner, unmarried or same-sex partner has been given full refugee status in the UK
  • your husband, wife or civil partner has been granted ‘humanitarian protection’ after 30 August 2005 and you can show that:
    • you were married or you entered into a civil partnership recognised in the UK before your wife, husband or civil partner left to seek asylum or humanitarian protection in the UK, and
    • you and any dependants intend to live together.

If your wife, husband or civil partner has been granted refugee status or humanitarian protection in the UK after 30 August 2005, they will not need to show that they can support you and pay for your living arrangements.

Other dependent relatives (such as parents) do not qualify for entry clearance under ‘Family reunion’ but we may allow them to join their relative if there are exceptional compassionate circumstances.

If your sponsor has exceptional leave to remain in the UK, or has been granted ‘Humanitarian protection’ before 30 August 2005 or has been granted ‘Discretionary leave to remain’, you cannot normally apply to join them until they have been granted permission to stay in the UK permanently (indefinite leave to remain or ILR). You can get more information about refugee status, exceptional leave, discretionary leave and humanitarian protection from the Border and Immigration Agency. Their contact details are under ‘More advice and information’ at the end of this guidance.
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What is a visa?
A visa is a certificate that is put into your passport or travel document by an Entry Clearance Officer at a British mission overseas. The visa gives you permission to enter the UK.

If you have a valid UK visa, we will not normally refuse you entry to the UK unless your circumstances have changed, or you gave false information or did not tell us important facts when you applied for your visa.

When you arrive in the UK, an Immigration Officer may ask you questions, so take all relevant documents in your hand luggage.
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How do I apply for a settlement visa?
You can apply in a number of ways, for example by post, by courier, in person and online. The visa section will tell you about the ways in which you can apply.

Some visa sections will only accept applications made online. To find out if you can apply for your visa online please visit www.visa4uk.fco.gov.uk

If you cannot apply online you will need to fill in a visa application form (VAF 2 – settlement). You can download the form from this website, or get one free of charge from your nearest British mission overseas where there is a visa section.

If you are applying to join family members in the UK, you should make your application in the country of which you are a national or where you legally live.

In some countries, if you are applying for a visa to stay in the UK for more than six months, you may need to be tested for active tuberculosis before we will accept your application. You can find out if you need to be tested by using the Do I need a UK visa? on this website, or by contacting your nearest British mission overseas where there is a visa section.
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What are visa application centres?
In some countries, we are working with commercial companies to run visa application centres (VACs). The VACs are in largely populated areas, making it easier and more convenient for people to apply for a UK visa. Trained staff at each VAC deal with all visa enquiries and applications. They collect your biometric information (see the relevant section of this leaflet) along with the relevant fees, and provide unbiased, face-to-face advice on the application process, including whether or not you have included all the necessary documents. Entry clearance staff at the British mission will then consider your application and decide whether to issue or refuse your visa. VAC staff have no say in this decision.
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What will I need to make my application?
You will need to make your application online or fill in the following visa application form:

PDF Application form VAF2 – Settlement (PDF, 139K)

You will also need the following:

  • Your passport or travel document.
  • A recent passport-sized (45mm x 35mm) colour photograph of yourself. This should be:
    • taken against a light coloured background
    • clear and of good quality, and not framed or backed
    • printed on normal photographic paper, and
    • full face and without sunglasses, hat or other head covering unless you wear this for cultural or religious reasons.
  • The visa fee. This cannot be refunded, and you must normally pay it in the local currency of the country where you are applying.
  • Supporting documents relevant to your application.

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What is ‘biometric’ information?
In some countries currently – and in all countries by April 2008 – you will need to provide ‘biometric’ information as part of the visa application process. This biometric information consists of scans of all 10 of your fingers and a full-face digital photograph. You will have to go to the nearest VAC in person to provide this biometric information. In those countries where there is no VAC, you will need to go to the British mission. Your visa applications will not be processed until you have provided the necessary biometric information. The finger scans are electronic so staff do not need to use any ink, liquid or chemicals. You will have your digital photograph taken at the same time and the whole procedure should take no more than five minutes to complete. You should make sure that you do not have any decoration (such as henna), or any cuts or other markings on your fingertips before having your finger scans. You should also make sure that if you have any cuts and bruises on your face, they have healed or disappeared before you have your photograph taken. Digital photographs must be of your full face and you should not wear sunglasses, a hat or any other head covering (unless you wear it for cultural or religious reasons).
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What supporting documents should I include with my application?
You should include all the documents you can to show that you qualify for entry to the UK to live with relatives. If you do not, we may refuse your application.

As a guide, you should include the following:

  • Your original birth certificate (if applying to join your parents in the UK).
  • Evidence that your sponsor (the relative you are applying to join) is settled in the UK, such as a certified copy of their passport or registration certificate.
  • Recent bank statements or savings books for your sponsor and evidence of your sponsor’s employment in the UK, which could include payslips to show what financial support you have.
  • Evidence of your accommodation, such as a mortgage agreement or rental agreement, and evidence that you and your dependants can stay in this accommodation if it is rented or provided by your local authority.

If you are applying as the parent, grandparent or other dependant relative of someone already present and settled (see the next section) in the UK, you should ask your sponsor to fill in a sponsorship undertaking form below and include this with your application. By signing the undertaking form, your sponsor confirms that they will be responsible for your living expenses and accommodation during your stay in the UK, and won’t need any support from public funds.

PDF Sponsorship undertaking form (PDF, 104K)

In some cases the Entry Clearance Officer (ECO) may ask you and your relatives to take a DNA test to prove that you are related to each other.

We will refuse your application if we find that any documents are false.
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What does ‘present and settled’ mean ?
‘Settled’ means being allowed to live in the UK lawfully, with no time limit on your stay. ‘Present and settled’ means that the person concerned is settled in the UK and, at the time we are considering your application under the Immigration Rules, is in the UK or is coming here with you, or to join you, and plans to live with you in the UK if your application is successful.
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What will happen when I make my application?
The Entry Clearance Officer will try to make a decision using your application form and the supporting documents you have provided. If this is not possible, they will need to interview you.

Please check your visa when you get it. You should make sure that:

  • your personal details are correct
  • it correctly states the purpose for which you want to come to the UK, and
  • it is valid for the date on which you want to travel. (You can ask for it to be post-dated for up to three months if you do not plan to travel immediately.)

If you think there is anything wrong with your visa, contact the visa section immediately.
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What are public funds?
Under the Immigration Rules, if you want to travel to the UK you must be able to support yourself and live without claiming certain benefits. Use this link to see a list of them:
Public funds

You can find out more about public funds in the Immigration Directorate Instructions (IDIs) and Immigration Rules on the Border and Immigration Agency website.

elk Border and Immigration Agency

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How long can I stay with my parents in the UK?
If both of your parents are settled in the UK, or if one parent already settled in the UK has sole responsibility for you, we will normally allow you to stay in the UK permanently from the date that you arrive.

If you travel to the UK with one or both of your parents, we will normally give you permission to stay in the UK for the same length of time as they are given.
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How long can I stay with my children, grandchildren or other relatives in the UK?
If you have a visa for settlement to travel with or join a relative, we will allow you to stay permanently in the UK from the date that you arrive.
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More advice and information

UKvisas
For more advice and information about visas contact:

UKvisas
London SW1A 2AH

General enquiries: (+44) (0)845 010 5555

Please note that this number may not work from outside the UK. If you are calling from outside the UK, please contact your nearest British mission:

elk UK diplomatic missions overseas


Application forms: (+44) (0)20 7008 8308
Textphone: (+44) (0)20 7008 8457
Email: www.ukvisas.gov.uk/enquiries

Border and Immigration Agency
For more advice and information about extending your stay once in the UK:

elk Border and Immigration Agency

Croydon Public Caller Unit
Lunar House
40 Wellesley Road
Croydon CR9 2BY

General enquiries: (+44) (0)870 606 7766
Application forms: (+44) (0)870 241 0645
Email: indpublicenquiries@ind.homeoffice.gsi.gov.uk
Website: www.bia.homeoffice.gov.uk

Immigration Advisory Service (IAS)
The Immigration Advisory Service is the UK’s largest charity providing advice and representation in asylum, immigration and nationality law. It has offices right across the UK and abroad and provides a free service to those who are eligible. It may also be able to help those who are not eligible. The IAS is a non-profit service.

elk Immigration Advisory Service

3rd Floor, County House
190 Great Dover Street
London SE1 4YB

Phone: (+44) (0)20 7967 1200
Duty office (open 24 hours a day): (+44) (0)20 8814 1559
Fax: (+44) (0)20 7403 5875
Email: advice@iasuk.org
Website: www.iasuk.org

Revenue and Customs
For advice on bringing personal belongings and goods into the UK:

elk HM Revenue & Customs

Dorset House
Stamford Street
London SE1 9PY

Telephone: (+44) (0)845 010 9000
Website: www.hmrc.gov.uk

Drugs warning
Anyone found smuggling drugs into the UK will face serious penalties. Drug traffickers may try to bribe travellers. If you are travelling to the UK, avoid any involvement with drugs.

False documents
Travellers to the UK may commit an offence if they produce a false travel documents or passports to the UK immigration authorities for themselves and their children. People found guilty of this offence face up to two years in prison or a fine (or both).

Alternative formats
In the UK we also have versions of our guidance notes in Braille, on audio tape and in large print. If you would like any guidance notes in one of these formats, please contact:

UKvisas
London SW1A 2AH

Phone: (+44) (0)20 7008 8308

 

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