Family Members in the UK

Family Members in the UK

How to join or stay with your loved ones in the UK.

UK Family & Dependant Visas

It’s not always easy or straightforward for foreign nationals to join loved ones in the UK.

For family and dependants of British citizens, such as married or civil partners, unmarried partners, children, grandchildren, parents, and dependent adult relatives, and in some cases extended family members, there are many immigration routes to consider.

But as a family visa applicant, you should be prepared for what is usually a long and challenging process to prove your eligibility and that you meet the strict requirements to be able to live in the UK.

Family visa options

Under the current UK immigration rules, visa options for family members include:

  • UK visit visa if you intend to stay for no more than 6 months.
  • Marriage visit visa if you plan to marry while in the UK and then return to your home country.
  • Family visa if you want to come to the UK to live with your spouse, partner, fiancé(e), child, parent or relative who will provide long-term care for you.
  • Dependent child visa for non-EEA dependent children of British citizens or those with settled status.
  • Adult dependent visa for those who are in need of long-term care to be provided by your relative in the UK.
  • Dependants of a points-based visa holder such as a Tier 1 investor or Tier 2 skilled worker.
  • EEA family permit for non-EEA nationals with an EEA national family member either already living in the UK, or planning to travel with them to the UK within 6 months.
  • UK residence card for family members and extended family members of EEA nationals either a permanent UK resident or a ‘qualified person’, to join them in the UK.
  • Parent of a Tier 4 child visa for parents of Tier 4 child student visa holders under 12 who are studying at an independent fee paying UK school.


EU citizens 

EU freedom of movement will continue until the Brexit transition period ends on 31 December 2020.

During the transition period, EU citizens have the right to come to the UK and remain without needing a visa.

The rules will change on 1 January 2021. After this date, EU citizens coming to the UK will need to apply for a visa to come to the UK, whether that is a family visa, or a visa to work or study.

EU citizens already in the UK at the end of the transition period will have until 30 June 2021 to register under the EU settlement scheme to retain their lawful immigration status to remain in the UK.

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