If you are an individual intending to immigrate to the UK with your family, workpermit.com can help. This guide will give you an overview of the main options available before you discuss the details of your position with one of our professional advisers.
Please note that if you are a corporation or an individual interested in work visas, student visas, or visas for businesspeople, you can find the information you need on our UK Business and Work Visas page, and our UK Student Visas page.
Family Visa Types
Family visas allow certain family members and dependants of people who already have another type of UK visa to join them in the UK, Different types of UK family visas cover most family members. Married or civil partners, unmarried partners, children, grandchildren, parents, and dependent adult relatives are all covered by UK family visas, and in some cases extended family members may be able to enter the UK as well.
- Family of a Settled Person visa For family members of British citizens and those with permanent residency or indefinite leave to remain in the UK. Family members covered by this visa include married or civil partners, unmarried partners, children, parents, and dependent adult relatives.
- UK Marriage Visa (Family of a Settled Person Visa) tips: Tips for getting a Family of a Settled Person visa for your spouse or civil partner
- UK Fiancé visa (Family of a Settled Person Visa) tips: Tips for getting a Family of a Settled Person visa for your fiance
- EEA Family Permit For those from outside of the European Economic Area (EEA) with an EEA national family member that is either already living in the UK, or planning to travel with them to the UK within 6 months. The visa applicant must apply for this visa from outside of the UK; if they is already in the UK they should apply for another type of family visa instead. Family members covered by this visa include married and civil partners, unmarried partners, children, grandchildren, and dependent parents and grandparents. Family members of the EEA citizen’s married or civil partner are also covered by this visa.
- UK Residence Card Similar to the EEA Family Permit, but with slightly different conditions. This visa allows family members and extended family members of a European Economic Area (EEA) national, who is either a permanent UK resident or a ‘qualified person’, to join them in the UK. Family members covered by this visa include married or civil partners, children, grandchildren, and dependent adult relatives. You must apply as an extended family member if you are an unmarried partner or other relative, such as a sibling. This visa must be applied for from inside of the UK.
- Parent of a Tier 4 Child visa For parents of children aged under 12 who are studying at an independent fee paying UK school. The child must either hold a Tier 4 (Child) Student visa or be in the UK under the immigration rules in place before March 31st, 2009.
UK Family of a settled person visa
The family of a settled person visa allows people from outside of the EEA to join a family member in the UK, who is a British citizen, has indefinite leave to remain in the UK, or is in the UK under asylum or humanitarian protection laws. In most cases if you wish to join someone who has a temporary visa for the UK such as Tier 2 visa it is much easier.
UK Visa Length of stay
The Family of a Settled Person Visa is usually issued for the following periods:
- Two and half years for spouses, civil partners, or unmarried partners which can then be extended.
- 6 months for fiancés, to be extended after marriage in the UK.
- Two and half years for parents which can then be extended.
- Indefinitely for dependent children
For most of these UK visa categories you do not again indefinite leave to remain immediately. In most cases you should be able to obtain a visa extension, and then after 5 years in the UK visa holders can apply for Indefinite Leave to remain (permanent residence).
If you wish to join a family member in the UK who has refugee status, 5 years’ humanitarian protection or settlement on protection grounds the requirements are different.
Family member visa conditions
The family member who is applying to join the UK permanent resident or citizen must be related in one of the following ways:
- Spouse, fiancé*, civil partner or unmarried partner**
- Carer, if you are joining them to be cared for as a dependent adult relative
*Those applying to join their fiance must prove that plan to marry or become civil partners within 6 months of entering the UK.
**Unmarried partners must be able to prove that they have been in a cohabiting relationship for at least 2 years.
The family member in the UK must also have one of the following:
- British citizenship
- Indefinite Leave to Remain (permanent residence) in the UK
- Refugee, asylum or humanitarian protection status in the UK
In order to be eligible for a Family of a Settled Person visa, you must:
- Be older than 18, unless you are a child coming to join your parent
- Plan to live with your family member in the UK, unless you are a parent applying to join a child in the UK who lives with someone else
- Prove that you and your family will have an adequate home in the UK
- Speak good English (unless you are a child). This means scoring level A1 on a Common European Framework of Reference for Languages test, or having a university level degree that was taught in English*
*Citizens of the following countries do not have to prove their English language ability:
Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, the Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Canada, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, New Zealand, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, the USA.
If you are applying to join your Spouse, fiancé, civil partner or unmarried partner in the UK they must have a certain level of income or savings to support you and any children.
The financial requirement can be met by income from a legal source, such as earnings, rental income, or maternity/paternity pay, as well as savings – though any savings must have been held for 6 months or more.
|Number of family members on the application||Financial requirement (per year)|
|Partner and one dependent child||£22,400.00|
|Each additional dependent child||£2,400.00|
If the family member is in the UK under asylum or humanitarian protection laws, or if they receive disability or bereavement benefits in the UK, they usually do not need to meet the financial requirement.
UK Marriage visa (Family of a Settled Person Visa) tips
Spouses of UK citizens or permanent residents (mainly those with indefinite leave to remain) may come to the UK under the Family of a Settled Person Visa category, and are able to work as soon as a visa is granted. Our Family of a Settled Person Visa page has full details on eligibility requirements, and below are further tips on applying for the visa for spouse or civil partner:
- You can apply for an initial period of two and half years as the spouse of a British citizen or Permanent Resident. You can apply for an extension of two and half years at the end of this period.
- If you have spent five years in the UK on spouse visa and you have passed the Life in the UK test, you are eligible for indefinite leave to remain (permanent residence) in the UK.
- The UK citizen or permanent resident must have actually met their non-UK spouse. This is to prevent a situation that occurs sometimes in arranged marriages where the husband and wife have never met.
- You must intend to live together permanently with your spouse in order to obtain a spouse visa.
- You must possess sufficient funds to pay you and your spouse’s living expenses and those of any dependants without claiming public funds. Public funds cover various benefits paid by the Government if you are currently looking for work, if you are on a low income and if you are in various other situations.
- Accommodation for the couple, and any dependants, must be suitable and available.
- Spouses seeking to come to the UK on the basis of marriage to a UK national or permanent resident should apply for entry clearance before entering the UK.
- If you have a visa valid for six months or less in the UK you cannot change status to a spouse visa.
- Children of the marriage who are under 18 years old are allowed entry to the UK as dependants, and can make their application at the same time as the main applicant.
- After you have gained indefinite leave to remain in the UK and if you meet the residence requirements you may then apply for UK citizenship.
UK Fiancé visa (Family of a Settled Person Visa) tips
Fiances of UK citizens or permanent residents (mainly those with indefinite leave to remain) may come to the UK under the Family of a Settled Person Visa category, and are able to work as soon as a visa is granted. Our Family of a Settled Person Visa page has full details on eligibility requirements, and below are further tips on applying for the visa for your fiance:
- Unless you are engaged to an EU Citizen (not British citizen in this situation!) with a five year residence permit you must apply for entry from outside the UK. If you wish to apply from within the UK in other circumstances your application is likely to be refused unless you can show exceptional reasons why the application should be granted.
- You are granted entry to the UK for a period of six months during which time you must marry your fiancé/e in the UK. If there are exceptional reasons for delaying marriage until after the initial six months an extension to stay in the UK may be granted.
- You will not be permitted to work in the UK on the fiance/e visa, and you and your fiance/e must show that there will be sufficient funds and accommodation in the UK without requiring public funds before and after the marriage. Public funds cover various benefits paid by the Government if you are currently looking for work, if you are on a low income and if you are in various other situations.
- You must have met your future spouse. This is to prevent a situation that occurs sometimes in arranged marriages where the future husband and wife have never met.
- You must intend to live together permanently with your future spouse once you are married.
- It is a requirement that the overseas fiancé/fiancée has to be 16 years old or over, and the sponsor in the UK has to be at least 18 years old.
- Children of the overseas fiance/e who are under 18 years old are only allowed entry to the UK as dependents if it can be shown that it would cause serious problems if they are not allowed entry at the same time. Therefore this sort of application will be difficult to make, and in many cases it may be best to wait until after the marriage and then apply for entry of dependents.
- You should apply for a marriage visa from within the UK when you are married, and will then be eligible to work freely in the UK.
EEA Family Permit and UK Residence Card
The EEA Family Permit allows family members, including extended family members, of European Economic Area nationals to join them in the UK, or travel to the UK with them at a later date.
The UK Residence Card has similar eligibility conditions, but your family meber must already be in the UK to apply. The UK Residence Card lasts for up to 5 years, and is significantly harder to obtain than an EEA Family Permit: applications are considered at the UK Home Office’s discretion, and there is no guarantee of being granted a visa even if you meet the conditions.
Length of stay
The EEA Family Permit is valid for 6 months. The Uk Residence Card lasts for 5 years.
Family member conditions
You must be related to the family member who you are applying to join in the UK as their:
- Spouse, civil partner, or unmarried partner, OR:
Related to them, or their spouse or civil partner as a:
- Dependent child or grandchild
- Dependent parent or grandparent
- Dependent extended family member
The family member must also either already be in the UK, or planning to travel with you to the UK within 6 months of your EEA Family Permit application. If your family member has been in the UK for 3 months or more, or you are applying got a UK Residence Card, they must either:
- Have Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK, or
- Be a ‘qualified person’, which means they must be in work, study*, self employment, be self sufficient due to savings or other income, or be actively looking for work in the UK
If the family member is a student you can only qualify as a family member if you are their spouse or civil partner, or their/their spouse or civil partner’s dependent child. Otherwise you must apply as an extended family member.
UK Parent of a Tier 4 child visa
The Parent of a Tier 4 Child Visa allows parents whose young children are attending an independent UK school on a Tier 4 (Child) visa to join them in the UK. Holders of this visa cannot work or study while in the UK.
Length of stay
The Parent of a Tier 4 Child Visa is initially issued for either 6 or 12 months, and can then be extended in 12 month increments until the Tier 4 child reaches 12 years of age.
To be eligible for a Parent of a Tier 4 Child Visa you must:
- Have sufficient funds to support yourself and any dependent family members while in the UK
- Have a home outside of the UK, which you must maintain
- Have enough money to pay for your return or onward travel when you leave the UK
In addition, your child must:
- Be under 12 years old
- Be in the UK on a Tier 4 (Child) visa in order to study at an independent, fee-paying UK school.
British Ancestry visa
Commonwealth nationals who have a grandparent who was born in the UK, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man may enter the UK for a period of five years on a UK ancestry visa. This ancestry visa will open up the entire job market to you and will not carry the restrictions as a UK work permit. Please note that you will have to prove your relationship, and this may require spending a lot of time hunting for old marriage certificates, birth certificates, etc. See below to find out what documents are needed.
The main criteria are that you are able to support yourself without access to public funds and are willing and able to work. It is advantageous, but not necessary, to have a firm offer of employment in the UK.
After five years continuous stay in the UK on an Ancestry visa you may apply for permanent residency as long as you still meet the requirements for the Ancestry visa and you have spent five years in employment in the UK without a break.
You should include all the documents you can to show that you qualify for entry to the UK through UK Ancestry. This should include:
- your full birth certificate
- your marriage certificate, if you are married, and
- the full birth certificates of the parent and grandparent through whose ancestry you are making your application.
You will also need the marriage certificates of your parents and grandparents, and legal adoption papers if you or your parents are adopted.
You must apply for your visa in the country of which you are a national or where you legally live.
- UK Visa Tier Points-Based Immigration System
- Tier 1 Visa
- Tier 1 Exceptional Talent Visa
- Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur
- Tier 1 Investor Visa
- Tier 2 Visa for Skilled Workers
- Tier 2 General Visa
- Tier 2 Intra-Company Transfer Visa
- Tier 2 Visa Points System
- UK Visa Tier 2 Certificate of Sponsorship
- Tier 2 Sponsor Licence Application – How to apply
- UK Tier 2 Shortage Occupation List
- Tier 2 Minister of Religion Visa
- Tier 2 Sportsperson Visa
- Tier 2 Visa Resident Labour Market Test
- Tier 2 visa switching from another visa scheme
- Tier 2 Visa Government fees from 29 March 2019
- Tier 3 Visa – Never Implemented and discontinued
- Tier 4 Student Visas
- Tier 4 Visa for International Students
- Tier 5 Visa for Temporary Workers
- Tier 5 (Temporary Worker – Charity Worker) visa
- Tier 5 (Temporary Worker – Creative and Sporting) visa
- Tier 5 (Temporary Worker – Government Authorised Exchange) visa
- Tier 5 (Temporary Worker – International Agreement) visa
- Tier 5 (Temporary Worker – Religious Worker) visa
- Tier 5 Youth Mobility visa
- Who needs a UK Tier 2 Work Visa or other visa?
- Tier 1 Visa
- Non Tier UK Business visas
- UK Innovator Visa
- UK Start Up Visa
- UK Sole Representative of an overseas business visa
- UK Turkish Businessperson visa
- UK Visitor Visas
- UK Standard Visitor visa
- UK Permitted Paid Engagement visa
- Who needs a UK visitor visa?
- UK Family Visas
- UK Family of a settled person visa
- UK Marriage visa (Family of a Settled Person Visa) tips
- UK Fiancé visa (Family of a Settled Person Visa) tips
- EEA Family Permit and UK Residence Card
- UK Parent of a Tier 4 child visa
- British Ancestry visa
- UK Entry Clearance Guide
- EU, EEA and Swiss Nationals Working in the UK
- UK Family of a settled person visa
- UK Permanent Residence and UK Citizenship
- UK Permanent Residence/Indefinite Leave to Remain
- UK Citizenship and Naturalisation – How to apply
- Children Born Outside The UK
- The British Nationality Act 1981
- British Citizenship By Descent Or Otherwise
- Children born outside the UK/qualifying territory
- UK Children of parents in Crown and similar services
- Children who will not be British citizens
- List of Crown and services
- Right of Abode (UK)
- Children Born Outside The UK
- Long Residence in UK