London Immigration Lawyers
0204 502 8582 (local rate)

Mon - Sun, 8.30 am - 6pm

Find an office

10 offices in the UK


We are the UK's leading immigration specialists
OISC Accredited UK immigration lawyers
We've had over 5000 applications approved
Get the correct advice from qualified immigration experts
4.7 rating 414 reviews

Family Visas

You can qualify for a Family Visa if you want to join your partner or relative in the UK.  If you need visa advice or help to join or accompany your family members to the UK, we’re here to help you in person, via the phone or online.

Call us on 020 4502 8582 for help & assistance with your UK family visa application. We’re here to help you in person, via the phone or online.


    Request a call back from our immigration experts

    Family-based Visas

    While there is no set UK Family Visa, there are many types of visas for family members that fall under different immigration categories. These are used by relatives and partners of British nationals and British residents, who want to join or accompany them in/to the UK.

    These visas vary in length, cost, and processing time. They each have different requirements depending on the applicant’s background, relationship to their relative, and reason for joining them in the United Kingdom. Most UK Family Visas require the applicant to prove their relationship to their UK relative (usually called the ‘sponsor’).

    To find out more about the different types of Family-based UK Visas and their requirements, call our team on 0203 411 1966. Our team of London and UK-based lawyers can help you understand your requirements, options and next steps for you to join and accompany your family in/to the UK.

    Immigration Advice Service 4.7 rating 414 reviews Logo

    UK Family Visa requirements

    To be eligible for a UK Family Visa, you must be one of the following:

    • A spouse, partner or close relative of a British citizen or settled person
    • A dependant spouse, partner or close relative of a person who has valid entry clearance in the UK
    • The granddaughter/grandson of a British citizen (who was born in the UK)
    • The family member of a person based in the UK, if you are looking to visit for a temporary period

    As part of the requirements for these kinds of visas, you must usually prove that your relationship with your family members is genuine. To do this you will need to supply marriage/birth certificates, photographic evidence, and other documentation. This can include proof of your correspondence, living together, or spending time with each other.

    In the case where your entry clearance requires the UK-based family member to act as the visa sponsor, a letter of sponsorship may be required. This should include information on how you are related to/know the applicant, how long you have known them, and how often you see each other currently. It should also include evidence to show that you are who you say you are and that you are either a British citizen, settled person, or person with valid entry clearance.

    Types of family-based visas

    It is worth remembering that there is no set ‘Family Visa’ and, if you want to join or accompany your partner or relative to the UK, you must find the category which best suits you. These categories include:

    • Spouse, unmarried partner, and civil partner
    • Ancestry Visa
    • Dependant children
    • Dependant adults
    • ‘Family Visit Visas’
    • EEA Family Permit

    Some of the family-based visa types are temporary, while others are permanent. For example, Spouse Visas last for two and a half years and can lead to ILR. On the other hand, Family Visitor Visas are temporary and allow the holder to visit their UK-based family member for a short, set period (up to six months) before returning home.

    As well as this, each type falls under a different visa category, which means there are different eligibility requirements for each one. For example, most Dependant Child Visas have the same guidelines as the type of visa held by the parent. So, if a parent on a Skilled Worker Visa wanted to bring their child with them to the UK, for instance, the child’s visa and its requirements would be tied to theirs.

    Spouse and Partner Visas

    There is a range of UK partner visas that allow people to join their long-term partners in the UK. These include:

    • UK Fiance Visas/Proposed Civil Partner Visas: for those who want to join their engaged British/settled partner before marrying them in the UK
    • Spouse Visas: for those who are married to someone with British citizenship or settled status
    • Civil Partnership Visas: for those who are the civil partners of a British citizen or settled person
    • Unmarried Partner Visas: for those who want to join their British or settled long-term partner in the UK

    Partner Visa processing time

    The average processing time for a Partner Visa is two to 12 weeks, although some applications can take longer to review if fraud is suspected or there is something complex or unusual about your case.

    Partner Visa documents

    • To prove that your relationship with your partner is genuine, you can include a range of documents. These include:
    • Evidence of conversations you have had with your partner during your relationship (phone logs, emails, chat logs, texts, Skype sessions, etc)
    • Photographs of you together
    • Tickets from traveling to/with each other
    • Tickets from events you have attended together
    • Bank statements from shared bank accounts
    • Receipts from meals out together
    • Receipts from gifts you have bought each other

    Ancestry Visas

    Ancestral Visas are used by people who have/had a grandparent who was a British citizen by birth. To be eligible, you need to be:

    • A Commonwealth citizen
    • Able to prove your relationship to your UK grandparent is real
    • Planning to work once in the UK
    • Applying from outside the UK
    • Over the age of 17

    A UK Ancestry Visa lasts for five years, and you can use this time as part of the qualifying period for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR).

    Ancestry Visa processing time

    The estimated processing time for this type of visa is three weeks. However, this time could vary depending on the complexity and where you are applying from.

    Ancestry Visa costs

    The application fee for this visa is £531.

    Ancestry Visa documents

    There are several documents you must provide to meet the UK ancestry requirements. You should include:

    • Your passport
    • Bank statements which prove you have enough money to support yourself in the UK
    • Results of your Tuberculosis screening
    • Your birth certificate
    • The birth certificates of the parent and grandparent that your claim is based on
    • The marriage certificates of your grandparents (if they were married)
    • Evidence that you’re planning to work in the UK (for example, if you have any job offers or interviews lined up for when you arrive)

    Whether you need Family Visa advice, application support, or appeal representation, our lawyers can help you. Find out how

      Request a call back from our immigration experts

      Adult Dependant Visas

      Adult Dependant Visas are some of the hardest UK Family Visas to make an application for, and the refusal rate for them is very high.

      To be eligible for an Adult Dependant Relative Visa, you must be in need of long-term care from a family member in the UK. This person can be a child, grandchild, parent or sibling, but they must be living permanently in the UK. They can be a British citizen or have settled status.

      To meet the requirements for this visa, you need to demonstrate the following:

      • You need care and help to complete everyday tasks, including personal and household tasks because of disability, illness, or age
      • You are unable to receive this care in the country you live in because it is either unavailable or unaffordable
      • The person you want to join in the UK can support you, care for you, and accommodate you for at least five years without claiming public funds
      • You are over the age of 18

      This route is a permanent family-based UK visa. This means that your stay is unlimited – you do not need to extend your visa or apply for settled status. This is one of the reasons the route is so competitive and complex. There is a significantly high refusal rate for applications for adult dependants. When this is factored into the cost of this category of application, it is highly advised that you seek the help of an immigration professional, like a solicitor or lawyer who specialises in family visa law, who can help prepare you to prepare you application.

      Adult Dependant Visa processing time

      This visa takes approximately 12 weeks to be processed by UKVI, although, as it is a complex visa category, this can often be extended.

      Adult Dependant Visa documents

      The applicant must first be able to prove that they need long-term care. Documents to show this can include the following:

      • Medical evidence showing that they have a physical or mental condition that prohibits them from completing everyday tasks. This must be from a doctor or health professional.
      • Evidence which shows they cannot get this care in their home country. This needs to be from either a local health authority; a local authority; or a doctor/health professional.
      • Evidence to show that the UK sponsor is able to provide them with the care they need. This can include bank statements, proof of a steady income (such as a job contract)
      • Proof that the UK sponsor is either British or settled in the UK. Passports, birth certificates and relevant immigration documents (such as proof they hold Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK) can be used.

      Child Dependant Visas

      If you are coming to the UK on a points-based-visa, your partner and children can apply to accompany you.

      This process is called a Dependant Visa application. You are eligible to do this if you have/are applying for entry clearance under the Tier 1, Skilled Worker, Student or Temporary Worker visa categories.

      To apply for this type of visa, you need to show that you have enough money to support all your family members without claiming public funds. This can include your prospective salary (if applying as a worker) but you must also have enough saved to ensure that you can support yourself and all dependants before you receive your first paycheque.

      A ‘dependant’ is any of the following:

      • Your wife, husband, civil partner, or long-term (two years or more) unmarried partner
      • Your child under the age of 18
      • Your child over the age of 18 (if they are already living in the UK as your dependant*)

      *This is valid when applying for a visa extension after finishing your period of living in the UK with your initial visa. For example, if you have lived in the UK with your family on a Skilled Worker Visa for two and a half years and, during this time, your child passes their 18th birthday.

      Child Dependant Visa processing time

      Family members of UK visa-holders must apply online for their visas. Once they have done this, their visa should take approximately 30 days to process. Dependant Visa applications are often relatively straightforward

      Child Dependant Visa documents

      If you want to bring your family with you when living in the UK with a visa, you will need to provide several documents to support your application. These include:

      • The applicant’s passport
      • A photo for a UK visa, printed in colour
      • Original birth certificates
      • Proof of a Tuberculosis screening
      • Previous passports (to show travel history)
      • Proof of income (to show that the dependant will be supported during their time in the UK)

      EEA Family Permits & EEA Settlement Scheme Family Permits

      If you’re a national from a country outside of the European Economic Area (EEA) and you have an EEA family member who is living in the UK, you may be able to join them using an EEA Family Permit.

      To be eligible for this, you can be a close or extended relative of an EEA national (not including British) who is currently living in the UK. These are defined as: brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers, daughters, sons, uncles, aunts, cousins, nephews or nieces.

      The EEA Settlement Scheme Family Permit functions in a very similar way to the EEA Family Permit. However, you can only apply for this if you are a ‘close’ family member. This includes brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers, daughters, and sons.  Both are valid for six months.

      EEA Family Permit processing time

      The reported processing time for this route is 15 days.

      EEA Family Permit costs

      Both routes are free.

      EEA Family Permit documents

      With your application, you should include:

      • Your passport
      • Proof of your relationship to your EEA family member (e.g a birth certificate)
      • Proof that you have enough funds to support yourself during your time in the UK without the need for public funds

      Visas for visiting family members

      If you want to visit your family for a short period of time, you can apply for a UK Family Visit Visa. This route falls under the Standard Visitor Visa category.

      This is a temporary visa that allows you to enter the UK for a limited amount of time (up to six months) to visit a family member. During this visit, you are not permitted to work or conduct business, and you must return once your visit has elapsed.

      Family Visitor Visa processing time

      The average processing time for this type of Family Visa is between 15 and 30 days.

      Family Visitor Visa costs

      A Visitor Visa costs £100.

      In some circumstances, such as if you are visiting for medical purposes, the length of a Visit Visa can be extended up to 10 years, although visitors are required not to stay in the UK for more than six months at each visit during this extended period.

      Family Visitor Visa documents

      You should include the following documents in any Visitor Visa application:

      • A valid travel document (like a passport)
      • Financial documents which show you have funds to support yourself (like bank statements, or employment details)
      • Proof that you have a credible reason for the return to the UK once your visa has expired. This could be proof of an existing job, study course, partnership, family, etc.
      Advice Package icon

      Advice Package

      Comprehensive immigration advice tailored to your circumstances and goals.

      Application Package icon

      Application Package

      Designed to make your visa application as smooth and stress-free as possible.

      Fast Track Package icon

      Fast Track Package

      Premium application service that ensures your visa application is submitted to meet your deadline.

      Appeal Package icon

      Appeal Package

      Ensure you have the greatest chance of a successful appeal. We will represent you in any case.

      Advice Package image

      The Advice Package

      During this untimed Advice Session with our professional immigration lawyers in London, you will receive our comprehensive advice, completely tailored to your needs and your situation.

        Request a call back from our immigration experts

        Request the Advice Package
        Application Package image

        The Application Package

        With our Application Package, your dedicated immigration lawyer will advise you on your application process and eligibility. Your caseworker will then complete and submit your forms to the Home Office on your behalf.

          Request a call back from our immigration experts

          Request the Application Package
          Fast Track Package image

          The Fast Track Package

          Our Fast-Track Application Package is a premium service for those who need to submit their application in time with their deadlines. Your case will become a top priority for our lawyers and you will benefit from our highest-quality services.

            Request a call back from our immigration experts

            Request the Fast Track Package
            Appeal Package image

            The Appeal Package

            By choosing our Appeal Package, you can rely on our lawyers’ legal knowledge and experience to ensure you have the highest chance of a successful appeal. We will also fully represent you in any hearings/tribunals.

              Request a call back from our immigration experts

              Request the Appeal Package

              Contact us to begin your journey towards joining your family in the UK. Get in touch

                Request a call back from our immigration experts

                Related pages for your continued reading.

                Frequently Asked Questions

                Certain types of family-based visas allow you to work during your time in the UK. For example, if you are in the UK as the spouse or partner of a British or settled person, you can take on employment.

                Dependant visas allow the holder to take on employment as long as their parent is in the UK with valid entry clearance. There are, however, a few restrictions. Dependants are not allowed to work as a doctor or dentist in training, or a sportsperson or coach.

                You can bring a parent to the UK in certain circumstances.

                The first is if they need long-term care for a disability or illness that only you can provide. In this case they can apply for an Adult Dependant Relative Visa.

                Otherwise, you can also bring a parent to the UK with you if you are an EEA citizen living in the UK under free movement laws, and they are a non-EEA national living overseas. To do this, they will need to apply for either an EEA Family Permit or an EEA Settlement Scheme Family Permit. The latter is recommended to ensure full protection after Brexit. Both applications are free and generally quick to process.

                This can vary massively but is generally between one and three months. In cases where the processing period takes more time, this is usually when there is something especially complex about a case. For example, if you are applying for a Partner Visa, and the UKVI are uncertain about whether or not the ‘genuine relationship’ criteria is met, the review process can take much longer.

                You can apply for a visa for the UK as a family unit by using Dependant Visas. These allow you to bring your partners and children with you if you have valid entry clearance under the points-based visa system. In this scenario, your family can apply to accompany you to the UK for the duration of your stay, as your dependants.

                According to the UK’s immigration and asylum laws, your partner or child is able to join you in the UK if:

                • You have refugee status, or five years’ humanitarian protection or settlement in the UK on protective grounds
                • You were part of a family before you were formed to flee to the UK

                Your family member is not eligible to join you if either of the following apply:

                • You are under the age of 18
                • You are still awaiting the decision of your asylum claim

                The only family members who can join you under the Refugee Family Reunion category are children and long-term partners.

                To qualify as a partner, a person must be:

                • Married to you
                • In a civil partnership with you
                • Your long-term partner, who has lived with you in a committed relationship for at least two years

                To book a visa appointment you should contact your nearest visa application centre through the Government website.

                If you applied for a visa on behalf of your family member – like your foreign spouse for example — you cannot attend the centre for them. The applicant themselves must attend.

                At the appointment, you will be asked to submit documents that prove you are eligible for the UK Family Visa application you are making. To prepare for this, you can use the document checklist in your application.

                If you are making a visa appointment for your whole family (for example, if they are applying as your dependants) you can all go together. However, each applicant must attend a separate meeting.