USA and the UK
Family Visa UK
There are several options for US citizens who would like to come to the UK using the Family Visa Route. You will need a Family Visa if you intend to join your family in the UK for a period longer than six months. There are various types of visas available, the one that you will need will depend on your circumstances.
With a UK Family Visa, you could join various family members including your spouse, civil partner, fiancé, partner, parent, child, or a relative who will provide long-term care for you. Some of these visas even act as a route to Indefinite Leave to Remain, which allows you to live permanently in the UK.
Free movement ended in the UK on the 31st December 2020, this means that the Family Visas are no longer just for citizens from outside of the European Economic Area (EEA). If you are an EU citizen living in the US then you will still need to apply for a family permit to join your family in the UK.
Types of Family Visas
There are many Family Visa types available for those who would like to join their loved ones in the United Kingdom. They include the:
- Spouse Visa
- Unmarried Partner Visa
- Fiance Visa
- Adult Dependent Visa
- Child Dependent Visa
- Ancestry Visa
You may be able to apply to join your family in the UK if your family member has refugee status or humanitarian protection in the UK. This means that you could be eligible to apply for Family Reunion.
Each of the Family Visa types has its own individual requirements that you must meet.
The Family Visas that allow you to join a partner in the UK include the Spouse, Fiance, and Unmarried Partner Visas.
The Spouse and Unmarried Partner Visas are valid for up to 30 months, after this period you can apply to extend them. These visas are also a route to Indefinite Leave to Remain, after 5 years you could be eligible to apply for this to live in the UK permanently.
The requirements for these are similar, you must:
- Prove that your partner is a British Citizen or a person who is settled in the UK
- Prove that your relationship is genuine and subsisting
- Demonstrate your knowledge of the English language
- Be able to support yourself financially whilst in the UK and have adequate accommodation.
The Fiance Visa is intended for couples who wish to marry in the UK, it is valid for just six months with the assumption that you will be married in this time. To be eligible for this visa you must meet the same requirements as the other partner visas as well as proving your intentions to marry. If you want to continue living in the UK after six months, then you can apply for another UK visa, such as the Spouse Visa, once you are married to your partner.
There are two types of UK Dependent Visas, the Child Dependent and the Adult Dependent Visa
Child Dependent: A child can apply as a dependent to join their family members in the UK either at the same time or separately to their parent. Their parent must have applied to enter the UK as a partner. For this visa, the child must not be living an independent life and will need to be able to be supported financially whilst in the UK.
Adult Dependent: It is very difficult to successfully apply for this type of visa. It is for those who need long-term personal care and they must prove that only their relative in the UK can provide this either due to the care not being available in their home country or being unaffordable. However, the UK relative must prove that they can support the applicant financially whilst in the UK.
You may be able to apply to join your family member in the UK as a dependent if they are already in the UK, or will be moving to the UK on a work visa or student visa.
The Ancestry visa is for citizens of Commonwealth countries who have a grandparent who was born in the UK. US citizens are not eligible for this visa, but if you are a Commonwealth citizen living in the US then you could be.
This visa allows you to stay in the UK for up to 5 years, you can apply to extend it as many times as you like but it is also a route to Indefinite Leave to remain.
Family Visitor Visa
The Family Visitor Visa is for non-EEA citizens who wish to visit family members in the UK. It can be difficult to obtain and is valid for up to 6 months.
However, US citizens do not need a visa to visit the UK because they are recognized as “non-visa nationals”. This means that you can come to the UK for up to 6 months without a visa, however, you cannot work whilst here. If you plan to remain in the UK for more than 6 months then you must apply for another UK visa.
How can IAS help?
We at IAS understand that family is important. Our highly-skilled immigration specialists have a proven track record in UK Family Visa applications. If you are unsure of which one you qualify for, we will assess all possible routes and find one right for you.
We will confirm that your UK family member is eligible to sponsor you, check all of your documents, and complete your application forms for you. Your lawyer will also write you a Letter of Representation to be submitted to the Home Office with your application. This details your application, your documents, and relevant case law to support you.
This service will improve the possibility of receiving a UK Family Visa. For more information, contact us on +1844 290 6312 or inquire online to discuss your UK visa application with an expert.
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As the partner or child of a person in or coming to the UK for work, you will be able to apply to join them as a dependent under most visa types.
As a partner, you will need to prove that:
- You intend to live with your UK sponsor
- Your relationship is genuine
- You have not formed an independent family unit
- You are not leading an independent life
Your UK sponsor will also need to prove they can support you without access to public funds.
As the law currently stands, you will be able to appeal a decision made to refuse your UK Family Visa.
In the event of a refusal, there may be other options to gain entry clearance. Contacting an immigration lawyer is important to get up-to-date, expert advice.
The dependent child of a British Citizen or person with ILR can apply to enter the country and remain with a Child Dependent Visa. To be eligible, the Home Office must be certain that the child is:
- Under 18 years old;
- Not leading an independent life;
- Not married or in a civil partnership; and
- Has not formed an independent family unit.
There are several additional requirements, with more for adopted children.
If the parent of the dependent child has applied to enter as a partner or parent, there is also a financial requirement. The applying parent will also have to prove they can accommodate the child and support them without public funds. In some cases, the child may have to apply as a points-based system (PBS) dependent.
More information on the Dependent Child Visa.
As the parent of a child with British Citizenship or settled status, you can apply for permission to join them or stay here. You will need to show:
- You have sole responsibility or access rights to the child
- You can support yourself and your family without public funds
- You meet the suitability and English Language requirements
If you meet these requirements, you will be able to apply for a UK Family permit for temporary leave to remain in the UK for 30 months. You will be eligible to extend this for a further 30 months if you continue to meet the requirements and, after five years, you can apply for ILR.
If you are applying from outside the UK, you must be granted your permit before traveling.
If you are already in the UK, you will eligible as long as:
- you are not on a Visitor Visa;
- you are not on temporary admission;
- permission to stay was not given for less than six months (unless on a fiancé(e) or proposed civil partner visa); and
- you are not in breach of the Immigration Rules (overstaying for less than 28 days will not be taken into account).
Our team of experienced lawyers can help you with all UK immigration applications, including all of the Family Visas. They offer a variety of immigration services to assist you with this.
- Assess your eligibility;
- Ensure your UK relative can sponsor you;
- Help you make sure you have acceptable proof of your relationship to your relative;
- Perform a full document check;
- Liaise with you in person, over the phone, or via Skype at a time which is suitable for you;
- Produce a Letter of Representation to accompany your application forms. This letter provides details of your case as well as references to your evidence portfolio and relevant case law;
- Maintain communication with the Home Office throughout the process;
- Complete all of your application forms expertly.
Contact us on +1844 290 6312 or use our online contact form to receive high-quality advice about your UK Family Visa application from one of our immigration attorneys.