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Children and sole responsibility

If you are a parent already in the UK or applying to enter the UK, you can apply for your child to either accompany you or join you in the UK. A child for the purpose of UK Immigration Law is considered to be under the 18 years of age.  

Where both the parents are in the UK or are coming to the UK at the same time with the child the sole responsibility is not need to be established.  

Sole Responsibility only comes in play when you are a single parent and the other parent is not coming to the UK, in such cases the sole responsibility becomes very important for the application of the child.  

Sole Responsibility 

The word 'sole responsibility is a legal term used in UK immigration law. This means that if you are – on day to day responsible for the child upbringing, for example, you are the one who made the decision to which school the child attend, what religion the child will follow, etcectra.  

The test for establishing Sole responsibility is provided by the case of  TD (Paragraph 297(i)(e): “sole responsibility”) Yemen [2006] UKAIT 00049 –  

The test is, not whether anyone else has day-to-day responsibility, but whether the parent has continuing control and direction of the child’s upbringing including making all the important decisions in the child’s life – if not, responsibility is shared and so not “sole”.  

You must show that you have had exclusive parental control of your child for a substantial period either because your marriage/civil partnership broke permanently or your spouse/partner left your child and went into any other country for work or other purposes. 

You or your relative (not your partner's relative) must take the day-to-day care of your child and control the direction in respect of the significant decisions about the child's upbringing until the child is 18. 

What does Home Office look for while establishing 'sole responsibility? 

The UK Home Office looks whether you have responsibility of making decisions in connection with the child’s upbringing  This may include the following: 

  • You should be able to support your child's needs financially during their upbringing; 
  • It would be best if you took care of day to day needs of your child. For example: which school your child should attend, looking for your child's best interest, helping him/her in their homework, having a keen interest in what all extracurricular activities your child is good at or participate in, etc. 
  • You are taking care of the health of your child. For example: include visiting the right doctor when your child is in need, keeping in touch with the doctor for your child's status and recovery, providing good food to your child for their good health, encouraging them to play and study and not indulge in unhealthy practices such as spending hours on the phone or playing video games, etc. 
  • It would be best if you also were taking care of your child's emotional needs. For example: what kind of people your child is building relationships with and dissuade your child from having a company of criminal or dangerous people, what religious practices your child follows and where he/she lives etc. 

The burden of proof is on you to establish that you have sole responsibility and this can only be discharged with the evidence.  For more information about UK Sole Representative Visa, check our website.

If you are looking for representations on any of the above routes you can get a free assessment from one of our lawyers at Visa and Migration Ltd. You can call 02034111261 or email   


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Visa and Migration is a private OISC regulated company (F201500999) and is not an official Government body. If you would like to prepare and submit your UK immigration application yourself you can do so by visiting the UKVI website.