Family Life as a Parent

Pre 2012 the route used to be called Right to Access the child and now this has been renamed to family life as a parent.

A non-British parent can exercise their right of access to their child/children (under 18 years) who are resident in the UK and are a British citizen or settled in the UK. A single non-British parent can apply for leave to enter or remain in the UK on the basis of their family life with a British or settled child who is living in the UK. This application can only be made by a single parent/s. Those who are still in a relationship with the other parent cannot apply under the parent route they should rather submit an application under the partner route.

Family life as a parent visa

Those single non-British parent whose child is resident in the UK can apply for family life as a parent visa to join their child in the UK to raise them. However, such parent must have sole parental responsibility of the child or be normally living with the child, or they must have direct contact with the child.

Parent’s route requirements

The conditions to be met are:

  • You need to have the sole responsibility for the child; or
  • You need to have direct access to your child and in that situation, another parent of the child must not be your partner.
  • In order to prove direct access to the child, you must provide evidence from the court or agreed with another parent
  • You must be able to prove that you have an active involvement in the upbringing of the child.
  • You must also prove that you are able to meet maintenance and accommodation cost for yourself, the child, and any other children that you care for.
  • You must fulfill the English Language requirement at Level A 1 of the CEFR (only applicable to 5-year route).

You must meet the above conditions in order to submit an application as a parent in the UK. However, even if you don’t meet the above conditions still you can extend your permission to stay in the UK if:

  • Your child living in the UK is a UK British citizen or has lived in the UK for 7 years or more.
  • It would not be reasonable for them to leave the UK and continue their life outside the UK.

Once you apply for Family life as a parent visa and if your application is successful you will be granted a stay in the UK for 2.5 years. After this time period, you need to apply for an extension. Also if you complete 5 or 10 years continuously in the UK as a parent then you become eligible to apply for indefinite leave to remain in the UK.

If you are looking to submit an application under this route, please contact Visa and Migration Ltd for professional advice on your application and process.






Sole Responsibility

Generally, the concept of sole responsibility is only applicable where the parents may have separated or divorced. The responsibility of the child is such cases are with one of the parents who are in the UK. If the parent in the UK wants their child to join them in the UK then they will need to establish that they have the sole responsibility of the child.

If you are settled in the UK or on a temporary leave and want your child to join you from overseas then you will need to prove that you are solely responsible for the child. That means that you are the person who is the chief decision-maker in connection with the child who is currently outside the United Kingdom.

The UK based parent, in this case, is the sponsoring parent. Such parent must be able to show that he/she has been solely responsible for care and development of the child for a substantial period. Thus they will be establishing that they are the chief decision maker for the child’s well-being.

If the child is separated from sponsoring parent, then it will be expected normally that the child has been in the care of the sponsoring parent’s relatives rather than in the care of the relatives of the other parent outside the UK. And if it is found that the child has been in the care of the other parent’s relatives and also the other parent lives nearby the child and actively involved in the child’s welfare then such applications by sponsor parent for bringing their child to the UK under sole responsibility will be refused.

Sole responsibility test

A child under 18 outside UK cannot simply join his/her UK based parent unless the UK based parent passes sole responsibility test. A child under the age of 18 can seek leave to enter the UK to accompany or join a parent who is present and settled in the UK (someone who has obtained indefinite leave to remain or who has acquired British citizenship) and is solely responsible for the child’s upbringing.

Sole responsibility is a test invented for and exists solely in the immigration jurisdiction which has three main limbs: legal responsibility (for example legal custody of the child has been given to the UK parent), financial responsibility and emotional responsibility which mean they are making important decisions about the child’s upbringing and sending money for the child’s education and other needs.

Assessment of sole responsibility

While assessing the sole responsibility of a parent following factors are considered by Home Office:

  • Are the parents married / in a civil partnership?
  • If the marriage/civil partnership does not sustain and gets dissolved, in that situation which parent was awarded legal custody of the child, which includes the assumption of responsibility for the child?
  • When there is a legal custody order of the child is given in favor of the UK parent, the ECO should make sure that that the issue of a settlement entry clearance to the child will not contravene the terms of the custody order.
  • Is there a situation where the marriage / civil partnership subsist, but both the parents do not live together?
  • For how long has the sponsoring parent been separated from the child after he/she migrated to the UK?
  • If the sponsoring parent migrated to the UK, how was the child taken care of before and after the sponsoring parent migrated?
  • What has been the relationship between the sponsoring parent and the child if the sponsoring parent migrated to the UK?
  • Has the child been consistently supported by sponsoring parent directly or by personal care; or has there been a regular and substantial financial remittance by sponsoring a parent for the care of the child?
  • Who of the parents and in what proportions bore the cost of the child’s maintenance?
  • Who is the one taking the important decisions of the child’s upbringing, for example where the child lives, which school child studies, which religion child practices etc.?


However, there have been challenges when sponsoring parent tries to bring their child to the UK under sole responsibility.

The case of TD Yemen [2006] UKAIT 00049 is the Stare Decisis for establishing sole responsibility.

If you are looking for professional assistance in making the application for your child to join you in the UK, please contact Visa and Migration Ltd

Applying for Sole Representative Visa

Overseas companies who intend to establish their operations in the UK are able to send a representative from the organisation who can set up a company branch in the UK. The representative will be solely responsible for the operations of the company in the UK.

Requirements for Sole Representative

  • You must be from outside EEA and Switzerland
  • You must be recruited and employed by a company outside the UK. The company is considered to be fit if they have headquarters and principal place of business outside the UK.
  • You must hold a senior position in the company. However, you cannot be a major shareholder/director in the company which means they cannot be holding more than 50% shares of the company.
  • You must have full authority to make operational decisions on the company’s behalf in the UK.
  • You must intend to work full time for your employer to establish the first commercial presence in the UK, for example establishing a registered branch or a wholly owned subsidiary of the company.

You may also be a sole representative if the company has a legal entity in the UK which does not employ staff or does not transact any business in the UK. If your company has already been making efforts to establish a UK branch or subsidiary, but so far no branch or subsidiary has been set up, in that case, you can replace a previous sole representative.

Moving employees to the UK

Businesses overseas can send their employees to the UK through Tier 2 ICT or Business Visit visa options. The choice of choosing the visa category will be determined by a number of factors which includes the role of the employee in the company and role they will perform in the UK, the nature of the activity they have to carry out, the time they plan to spend in the UK and also the status of the company’s operations in the UK.

How long it takes and how long can you stay

You can apply the earliest 3 months before you travel to the UK. Once you apply from the outside UK, you should get a decision on your visa application within 3 weeks.

Once you are granted Sole Representative Visa, you can come to the UK for 3 years initially and you may extend your visa for 2 more years, provided you meet the requirements for an extension. After you complete 5 years in the UK, you can apply for permanent settlement/Permanent Residence/ Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK.

What you can do and what you cannot do

As a sole representative in the UK, you can work full time for your employer. You can also bring your family to the UK and you can extend your visa multiple times.

However, with Sole Representative Visa, you cannot work for yourselves or any other company or business. If the sole representative arrangement is ended by your employer then you cannot stay in the UK anymore. You cannot switch from any other visa category to this visa category and you are not allowed access to the public funds in the UK.



Tier 1 and Tier 2 – Point Based System – dependent visa

Many migrants come to the UK and they have their dependents back home. They also want to join them in the UK. The UK Immigration rules do allow the dependents to accompany or join the main applicant in the UK.

Point-based system (PBS) dependent visa is for the family – Wife/ Children under 18 years of age to join or accompany the main applicant. Dependents may have different rights given to them as compared to the rights applicable to the main applicant. As a PBS dependent you need to know the rights you have, entitlement for activities and so on. It is important for you to understand all the factors that apply to you as a PBS Dependent. Once you know this you won’t breach any UK immigration laws and you also plan properly for your ILR if you decide to make the UK your home. There are many variations in rules and requirements for PBS dependents are under paragraph 319 of the Immigration Rules.

If you came to the UK after July 2012 then you need to spend minimum 5 years in the UK to qualify for ILR.

Tier 1 and Tier 2 PBS dependents

 A dependent is one who is one of the following:

  • Your husband, wife or your unmarried partner.
  • Your child below 18 years
  • Your child above 18 who came in the UK as a dependent before they turned 18 years old.

Please note – Children above 16 years of age have additional evidence requirements.

Tier 1 and Tier 2 PBS dependents can enjoy following:

  • They can work full time in the UK without any restriction.
  • They can apply for ILR after 5 years in the UK. However, they must show evidence of a genuine and subsisting relationship in the UK.
  • They cannot enjoy benefits while in the UK as this is a breach of a PBS Dependent’s immigration permission.
  • They can study full time when they are in the UK. But they have to pay international university fees for this.
  • They are not tied to the same number of days out of the country restrictions as the main applicant.
  • They can access NHS

Maintenance Requirement

You must show that dependents coming to join you can be supported financially and will not be dependent on public funds in the UK. Each dependent whether applying with you or separately must have at least £630 available with them and this is required in addition to the amount of £945 which you must have to support yourself while you are in the UK. You must show the proof that money has been available and it has been in your bank account or the dependent’s bank account for a minimum 90 days before you or dependents apply. However, you don’t need to show evidence of savings if you have a fully approved A-rated Tier 2 sponsor provides confirmation of maintenance for dependents.

Please note – Tier 1 Dependents applying from outside the UK have to show £1890 for 90 days, whereas Tier 2 dependents only need to show £630 from outside or inside the UK.

Applying from within and outside the UK and applying for children born while you are in the UK

If your dependents apply from outside the UK then they can apply online and if your partner and/or child apply from within the UK to extend or switch their visas to stay with you if they are already in the UK then they can ask to use priority service and get same day decision at the premium service center. If you have children while you are in the UK, you can apply to receive permission for your children to stay in the UK.