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Adult Dependent Relative Visa: Bringing your parents to the UK

The law in relation to adult dependant relatives changed on 9th July 2012. Two years on, there is still confusion amongst those wishing to bring their elderly relatives to the United Kingdom, about what criteria have to be met and whether they should make this expensive application. This is the first of three blog posts on the topic. This post will examine what the criteria are, and common problems faced by persons applying in this category. The second post will look at possible ways of marshalling evidence to meet these criteria and the third will look at the campaigning work that is being undertaken to change the law on this issue.

In simple terms the criteria that a person needs to satisfy in order to obtain an adult dependant relative visa are as follows:

  • The person seeking entry clearance (the applicant) must be over 18 and a close relative (parent, grandparent, sibling or child) of the person sponsoring their application;
  • The person sponsoring the application (the sponsor) must be over 18 and either a British citizen or a person present and settled in the UK or someone with refugee leave or humanitarian protection;
  • The applicant (or their partner if a person’s elderly parents are seeking entry clearance as a couple) must as a result of age, illness or disability require long-term personal care to perform everyday tasks;
  • The applicant(s) must be unable, even with the practical and financial help of the sponsor, to obtain the required level of care either because (a) it is not available and there is no person in that country that can reasonably provide it; or (b) it is not affordable;
  • The applicant must be adequately maintained and accommodated in the UK without recourse to public funds. The sponsor has to sign an undertaking that they will maintain and accommodate the applicant for five years.

These are not easy criteria to meet, hence their description by many as “a ban masquerading as rule”. It is clear from the third criterion that unless the person making the application requires long-term personal care with everyday tasks e.g. cooking, cleaning, washing and dressing then the application will not succeed. Those wishing to join their relatives who are healthy or who’s ill healthy simply fails to meet this high standard are unable to make an application under the adult dependent relative rules.

Even if the person applying does experience the high level of ill health required by the third criterion, the fourth criterion is even harder to meet.  Most sponsors who are able to afford to maintain and accommodate their dependent relative for five years will find it hard to prove that they cannot afford to provide care for that relative in their country of origin.

In order to obtain an adult dependent relative visa it is therefore usually necessary to prove that the ‘required level of care’ is not available in the applicant’s country of origin and that there is no one there who can reasonably provide it. In the next article we will suggest some ways that evidence can be directed to try and demonstrate that this criterion is met.

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For advice or assistance with applying for an adult dependent relative visa, or challenging a decision to refuse entry clearance as an adult dependent relative, contact our immigration barristers in London on 0203 617 9173.


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