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How to Apply for an Adult Dependent Relative Visa From the UK

Occasionally, at Richmond Chambers we receive enquiries from clients facing a challenging dilemma. A relative has arrived for a visit and either their condition has deteriorated during the visit or their condition is much worse than what their family in the UK realised when inviting them for a visit. Is it possible to apply for an Adult Dependent Relative visa while your relative is in the UK, or do you need to send them home in order to be able to apply?

The Adult Dependent Relative visa requires that the applicant is outside of the UK and applies for entry clearance. However, there are some specific circumstances in which it is possible for your dependent relative to apply for leave to remain on human rights grounds from within the UK. This post explains when making an in-country human rights application for permission to stay as an Adult Dependent Relative is appropriate and the process to do so.

Immigration Health Warning: Do Not Arrive as a Visitor Intending to Stay!

Some people may be tempted to arrive in the UK on a visitor visa in order to make an in-country application for an Adult Dependent Relative visa. We must stress that this is not a recommended course of action. 

The Immigration Rules state that in order to make a valid visitor visa application, the applicant must be a genuine visitor. This means that the applicant must intend to leave the UK at the end of their visit and that they will not live in the UK for extended periods through frequent or successive visits. 

If the applicant arrives in the UK as a visitor intending to make an in-country application in order to stay in the UK long term, they are not a genuine visitor. Therefore, the applicant would have been dishonest in their visitor application. A finding of dishonesty against an applicant can have lasting negative consequences

When Can You Apply to Stay as an Adult Dependent Relative From the UK?

There are circumstances in which someone can enter the UK with an intention to leave at the end of their stay, but during their stay the circumstances change and it is appropriate to make an in-country application to stay as an Adult Dependent Relative. 

Someone may enter the UK and during their stay become ill or have their condition deteriorate to such an extent that it would be inappropriate for them to return to their country of residence. There are also cases where a person’s family assumed that they were in an acceptable state of health and invited them to the UK for a short visit, only to find that their relative is in such a poor condition that they cannot go back to their country of origin. 

To get an idea of when it may be appropriate to make an in-country application to stay as a Adult Dependent Relative, here is an example of an ADR case that our team worked on last year:

This case involved a 72 year old national of Georgia.  She entered the UK as a Visitor in November 2019 and extended her leave in line with successive Home Office coronavirus policies…While in the UK the Appellant had been living with her daughter and her son-in-law.

The Appellant suffered from various health problems. She had suffered from a stroke and had anxiety and low confidence. After her arrival in the UK the Appellant’s physical and mental health deteriorated and she developed a strong psychological dependence on the Sponsor.

However, each case is different and it is not possible to say whether an in-country application to stay as an Adult Dependent Relative is appropriate without knowing all of the circumstances of the case. Therefore, we strongly recommend that you seek legal advice before deciding whether to make an in-country application. 

When Do You Need to Apply to Stay in the UK as an Adult Dependent Relative?

It is important to avoid your relative becoming an overstayer, as this can have a negative impact on your application and other immigration applications in the future.

If you submit a valid application before your leave is due to expire and a decision is not made until after the expiry of your leave, your leave will be extended while your application is pending by the operation of section 3C of the Immigration Act 1971

How Does an In-Country Application for an Adult Dependent Relative Visa Differ From Entry Clearance?

If you are in a situation similar to the one above then your relative has two options:

  • To leave the UK and apply from their home country for entry clearance as an Adult Dependent Relative; or
  • To remain in the UK and make a human rights application based on your relationship, their health, deterioration and their inability to live in their home country.

For information on applying for entry clearance as an Adult Dependent Relative, please see our previous posts on Adult Dependent Relative visas here and here.

To make a human rights application, it is still helpful to show that the applicant meets all the requirements of an Adult Dependent Relative visa, except for the requirement to apply from out of the UK. This is relevant to the public interest.

The application can be made relying on potentially both private life (although this may be difficult to establish if the applicant has only been in the UK for a short time) and family life. To establish family life in terms of relationships between adult relatives, case law establishes that there should be dependency above the normal emotional ties and that this will depend on the facts. 

Your relative may be able to rely on their private life with reference to the Immigration Rules (Appendix Private Life) arguing that there would be ‘very significant obstacles to integration’ if they were required to return to their home country. For example, they may argue that the treatment they require is not available in their home country. 

The case worker will consider whether there are any ‘exceptional circumstances’ and leave to remain can be granted where a refusal would result in unjustifiably harsh consequences. You can raise arguments related to the impact on your lives in the UK, especially where you have established lives in the UK. 

What Is the Processing Time for an In-Country Adult Dependent Relative Human Rights Application?

If the applicant makes a human rights application from within the UK, they will be able to remain here while their application is being considered, and potentially for the duration of their appeal, as long as their case is not certified as clearly unfounded without a right of appeal. 

An application can be certified, if the Home Office considers it to be clearly unfounded. The case law tells us that a manifestly unfounded claim is defined as:

  • A claim which is so clearly without substance that it is bound to fail;
  • It is possible for a claim to be manifestly unfounded even if it takes more than a cursory look at the evidence to come to a view that there is nothing of substance in it. 

The Home Office website currently states that the standard processing time for a human rights application is:

The average wait time for a decision is currently 10 months. We are working hard to reduce this.

Please note that there may be circumstances which result in your application taking slightly longer.

In comparison, the current processing time for Adult Dependent Relative entry clearance is 24 weeks, due to the war in Ukraine, with the regular processing time being 12 weeks. However, you should take into account that Adult Dependent Relative visas have a high rate of refusals and so it may be necessary to appeal which will make the process longer. 

Contact Our Immigration Barristers

For expert advice and assistance in relation to an Adult Dependent Relative visa application, human rights application or an immigration appeal contact our immigration barristers in London on 0203 617 9173 or via the enquiry form below.


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