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UK Parent Visa Relationship Requirements

Appendix FM to the Immigration Rules allows parents to join their children, under the age of 18, in the UK.  There are a number of relationship requirements, which differ slightly when applying for entry clearance or leave to remain as a parent.  In this post we look at the UK parent visa relationship requirement for an application under Appendix FM.

Parent Visa Relationship Requirements

The child of the applicant must be; under 18, living in the UK and be either a British Citizen, settled in the UK, or an EEA national in the UK with limited leave under Appendix EU. If applying for leave to remain, the applicant can meet this requirement if their child has lived in the UK continuously for at least the 7 years immediately preceding the date of application and paragraph EX.1. of Appendix FM applies.

For the applicant, one of two criteria must be met in order to meet the relationship requirement.

The first is that the applicant must have sole responsibility which must be evidenced in the application. If applying for leave to remain, the applicant can alternatively demonstrate that the child normally lives with the applicant and not their other parent.

The second is that the parent with whom the child normally lives with must be a British Citizen in the UK, settled in the UK, or an EEA national in the UK with limited leave under Appendix EU, must not be the partner of the applicant and the must not be eligible to apply for entry clearance as a partner under this Appendix. Evidence must be provided of direct access (in person) to the child, as agreed with the parent or carer with whom the child normally lives or as ordered by a court in the UK.

For both criteria, the applicant must evidence that they are taking, and intend to continue to take, an active role in the child’s upbringing.

Parent Visa Route or Partner Visa Route?

The parent and partner immigration routes are two separate applications under Appendix FM. Page 36 of the Home Office Guidance “Family life (as a partner or parent), private life and exceptional circumstances” (Version 13.0, published on 28 January 2021) states:

“The parent route is not for couples who are in a genuine and subsisting partner relationship. An applicant cannot meet the parent route if they are or will be eligible to apply under the partner route, including where for example the definition of partner cannot be met, or other eligibility criteria for access to a 5-year route are not met. Applicants in this position must apply or will only be considered (where they are not required to make a valid application), under the partner route, or under the private life route.”

Sole Parental Responsibility

Sole parental responsibility means that one parent has abdicated or abandoned parental responsibility, and the remaining parent is exercising sole control in setting and providing the  day-to-day direction for the child’s welfare.

The child’s care may be shared with others such as relatives or friends who may offer practical help, for example, picking the child up from school.

It will be considered whether the applicant has continuing sole control and direction of the child’s upbringing, Evidence should be provided to demonstrate that the applicant has exclusive responsibility for making decisions in the child’s life, for example, their education and medical treatment.

Where both parents are involved in the child’s upbringing, it will be difficult to establish that one parent has sole parental responsibility.

Where the child normally lives

The consideration of  who the child normally lives with normally applies where the parents have retained shared parental rights and responsibilities. This can be demonstrated through a court order or consensual agreement between the parents.

The primary residence of the child is the residence where the child spends most of their time. Whilst there is no specified evidence for this requirement, the onus is on the applicant to show that a child normally lives with them or with a British citizen or settled parent.

In addition to providing evidence of a court order or consensual agreement, an applicant may wish to provide official correspondence showing the child’s address such as evidence from their school or doctor.

Direct Access

If the applicant does not normally live with the child, they must demonstrate that they have direct access (in person) to the child, as agreed with the parent or carer with whom the child normally lives or as ordered by a court in the UK.

Ongoing active role

In all cases, the applicant must provide evidence that they are taking, and intend to continue to take, an active role in the child’s upbringing. There is no specified evidence required to demonstrate this, but the onus will be on the applicant to demonstrate that they have had an active role in their child’s upbringing and will continue to do so.

Other Requirements

There are a number of other requirements which must be met in order to make a successful application on the parent route.

If applying for entry clearance, you must apply from outside of the UK. If applying for leave to remain, there is an immigration status requirement to meet. There are also a number of suitability requirements which must be met.

To meet the financial requirement, an applicant must show that they will be able to adequately maintain and accommodate themselves in the UK without recourse to public funds.

Contact our Immigration Barristers

For expert advice and assistance regarding a family or partner visa application, contact our immigration barristers on 0203 617 9173 or complete our enquiry form below.

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