Living with your family in the UK for more than 6 months requires a family visa. Whether you’re applying from outside the UK, extending your stay, or switching to a family visa, there are certain requirements and fees to consider. In this article, we’ll provide you with all the information you need to navigate the process successfully.
Applying from Outside the UK
Are you planning to live with your spouse, partner, child, parent, or a relative who will provide long-term care for you? If so, you can apply for a family visa even if you’re currently outside the UK. It’s the first step towards bringing your family together in the UK.
Extending Your Family Visa
If you’re already in the UK on a family visa and would like to extend your stay, you can apply to do so at any time before your current permission expires. However, if you’re extending your visa to stay with the same family member, please note that you’ll only receive up to 28 additional days on your new visa. Additionally, keep in mind that there is a minimum residency requirement before you’re eligible for settlement, also known as “indefinite leave to remain.” Make sure to check the specific residency time required before extending your visa. It’s worth mentioning that if you’ve lived in the UK for many years already, you might be eligible to apply to stay based on your private life.
Switching to a Family Visa
Perhaps you initially came to the UK on a different visa, but now you want to stay with your spouse, child, or parent. In that case, you have the option to switch to a family visa. You can make this switch at any time before your current permission to stay in the UK expires.
The cost of your family visa application depends on who you’re joining and how you apply. If you’re applying from outside the UK, the cost to join your partner, parent, or child is £1,538. For each additional dependent added to your application, it’s £1,538 per person. If you’re an adult who needs to be looked after by a relative with temporary “protection status,” the cost varies between £388 and £1,408, depending on whether you’re applying from inside or outside the UK. For those without “protection status,” the cost is either £3,250 or £1,408, depending on the application location. In certain situations where you cannot afford essential living costs or a place to live, you may be eligible for a fee waiver.
When applying for a family visa, it’s important to consider the healthcare surcharge as well. For each adult (18 or older), the cost ranges from £1,560 to £3,120, depending on the duration of your stay. For each child (under 18), the cost ranges from £1,175 to £2,350.
Get a Faster Decision on Your Application
To expedite the decision-making process, you have the option to pay an additional £800 for the super priority service. This service allows you to receive a faster decision on your application. However, please note that the super priority service is not available if you’re applying as an adult coming to be cared for by a relative.
How Long It Takes
If you apply outside the UK, a decision on your family visa application will typically be made within 24 weeks. If you apply in the UK using the standard service, a decision will usually be made within 8 weeks of your application date. Alternatively, if you opt for the super priority service, you can expect a decision to be made by the end of the next working day after providing your biometric information on a weekday or within two working days if your appointment is on the weekend. Keep in mind that working days are Monday to Friday, excluding bank holidays. However, if your application is complex or you fail to meet certain requirements, it may take longer to process.
Other Ways You Can Stay
In certain circumstances, you may be eligible to settle in the UK or join a partner or parent with protection status. For instance, if you were a victim of domestic abuse or your partner has passed away, you might be able to apply to settle in the UK. Additionally, if your family member has leave to remain as a refugee or humanitarian protection, you may be able to apply for “family reunion” to join them.
When You Cannot Get a Family Visa
Unfortunately, there are instances where you cannot apply for or switch to a family visa. For example, if your family member is in the UK temporarily on a work or student visa, you cannot apply for a family visa. However, in such cases, you can apply to stay with them as a dependent instead. Similarly, if you have a visitor visa or a visa for 6 months or less, it’s usually necessary to leave the UK to apply for a family visa. Nevertheless, exceptions exist, such as having a 6-month family visa as a fiancé, fiancée, proposed civil partner, or staying in the UK for a family court case or divorce outcome.
For more information on family visas, visit Ratingperson. We’re here to assist you throughout the application process and ensure you have the necessary knowledge to make informed decisions for your family’s future.