Child Dependant Visa UK

UK law is focused on keeping families together wherever possible, but the complexities of modern families mean this is not always straightforward. That is because the processes and rules involved can vary significantly according to your circumstances. Navigating the UK’s Immigration Rules can be tricky, which is why Latitude’s lawyers will be with you every step of the way.

We can help you to navigate the complexities of obtaining a child visa; UK authorities require you to provide supporting documentation to prove that you and your child meet the visa’s requirements. While you can apply for the child dependant visa yourself, this brings with it the risk of making costly and time-consuming mistakes. Our team is made up of immigration experts who will ensure you avoid the many pitfalls surrounding applying for immigration status.

Contact our child dependant visa (UK) experts for help applying on behalf of your child. Call our Manchester team on 0044 161 234 6800 or our London team on 0044 207 046 7185. Alternatively, fill out an online contact form and we will return your call at a time convenient for you.


Who can apply for a child dependant visa?

Any child under 18 of parents who are relocating to the UK for a long-term purpose such as a work assignment, settled, travelling to the UK for the purposes of settlement, or one of whom is British, may apply for entry clearance in the child dependant category. Having your child aged under 18 accompany or join you when you relocate to the UK is simple enough when both parents are together. If natural parents are separated, however, expert legal advice is essential. You will have to consider issues such as sole responsibility for the child’s upbringing, or whether their exclusion from the UK would be undesirable, and whether suitable arrangements have been made for their care.

UK visas that allow visa holders to bring their children with them include:

  • Skilled worker and senior/specialist worker visas
  • Health and care worker visas (although changes for care workers are proposed to start in Spring 2024)
  • Minister of Religion visas
  • International sportsperson and global talent visas
  • Innovator visas
  • Ancestry visas
  • British National Overseas visas
  • Certain full-time sponsored student visas for research-based degrees

You should obtain specialist advice if you have adopted a child, or you have entered into a surrogacy arrangement abroad. Our expert solicitors will help you work all this out in your application process.

What are the child dependant visa UK requirements?

It is important that you understand the Home Office’s requirements of your application for a dependent child visa: UK authorities will more easily accept your application if both of the child’s parents are travelling to the UK for the purpose of settlement. Latitude Law’s solicitors have broad experience of complex family cases, and can work out the best possible route for you and your children.

You are required to provide the following documentation when applying for a UK child visa:

  • Your child’s passport
  • Your child’s long-form birth certificate
  • Evidence of your relationship to the child
  • Documents showing your UK immigration status
  • Evidence that you can support your child financially while living in the UK
  • Evidence of your residence, which must be suitable for a child to live in

If you are applying for your child as a single parent, you must also provide proof that you have responsibility for your child, usually on a day-to-day basis.

You will have to provide evidence that your children will be financially supported without the use of public funds, and dependent children must not be married or in a civil partnership, or living an independent life. For example, for a dependent spouse with one child joining a settled partner, household income of at least £22,400 plus £2,400 each for any additional children must be shown.

These financial rules are due to change in Spring 2024. The basic threshold will increase to £29,000 while the additional amounts for dependent children will be removed.

What is the process of applying for a child dependant visa?

Your solicitor will help you to complete the relevant online form, which will differ depending on which visa route you are using. Following this, we will help you compile all of the necessary evidence required for the application, and pay the visa application fee. Once you have done this you may also be required to pay the following fees:

Priority processing fees typically between £500 and £1,000 on top of standard visa fees
The immigration healthcare surcharge, which from February 2024 will cost £1,035 per year of visa for adults, or £776 for students and those under 18 years of age.

We will then upload the necessary documents to the Home Office portal and book an appointment at your nearest local visa application centre. Biometric information will be taken from all applicants over the age of four. For children aged five to 12, this is normally just a face scan.

Processing times vary according to the visa route you are using; priority services are not available for all visa types.

How we can help

At Latitude Law, we know all too well how important it is for children and their parents to stay together. However, one of the most important parts of applying for any visa is having the support of a legal expert to make sure your application contains all the correct information and documentation.

Our immigration solicitors have vast experience in not only the child visa application process, but also administrative reviews and the appeals processes that may follow if an initial application is refused. That means you will be working with some of the best solicitors in the industry when you and your family are looking to relocate to the UK. Learn more about how we can help you after you have submitted your application with our UK visa application status services.

Why choose Latitude Law?

Latitude Law’s reputation in immigration law is second to none. That’s because we make sure we handle every case with as much care and attention as the next. Our in-depth knowledge of Home Office policy and the case law that guides the courts and tribunals in the UK make us one of the best choices for legal help when applying for a child dependant visa for the UK.

Contact us

Contact us today to arrange an initial consultation with a specialist immigration solicitor. Call us on 0044 161 234 6800 for our Manchester office or 0044 207 046 7185 for our London office, or complete our online contact form and we will get back to you shortly.

FAQs about child dependant visas

Must both parents live in the UK to be eligible for a child visa?

Usually, both parents need to live in the UK for their child to secure a dependant visa. However, only one parent needs to be in the UK if they have sole responsibility for the child or there are compelling reasons why the child should be granted a visa. Ultimately, UK Visas & Immigration (UKVI) aims to make decisions in the best interests of the child, which may include granting a child dependant visa even if only one parent lives in the UK, under particular circumstances.

It can be complicated to secure a dependent child visa in the UK, especially because eligibility criteria may change depending on the specific circumstances. Speak to Latitude Law for advice on making a UK dependant visa application, as our support can help you to gain the best possible result.

Do I need to have been granted indefinite leave to remain for my child to gain British citizenship?

In theory, you do not need settled status or indefinite leave to remain in order for your child to be granted permanent residence. The Secretary of State can exercise discretion and register your child as a British citizen if it is considered appropriate, having regard to published Home Office guidance. Practically, you must show that your child’s future is in the UK.

Does a child need to demonstrate a good understanding of the English language?

Unlike for certain visa applications for adults, there is no requirement for a child to demonstrate an understanding of the English language in order to secure a visa.

What is the expected processing time for my child's visa application?

Home Office service standards differ depending on the type of visa applied for. Our legal team can advise you of current waiting times for both standard and – where available – priority processing in your chosen visa category.

What happens if my child's visa application is refused?

If your child’s visa is refused, you may be entitled to pursue an administrative review or an appeal. You will normally be told your options with your refusal decision. Note that both these options are currently taking many months to resolve – in the case of administrative review, often more than a year. It may therefore be better to simply re-apply.

Can step-children be included in child dependant visas?

A step-child can be eligible for a child dependant visa, but you may be required to provide additional supporting documents in your application. These include:

  • Proof that the parent or step-parent making the application has legal responsibility for the child
  • Permission from the child’s other biological parent to live in the UK
  • Evidence that they are responsible for organising the day-to-day upbringing of the child, such as schooling and care

If your application does not make these points fully clear, the Home Office will want to investigate the situation further until they are satisfied that it is in the family’s best interests for the child to acquire a visa and move to the UK.

What makes a child a 'dependant'?

For a child to be eligible for a child dependant visa, they must be considered a dependant of the main parent who is making the application. This means the child must be under the age of 18, unmarried and not leading an independent life outside the UK.

If you are concerned about your child’s ability to secure a UK visa, speak to the team at Latitude Law. We can advise you on whether or not the child is considered a dependant of the main applicant under UK law and their eligibility for this type of visa – if they are not eligible, we can also discuss other visa routes that may be more suitable for their needs.

What documents are required for a child dependant visa application?

There are several types of documentation you may need to supply as part of your application form. The exact evidence you need to supply will depend on your country of origin, and you may be asked for other types of evidence at the discretion of UKVI. The most common types of documentation are a passport, and proof of the child’s relationship to the main applicant. You may need to include the results of a tuberculosis test, depending on the country your child lives in. If asked, you must provide evidence that the child will have suitable accommodation in the UK and that you meet any relevant eligibility requirements to sponsor them.

What are the fees for a UK dependant visa application?

The current visa fee for dependants is £1,846 if you apply from outside the UK, or £1,048 if you apply from within the UK or switch from another visa route. However, these are regularly subject to change and it is vital to check official guidance from the UK government to confirm that this is correct.

Can a child dependent work or study in the UK?

A child dependant can study at any level of education in the UK provided they are under the age of 18. A dependant family member who is over 18 or who wants to work may be able to do so but restrictions will apply. To attend university, they may need to apply for a Student visa in their own right. They will be treated as international students for the purposes of university fees, unless they are settled in the UK and can demonstrate three years’ residence.

It is important to note that the child must always comply with the specific conditions of their visa and should not engage in any work or activities that are not allowed under their visa category. The child’s sponsor (usually their parent or legal guardian) is responsible for ensuring that the child complies with all visa requirements. If the child wishes to pursue higher education in the UK or engage in full-time work as an adult, they will need to transition to the appropriate visa category. Speak to the team at Latitude Law for advice on visa category restrictions and choosing the right visa route for your needs.

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All content on this page was reviewed by Latitude Law and is accurate as of 17/02/2023.