Join Family in the UK

The UK government believes that family should stay together wherever possible, which is why they offer visas for family members of British citizens or migrants who are settled in the UK. The immigration solicitors at Latitude Law can guide you through the application process and provide legal advice on complex matters, such as past refusals and appeals.


Who can settle in the UK?

There are a variety of circumstances in which you can apply to join family members in the UK. If you are married to, or in a relationship with, a person who is either a British citizen or who is settled in the UK, you must meet the requirements set out in Appendix FM to the Immigration Rules.

You must be a person of good character, in a genuine and subsisting relationship, who intends to live permanently in the UK. The financial requirements of the rules can be difficult to navigate and it is often important to seek professional guidance, especially if your sponsor is self-employed or works in a family business. At Latitude Law we are experts in the interpretation of these requirements and can assist you in the application for your family visa.

Appendix FM also covers those applying to live with, or have contact with, a child dependent settled in the UK. In some circumstances, older dependent relatives may also be eligible to apply. The rules here can also be complex, so it is important to get advice before you apply in these categories.

How we can help

Approval for a family visa can be a difficult process, which is why it is recommended to enlist the help of a legal expert. The solicitors at Latitude Law are able to provide assistance with application preparation, compiling the correct support documentation, and challenging refusals though judicial review, administrative review, or the appeals system. From preparing the application and compiling the correct documentation to challenging refusals through judicial and administrative review and the appeals system, we will give you the best possible chance of securing a UK visa for you and your family.

Why choose Latitude Law?

Our experienced solicitors are knowledgeable on immigration rules, Home Office policy, and the case law which guides the courts and tribunals. We maintain up to date, in-depth knowledge in our specialist field, to ensure we are never caught out. The team’s attention to detail and advocacy skills have been commended by our clients and our professional, effective approach to cases give you the best possible chance of success.

Joining Family Q&As

Which family members are eligible to join me in the UK?

Spouses, civil partners, unmarried partners (where you have lived together for at least two years), fiancées/fiancés, adult dependent relatives and dependent children under 18.

Can a family member join me in the UK if I’m here under the Points-Based System?

Yes, partners and children under 18 can apply to join a relevant points-based migrant in the UK.

Can I join a migrant family member in the UK?

Yes, providing that they are settled in the UK, a British citizen or have been recognised as a refugee/ have humanitarian protection.

Can I settle in the UK as a parent of a child?

Yes, but how soon you can do so will depend on which route you are placed on. Applicants will have to complete either 5 or 10 years continuous residence before becoming eligible to settle.

Can I join my Spouse/Partner in the UK?

Yes, spouses, civil partners and unmarried partners, who have lived together for at least two years, can apply to join their partner in the UK. There is also an option for fiancées/fiancés to join their partners in the UK, providing that they are intending to marry within 6 months of entry.

Can I join my child in the UK?

Yes, providing that they are settled in the UK or are a British citizen.

Are there language requirements to join family in the UK?

Yes, in most cases those looking to join their partner will need to take an approved English language test to level A1 of the Common European Framework of reference. Higher levels are needed for extension and settlement applications. Family members of refugees, adult dependent relatives and dependent children under 18 are exempt from this requirement.

Do I need to pass a Life in the UK test if I am joining family?

No, the life in the UK requirement is only applicable to certain types of settlement application. There is no need to sit this test for an entry clearance application.

What is a Refugee Family Reunion visa and am I eligible?

A Refugee Family Reunion visa is a special category which allows partners and children of recognised refugees/ those with humanitarian protection to join them in the UK. It is only applicable to family members who formed part of the family unit, prior to the sponsor fleeing their country of origin.

Am I eligible for an Adult Dependent visa?

Only adult relatives who can demonstrate that they require care from their family member in the UK and that such care is not available or affordable in their country of residence, can apply under this category.

Am I eligible for an Ancestry visa?

If you are a commonwealth citizen, who is over the age of 17 and plans to work in the UK, you might be eligible under the ancestry visa route. You would need to be able to prove that one of your grandparents was born in the UK

Am I eligible to work in the UK as a dependent?

Yes, in most cases you would be allowed to work in the UK, the exception being those here as fiancées/fiancés.

What costs are involved in bringing family to the UK?

There are various visa application fees involved in each process, depending on the route you are applying under. Most visas also require you to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS), which allows you to access NHS services during the period of the visa. Those applying for a Refugee Family Reunion visa are exempt from paying the IHS or entry clearance application fee.

What are the options if you can't afford to bring a dependent to the UK?

If there are British or settled children involved there may be arguments that can be made on human rights grounds. For all other applications, you would generally be expected to show that you can support your family member in the UK by satisfying the relevant requirements.

What information must I provide on my application?

UKVI require various supporting documents and information in order to process an entry clearance application. In lots of categories, there are certain ‘specified’ documents that must be provided in a particular format and which contain precise information.

What happens once I'm granted a visa?

In most cases, your initial visa will be valid for a month, during which time you must travel to the UK, and collect your biometric residence permit (which contains the remainder of your leave) from a designated Post Office within 10 days of entry. For fiancées/fiancés, your passport would be endorsed with a visa valid for 6 months.

When can I extend my visa?

Normally, the earliest you can apply is 28 days before your current permission to stay in the UK expires. In any case, you must apply to extend your visa in the UK before it expires.

When am I eligible to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain?

This depends on which route your visa was granted under. Most applications for entry clearance require completion of 5 years continuous residence before becoming eligible to settle.

What should I do if my application is refused?

In most circumstances, you would have a right of an appeal to an independent Immigration Tribunal. If you are applying to join a relevant points-based migrant then your only remedy is UKVI’s internal review procedure know as an administrative review.