The Immigration Rules permit parents living overseas, who have British or settled children living in the UK, to apply for a visa to come to live with them.
Overview of the Parent of a Child Visa Category
The main requirements for the parent applying for this visa are:
- That they are outside the UK,
- Over 18 years of age,
- Able to adequately maintain accommodate themselves and any dependants on arrival,
- Able to speak English to an acceptable level (CEFR A1)
- They meet the relationship requirement with the British or settled child,
- They have sole responsibility for or direct access to the child,
- They are not in a relationship with the child’s other parent or carer, and
- Provide evidence that they are taking, and intend to continue to take, an active role in the child’s upbringing.
The child must be
- Living in the UK
- Under 18 years of age
- Either a British national, or have settled status in the UK
The relationship between applicant parent and child
Parents can either provide evidence that they have “sole parental responsibility” for their child, or they can provide evidence that the British/settled parent (or carer) with whom the child currently lives in the UK is not their partner and that they have “direct access” to their child.
If you are still in a durable relationship (marriage or common-law) with the child’s other parent, then you should apply for entry clearance through the spouse or unmarried partner visa category.
Whichever route is relied upon in the application (sole responsibility or direct access), evidence must also be presented which shows the applicant will take an active role in the child’s upbringing.
The courts have directed that the key consideration is to assess whether the parent has continuing control and direction of the child’s upbringing including making all the important decisions in the child’s life.
The key issue will relate to the evidence of contact between the applicant parent and the other parent/carer on important decisions to be taken about the child and his or her upbringing.
The courts suggest it may also be helpful to look at the financial support (or lack of it) provided by the parent to the child or the carers of the child for the purposes of his or her upbringing.
In cases where sole responsibility cannot be shown, the parent 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”.
A situation where the parents/carer make contact arrangements between themselves should satisfy the direct access requirement. This would need to be documented in order to support the visa application, through a formal document drawn up by a family lawyer, a contact order obtained through the courts or informal emails between the parents arranging visits or excursions.
Taking an active role in child’s upbringing
Whether making the application on the basis of sole or shared responsibility, evidence must be submitted by the applicant parent to show that he or she is taking, and will take, an active role in the child’s upbringing.
This should include detailing current and future care and residential arrangements as well as documented visitation arrangements as part of a wider care arrangement plan. You should provide a sworn affidavit setting out your precise role and include supporting statements from the other parent and relevant third parties.
For further information, please schedule a consultation.