Family Reunion

Introduction

Under Family Reunion, you will find immigrations rules which will apply to family members including spouses, civil partners, children to join a person who wishes to enter and remain in the United Kingdom on the grounds of family life with a person who is

  • A British Citizen,
  • Settled in the UK,
  • Granted refugee status
  • Granted Humanitarian Protection in the UK
  • A Person who has limited leave to remain in the UK

In this chapter, you will find rules on entry clearance, entry to leave and remain and the process of switching, extension and settlement for family members

Partner

By partner it means, married, civil partner, fiancé proposed civil partner and such person with whom the applicant has a long-term heterosexual or same-sex relationship.

Fiancé and Proposed Civil Partner

Under current UK immigration law, there is no such category where a person who is already in the UK and wants to switch to the category of fiancé or proposed civil partner. The proposed civil partner or fiancé has to be from outside the UK. Such person has to apply for entry clearance from his/her own country. The time period for a visa is normally 6 months.

Fiancés and civil partners within these six months must marry and apply to the Home Office in the UK for a further leave to remain (Visa) as a spouse or civil partner. During these initial six months, the fiancé and civil partner are not allowed to take up any employment or any public benefits. In certain cases, such a person is also required to register with the police as well.

Example

Mina is a fiancé of Albert. She is an Indian national. Mina has to apply for an entry clearance visa in India. If successful she will be given a six-month visa to travel to the UK and marry Albert. After marriage Mina can apply to the Home Office for Further Leave to Remain as a spouse of Albert.

Married, civil partners and all other partners

For all other partners who are not in the UK, they also have to apply for an entry clearance visa from their home country. If successful,

  • they will be granted leave (a visa) for 33 months.
  • During this time period, the partner is allowed to work but cannot claim any public benefits.
  • Upon the completion of 30 months, the partner can apply for an extension of their visa
  • An extension will for a further 30 months
  • After the completion of 5 years or 60 months, the partner is entitled to apply for Indefinite leave to remain. (This is referred to as the Five-Year Family Route)

Important

Where a partner is unable to fulfill the conditions for extension of limited leave to remain after the first 30 months due to whatever reasons, it is still possible for such person to remain in the UK however, the partner will have to establish a claim under Human Rights as right to family and private life in the UK. The partner will be granted a visa for two and half years upon a successful claim. Such partner has to complete 10 years. After the expiry of first 2 and a half years, the partner has to apply for another extension which if granted will be for another 2 and half years.

Example

Mina forgets to take her English Language test required for the extension of stay after the expiry of the first visa which she obtained from India. Mina now has two kids, works in a local supermarket and volunteers with a local hospice.

Mina can apply for an extension of stay on human rights grounds. If successful she will be granted a visa for 30 months and she has to complete 10 years before she can apply for Indefinite leave to remain

  • If the person is already in the UK, it is possible for such person to apply for leave to remain (Visa) as a partner and start the 5 or 10 years route to settlement

Children

  • The child who is under the age of 18 years can also join his/her parents who are already settled in the UK as British Citizens or hold indefinite leave to remain. Such child has to obtain entry clearance from the home country and later on can acquire permanent status in the UK.
  • Where the parents of the child hold limited leave to remain (not a settled person) such child can also join his/her parents with limited leave

Parents

A parent who is solely responsible for parental responsibilities for a child who is a British Citizen or where the child holds a settled status in the UK such parent can apply for entry clearance (visa) from their home country. The parent may also apply for leave (visa) and ultimately for settlement

Example

Mina was granted a 30-month visa as the spouse of Albert who is a British national. The relationship between Albert and Mina broke down after the birth of their daughter Lilly. Albert has now separated from Mina and Mina’s visa is about to run out but she cannot apply under the same category as a partner of Albert

As the sole responsible parent of Lilly, Mina may apply for further leave to remain under family reunion

Adult Dependent Relatives

Under family reunion an adult dependent relative of a person (who is either a British Citizen or holds settled status in the UK) can apply to settle in the UK due to age, ill health or disability and where he/she requires long term personal care which is not available in the home country and can only be provided in the UK by such relative. The threshold or requirements are very tough to meet for an adult dependent relative

Exempt Categories

The following people do not require any visa as the partner of a person settled in the UK

  • Family members who are already a national of the UK or hold settled status in the UK
  • European Union Citizens and their family members do not require any visa as they can move freely within the Union under freedom of movement
  • Family members of a British national who has exercised EU treaty rights
  • Person with a settled status who is re-entering in the UK as a returning resident
  • Person who are entering the UK in another category

Entry Clearance of Partner (Overseas)

All family members who wish to join the person settled in the UK as a family member must obtain the following four conditions

  • Must fulfil the relationship requirement
  • Financial requirements
  • Accommodation requirements
  • English Language requirements

Relations requirements

The immigration status of the applicant’s partner or parent of the child (if it is a child applicant) must be

  • A British Citizen, or
  • A person present and settled in the UK (Indefinite leave) or
  • A Refugee, or
  • Must have been granted Humanitarian Protection in the UK

Age of Applicant and Partner

The applicant and his/her partner must be over the age of 18 years for family reunion as a partner

General requirements for partners

  • The relationship must be genuine and subsisting in the case of partners
  • The parties must have known each other personally
  • The marriage or civil partnership must be valid, it must not be a fake or sham arrangement
  • Intention to live permanently in the UK
  • Where the applicant was in a relationship previously, he/she must provide proof of the fact that, that relationship has ended.
  • The partner must not be a person who is prohibited to be married please refer to table 1

Un-Lawful Marriages

  1. Marriage of a man to his mother, father, father’s mother, mother’s mother, son’s daughter, daughter’s daughter, sister, father’s sister, mother’s sister, brother’s daughter or sister’s daughter are strictly unlawful and are not recognized
  2. Daughter of a former wife, son of a former husband, former wife of the father, former husband of the mother, former wife of the father’s father, former husband of the father’s mother, former wife of the mother’s father, former husband of the mother’s mother, daughter of the son of a former wife, son of the son of a former husband, daughter of the daughter of a former wife and son of the daughter of a former husband are also unlawful.

Financial Requirements

The partner must earn at least £18, 600 per Year Gross Income

First Child = the applicant must earn further £ 3,800 per year Gross Income

Second and subsequent children = the applicant must earn further £ 2,400 per year Gross Income/child

Example

Ali wants to bring his wife and only son to the UK from Pakistan. Ali must show that he earns

£18,600 + £3,800 = £22,400 must be Ali’s annual gross income

Suppose Ali intends to bring his wife and two children Rana and Rani into the UK then

£18,600 + £3,800 +£2,400 = £24,800 must be Ali’s annual gross income

Financial Resources

  1. Both partner’s income can be used (where both applicant and his/her partner are in the UK) earnings can be counted towards the required funds. For example, Ali earns 15, 000/year and his wife earns £4,000
  2. Any specified pension income
  3. Any specified maternity allowance or bereavement benefit received by the partner in the UK can also be applied as Gross Income
  4. Specified savings of the applicant or partner can also be used
  • For a person who is in employment for the last six months and is with the same employer at the time of application, they must provide wages slips for the last six months. If the earnings of the partner are less than 18,600 he can use any income specified in point 1,2,3 and 4.
  • Where the person is in employment at the time of application with the same employer but for less than 6 months, such applicant has to prove that in the last 12 months before the application is made the couple has earned the required amount of money
  • In the case of a self-employed person self-assessment reports and the last 12 months’ accounts are required

Exemption for Financial Requirement

The applicant will not have to fulfil the financial requirement criteria where the applicant is in receipt of one or more of the following benefits:

  • Disability Living Allowance or personal independence payment
  • Severe disablement allowance
  • Industrial injury disablement benefit
  • Attendance allowance or carer’s allowance

Such person has to provide the evidence in the form of the documents from the Department for Work and Pensions

Accommodation Requirements

The applicant has to provide evidence of adequate accommodation, which must also be maintained without any housing or other benefits. Accommodation is not regarded sufficient where it is overcrowded or in breach of health regulations. The evidence required is in the form of either a deed of land where the property is owned or tenancy documents where the property is rented.

English Language Requirements

The applicant has to meet the English Language requirements.

Where the applicant is from a majority English speaking country or holds a valid academic qualification, which is recognized by UK NARIC to be equivalent to a standard Bachelor’s or Master’s degree or PhD in the UK, this will be sufficient to fulfil the language requirement;

or

The applicant has to pass a minimum of A1 level in an English test

or

The person is over the age 65 or has a disability which prevents him/her meeting the requirement or the person may have exceptional compassionate circumstances, such person may be allowed an exemption from the language requirements.

Leave to Remain in the UK as a partner

This category is for the person who is already in the UK and wishes to settle as a partner of a person who is a British National or holds settled status. Both the applicant and their partner are in the UK at the time of the application. It applies in the following cases, where;

  • The applicant entered the UK as a partner of a person settled in the UK and is now looking to extend his/her stay as a partner
  • The applicant entered the UK as a fiancé or proposed civil partner of the person settled in the UK and is now looking to switch his/her category after marriage or civil partnership as a partner
  • The applicant was on a different visa in the UK and now after marriage or civil partnership intends to switch his/her status as a partner
  • The applicant was on a different visa in the UK and after marriage or civil partnership has been granted initial leave for 30 months and intends to extend his/her stay as a partner for a further 30 months
  • The applicant wishes to start the 10 years family route to settlement
  • The person is already on the 10 years family settlement route and was granted 30 months leave and now intends to extend his/her stay for a further 30 months en route to 10 years family route

Such person has to fulfil the same requirements the following requirements ( as noted above)      

  • Must fulfil the relationship requirement
  • Financial requirements
  • Accommodation requirements
  • English Language requirements

Family life in the UK with a child

7 years child route

This category applies to such person or applicant who has genuine parental responsibility of a child who

  • Is under the age of 18 years
  • Is living in the UK
  • Is a British Citizen or has lived continuously in the UK for a minimum of 7 years immediately before the application was made to the Home Office
  • Is unlikely to leave the UK

 The test the Home Office apply is “what is the best interest of the child?”. This is the most important factor the Home Office measure and rely upon.

Indefinite leave to Remain Partner

Upon the completion of 5 years/60 months, the partner of a person can apply for settlement/ indefinite leave to remain.

The partners who are on the 10 years family route can also apply for indefinite leave to remain after the completion of 10 years

Requirements

  • The applicant and his/her partner must be in the UK
  • The applicant must have made a valid application for Indefinite Leave to remain as a partner
  • The applicant must not be subject to refusal under any other grounds
  • The applicant must meet all the eligibility requirements for Leave to Remain as a partner as well
  • The applicant must meet all the eligibility requirements for indefinite leave to remain as a partner as well

Indefinite leave to Remain (Settlement) Bereaved Partner

Where before the completion of 5 years (if the applicant is on the 5 years family route) or before the completion of 10 years (where the partner is on the 10 years family route), the applicant’s partner who was settled in the UK or was a British citizen dies, the applicant/partner of deceased person can apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (permanent settlement) , if he/she wishes to remain in the UK.

Requirements

  • The applicant must be in the UK
  • The applicant must have made a valid application for Indefinite Leave to remain as a bereaved partner
  • The applicant must not be subject to refusal on the grounds of suitability (indefinite leave to remain)
  • The applicant must meet the eligibility requirements for indefinite leave to remain as a bereaved person

The applicant must not have overstayed for more than 28 days, provided it relates to bereavement

Indefinite leave to Remain (Settlement) Victim of Domestic Violence

Where a couple have separated due to domestic violence before the 5 years (if the applicant is on the 5 years family route) or 10 years’ time period (if the applicant is on the 10 years family route) is complete such partner who wishes to remain in the UK permanently can apply for indefinite leave to remain and should meet the following requirements

Requirements

  • The applicant must be in the UK
  • The applicant must have made a valid application for Indefinite Leave to remain as a victim of domestic violence
  • The applicant must not be subject to any leave to remain)
  • The applicant must meet the eligibility requirements for indefinite leave to remain as a bereaved person

Children (settlement)

The children who are under the age of 18 years can also join their parent(s). The child has to apply for entry clearance from his/her home country. The parent/parents/ relative of the children must be in the following categories

  1. Both parents are present and settled in the UK, or
  2. Both parents are being admitted on the same occasion with the child for settlement, or
  3. One parent is present and settled in the UK and other parent is being admitted on the same occasion with the child for settlement
  4. One parent is present and settled in the UK or being admitted on the same occasion with the child for settlement, and the other partner is dead.

The parent must have sole responsibility for the child and the child must also have adequate accommodation with his/her parent, parents or relative (with whom the child intends to live). The child must also be maintained by the parent without access to any public benefits.

The requirements for each category of parents is the same as it is for the partner and the English Language requirement is the same as it is for the partner stated above

Requirements

  • Must fulfil the Relationship requirement
  • Financial Requirements
  • Accommodation Requirements
  • English Language Requirements

The child will be given leave for an initial 30 months and after the expiry of this leave (visa), the child has to apply for an extension of leave to remain for another 30 months. This will lead to a settlement.

Private Life in the UK

The following persons are entitled to apply to the Home Office for limited leave to remain (visa) under article 8 of the EU Convention Right of Private and Family life, 

  • Have lived in the UK for 20 years illegally
  • 20 years legally

A person may also be granted with limited leave to remain on the basis of private life after continued residence of 7 years and the person is under the age of 18 (Child).

OR

Where a person has spent half of his life in the UK and is in between the ages of 18 and 24 years

Important

A family reunion is a complex area of immigration law, it is advisable to seek legal help before commencing any claim under family reunion.

Disclaimer

While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information provided in this article, it does not constitute legal advice and cannot be relied upon as such. Each legal case and issue may have unique facts and circumstances, as a result legalally does not accept any responsibility for liabilities arising as a result of reliance upon the information provided. For further help and guidance, you can always rely on and seek advice from our experienced lawyers.