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If you are under the age of 18, living abroad and your parent or relative is a British citizen, is settled in the UK, or is applying for settlement in the UK, you may be eligible for indefinite leave to enter the UK to join them.
An application for entry clearance as a child under 18 of a British citizen or settled person must be made in accordance with the requirements as set out at paragraph 297 of the Immigration Rules Part 8: Family Members (https://www.gov.uk/guidance/immigration-rules/immigration-rules-part-8-family-member).
Requirements for Indefinite Leave to Enter the UK as a Child
A child under 18, wishing to accompany or join a British or settled parent, may be eligible to apply for indefinite leave to enter in the following circumstances:
- Both of the child’s parents British citizens, or hold indefinite leave to remain in the UK, or are applying for indefinite leave to enter the UK at the same time; or
- One of the child’s parents is a British citizen, or already has indefinite leave to remain in the UK and the other parent is applying for indefinite leave to enter the UK; or
- One of the child’s parents is a British citizen, or has indefinite leave to remain or is applying for indefinite leave to enter/remain, and they can show that they have sole responsibility for the child’s upbringing; or
- A parent or another relative is a British citizen or has indefinite leave to remain in the UK or is applying for indefinite leave to enter/remain in the UK, and they can demonstrate that there are very serious and compelling family or other considerations which would make the child’s exclusion from the UK undesirable.
In addition to the above requirements, the Entry Clearance Officer (ECO) must also be satisfied that:
- The Applicant child is related to the Sponsoring parent as claimed;
- The Applicant child is under the age of 18 at the time of submitting the application;
- The Applicant child is not married or in a civil partnership and is not leading an independent life;
- The Sponsoring parent or relative is able to prove that they can adequately maintain and accommodate the child without recourse to public funds.
If you wish to apply for a Child Visa, speak to one of our specialised immigration lawyers for expert advice by completing our “Enquiry Form”.
Sole Responsibility for the Upbringing of the Child
Where an application for a child visa is being made on the basis that the Sponsoring parent or relative has sole responsibility for the child, he or she will need to demonstrate not only financial responsibility for the child but also normal parental responsibility in respect of every aspect of the child’s life.
It is acceptable for the Sponsoring parent or relative to delegate the child’s day to day care to another person in the country where the child is resident, but evidence that ultimate day to day control rests with the Sponsoring parent is required at the application stage.
The UK Visas and Immigration’s Policy Guidance accompanying the immigration rules relating to child visa applications elaborate on the meaning of sole responsibility and states that the decision maker will take the following factors as guidance on how to assess it:
- The length of time the Sponsoring parent in the UK has been separated from the child;
- The type and nature of the arrangements that were in place for the child’s care before the Sponsoring parent moved to the UK;
- Details of the person who has been entrusted with the child’s day to day care since the Sponsoring parent migrated to the UK;
- Who is responsible and in what proportions for financially supporting the child’s care and upbringing;
- Details of the person who takes the important decisions about the child’s upbringing, such as where and with whom the child lives, the choice of school, religious practice and other important decisions relating to the child’s life;
- The level of contact that has been maintained between the child and the parent claiming “sole responsibility”;
- The extent to which the parent living abroad is involved in the child’s day to day care.
Adequate Maintenance Requirements
In order to qualify for indefinite leave to enter as the child of a British citizen or settled person, the Sponsoring parent must satisfy the UK Visas and Immigration that the applicant child will be adequately maintained in the UK without recourse to public funds. To meet the adequate maintenance requirements, the Sponsoring parent must demonstrate that after their income tax, NI contributions and housing costs have been deducted, they will be left with a level of income that would be equivalent to a family of their size in receipt of income support.
The Immigration Rules relating to UK child visa applications do not clearly state the level of income a Sponsoring parent must show or the level of funds they must have under their control to be able to meet the adequate maintenance requirements. The adequate maintenance assessment will be case specific and will depend on a number of factors such as the number of other dependents in the Sponsor’s household, their age and the level of dependency on the sponsor. If the Sponsoring parent has other dependents who live in the UK as part of their family unit, then they will need to show sufficient resources to demonstrate that the Applicant child and the Sponsor’s other dependents can all be adequately maintained in the UK without recourse to public funds.
Requirement of Adequate Accommodation For Child Visa Entry Clearance UK
To succeed in an application for Child Visa Entry Clearance UK, the Sponsor must provide sufficient evidence to demonstrate that he or she will have adequate accommodation for the Applicant child and their other dependents, who are part of their UK household, without recourse to public funds. The ECO will not consider accommodation to be adequate if it is likely to lead to overcrowding or contravene public health regulations.
Re-Applying For Child Visa Entry Clearance following a Refusal
If the Entry Clearance Officer (ECO) refuses your application for a child settlement visa UK, you will be granted the right to appeal their decision to the Asylum and Immigration Tribunal where you will be given the opportunity to have your case assessed and determined by an impartial immigration Judge.
However, if it transpires that the ECO’s decision, to refuse your application, is not unlawful, e.g., where the application was not sufficiently evidenced by supporting documents to enable the ECO to make a proper assessment, you will have the option to re-apply for a child settlement visa. Re-applying can prove to be a better option where you are able to rectify the issues raised in the ECO’s refusal letter as you will be able to reach your desired outcome much sooner and with relative ease.
How our lawyers can help you with your UK Child Visa Application
Our lawyers are specialists in UK immigration law with almost a decade of experience. We have assisted hundreds of UK Child Visa applicants to prepare and submit successful UK Child Visa applications.
Our immigration lawyers can provide you expert advice on meeting the requirements of the Immigration Rules, carry out a detailed assessment of your prospects of qualifying for a UK Child Visa and can assist you with the preparation and submission of immigration application.
Our lawyers combine creative energy with deep technical legal expertise to uncover innovative, out-of-the-box and unconventional strategies that help you succeed in your application even when you’re facing inherent challenges in meeting the requirements of a UK Child Visa application.
We do this by deploying the following:
- Taking a holistic approach to analysing every facet of each case and formulating strategies to comprehensively address every element of the case;
- Bringing deep technical and substantive legal expertise;
- Collaborative strategizing among specialist lawyers, who operate at different levels of seniority, bringing a wealth of technical expertise, tactical know-how and diversity of perspective on your matter;
- Using Design Thinking to reframe the challenges you face with a view to redefining value and opening up the scope of solutions;
- Designing customised strategy to meet your specific challenges.
What this means for you?
If you instruct us to take on your case, our scope of work will comprise of the following:
- Taking detailed instructions to carry out a thorough analysis of your case;
- Assessing your eligibility for a UK Child Visa in line with the requirements as set out in the Immigration rules, the accompanying Policy Documents and the wider case-law jurisprudence;
- Notifying you of the strengths and weaknesses of your case;
- Advising you on strategies, where possible, to remedy the weaknesses in your case and better evidence the strengths of your case;
- Providing you detailed and customised advice on the documents you need to provide in support of your application;
- Reviewing your documents to assess whether they meet the evidential requirements of your application and to advise you if further documents are required;
- Drafting the application form to provide to you for review and, if required, amending the application in line with your observations;
- Preparing a detailed letter of representations to be submitted in support of your application;
- Submitting the application form online and arranging an appointment for the enrolment of your biometrics;
- Responding to any queries from the Home Office regarding your application
- Addressing any queries that you may have regarding your application and any issues arising relating to your immigration status;
- Corresponding with the UK Visas and Immigration (Home Office) to ensure a timely decision on your application.