Understanding the intricacies of obtaining a UK Family Visa can be challenging due to its comprehensive nature. This guide provides clear and concise information to simplify the process for prospective applicants.
If you’re planning to join a family member in the UK for a long term stay, you’re probably looking at the UK Family Visa. This visa allows non-EEA nationals to live with their UK-based family members. Navigating through the process can be complex, but this guide will walk you through all the necessary steps, including eligibility, application, costs, living in the UK, and more.
Eligibility Criteria for UK Family Visa
The eligibility for a UK Family Visa depends on your relationship with the UK resident you plan to join:
1. Partner: If you’re joining a spouse, fiancé(e), or partner, you should be able to provide proof of your relationship, meet income requirements, and demonstrate your understanding of English.
2. Child: For a parent to bring a child to the UK, the child must be under 18, not be living an independent life, and must be financially supported without public funds.
3. Parent: Adult dependent relatives like parents, grandparents, or other elderly relatives must need long-term care from a relative in the UK, among other requirements.
4. Other Relatives: Other relatives may be eligible under specific circumstances.
Always remember to check the UK Government’s official guidelines for the most accurate and up-to-date information.
Application Process for the UK Family Visa
The process of applying for a UK Family Visa involves several steps:
1. Determine Your Eligibility: As mentioned, your eligibility depends on your relationship with the family member in the UK.
2. Prepare Your Documents: You’ll need to provide documents proving your relationship, financial stability, knowledge of English, and other requirements depending on your circumstances.
3. Apply Online: Applications for the UK Family Visa must be made online. Be sure to thoroughly review your application before submitting to avoid any errors.
4. Attend a Visa Application Center: You may be required to visit a Visa Application Center in your home country to provide biometric information.
5. Pay the Visa Fee and Healthcare Surcharge: The exact fee will depend on the nature of your application. You’ll also need to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge, which grants you access to the UK’s National Health Service (NHS).
Once you’ve applied, you’ll generally receive a decision within 12 weeks.
Costs Associated with the UK Family Visa
The costs involved with a UK Family Visa application can vary depending on your specific situation, but here’s a general outline:
1. Visa Application Fee: The visa application fee for a UK Family Visa can vary significantly depending on your circumstances. As of September 2021, it could range from £1,523 for a spouse or partner, up to £3,250 for an adult dependent relative. These fees can change, so always check the latest information on the official UK government website.
2. Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS): All UK Family Visa applicants must pay the IHS as part of their application, which gives you access to the UK’s National Health Service (NHS). The exact amount can vary but it’s generally around £624 per year.
3. Additional Costs: These might include costs related to translating documents, obtaining medical tests or certifications, travel costs to attend a Visa Application Centre, and potentially legal advice if you’re using the services of an immigration lawyer.
Remember that these costs can change over time and vary by personal circumstances, so always check the latest information before you apply.
Next, we’ll explore the benefits and lifestyle changes that come with living in the UK on a Family Visa.
Living Conditions and Lifestyle in the UK
Living in the UK under a Family Visa provides an opportunity to enjoy the UK lifestyle, offering various benefits.
1. Diverse Culture: The UK is known for its rich and diverse culture, historic landmarks, and world-class educational institutions.
2. Employment Opportunities: Depending on your visa conditions, you may be able to work in the UK. The UK job market offers a broad range of opportunities in sectors such as healthcare, technology, finance, and education.
3. Healthcare: Upon payment of the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS), you’ll have access to the National Health Service (NHS), providing a comprehensive range of health services, most of which are free.
4. Education: The UK has a robust education system. If you’re moving with children, they’ll have access to high-quality education, both in state-funded schools and private institutions.
5. Social Life: From vibrant city life to serene countryside landscapes, there’s something for everyone in the UK. The UK’s multicultural society offers a wide range of social and cultural events.
Living in the UK can be an enriching and enjoyable experience, but it’s essential to understand what you’re committing to before making the move.
Next, we’ll address some frequently asked questions about the UK Family Visa.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About the UK Family Visa
Below are answers to some common questions regarding the UK Family Visa:
How long can I stay in the UK with a Family Visa?
The UK Family Visa allows you to stay in the UK for up to 33 months, which can be extended for another 30 months. After five years, you may be eligible to apply for ‘indefinite leave to remain’
Can I work with a UK Family Visa?
Yes, you are usually allowed to work in the UK with a Family Visa, although some restrictions may apply.
Can I bring my dependents with me on a UK Family Visa?
Yes, dependent children can come with you to the UK on your Family Visa, but you’ll need to show that you can support them without public funds.
How long does it take to get a decision on a UK Family Visa application?
The processing time can vary, but you’ll typically get a decision within 12 weeks of attending your appointment at the visa application center.
Can I apply for public funds (benefits) with a UK Family Visa?
You usually won’t be able to claim most public funds (benefits) unless your visa says you can.
Can I extend my UK Family Visa or apply to settle?
Yes, you can apply to extend your Family Visa or apply to settle in the UK (‘indefinite leave to remain’) once you meet the requirements.
Applying for a UK Family Visa can be an intricate process, but with the right information and preparation, you can make it simpler and more manageable. This comprehensive guide has provided insights into the key aspects of the UK Family Visa, from eligibility and application process to costs, living conditions, and FAQs.