Here’s how to get a UK dependant visa

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Applying for your own UK visa can be a complex process. It can be even more so when including children, notes Sable International.

Brexit has also introduced changes to the immigration system that must be considered when making an application.

The advisory service explains below how to get a UK dependant visa now, and once the new regulations officially come into effect.


Applying for your own UK visa can be a complex process. It can be even more so when including children. Brexit has also introduced changes to the immigration system that must be considered when making an application. We explain below how to get a UK dependant visa now, and once the new regulations officially come into effect.

Requirements for a UK dependant visa (Children)

The UK dependant visa allows a child to join their parent(s) in the UK as long as one of the parents is a British citizen, a European Union (EU) national or have gained the right to live and work in the UK.

The exact requirements will depend on which of these categories the parent falls under.

To be considered a “dependant”, your child can’t be over the age of 18. Children who are no longer financially dependent on their parents, are married or have their own family will not qualify no matter their age.

The process becomes more complicated if you are a single parent trying to bring a child to the UK. You will need to prove that you have sole responsibility — not only legal custody — for the child. If this is your situation, we strongly recommend that you seek assistance from an immigration expert.

Once granted a UK dependant visa, your child will gain full right of admission to state schooling and the National Health Service (NHS). However, they won’t be able to seek assistance from public finances, so you will need to show that you have adequate funds to support them.


One parent is present and settled in the UK

If you are settled in the UK, your child may be granted a UK dependant visa. After a period of time on this visa — usually five years — they will be able to apply for indefinite leave to remain (ILR).

Settled status is normally held by:

  • A British citizen
  • An Irish citizen who was previously a UK resident
  • An EU national (or non-EU national family member) who was previously a UK resident holding permanent residency
  • A non-EU national who was previously a UK resident holding ILR
  • A person holding the right of abode

If you are not yet a permanent resident in the UK, your child may be granted a dependant visa under extreme circumstances whereby exclusion may have harmful consequences. To be eligible in this situation, you must be in the process of applying to settle. There must also be evidence that suitable arrangements have been made for your child’s care.


No parents are present and settled in the UK

If you are eligible for any visa that leads to permanent residency, you’ll be able to apply for a UK dependent visa together with your own application. If you are granted your visa, it is very likely any child will also be granted a dependant visa.

If so, you’ll be allowed to bring your children along with you immediately. These visa categories include Ancestry visas, partner visas, work visas, Tier 1 business or investor visas and student visas.


At least one parent is an EU national

If you are an EU national who is not eligible for any of the above visas, your child may be granted entrance into the UK on an EEA Family Permit. The permit applies to a child born outside the UK who is under the age of 18, where at least one parent is an EU national.

The Family Permit is valid for six months. Upon entering the UK, your child must apply for pre-settled status. This will allow them to gain continued right of residence in the UK. They will be eligible to apply for settled status after living with you in the UK for five years.

This option will only be available until 31 December 2020, after which the new regulations determined by Brexit will fall into place.

They will need to have applied for pre-settled or settled status by then. If they miss the deadline, they will have to meet the criteria set out by the revised immigration system.

Under the new scheme, the government plans to implement a points-based system. You will need to score at least 70 points to qualify for a visa. If you are granted a visa that allows you to live and work in the UK, you can apply to settle and apply for a dependant visa for your child provided they are under the age of 18.

You will need to meet the following requirements to be eligible to live in the UK:

  • You have sufficient English language skills
  • You are sponsored by an approved company and have the adequate skills for the job
  • You earn at least £25,600 per year or possess the relevant qualifications discussed later in this article

Both parents are non-EU nationals

If your only option is to move to the UK on a skilled visa, you will need to ensure you meet the maintenance requirements for dependant children of Points-Based System migrants. The maintenance requirements may differ depending on your visa class and number of children you wish to bring over to the UK.

You will need to meet the following requirements to apply for your dependant’s visa:

  • You have sufficient English language skills
  • You are sponsored by an approved company and have the adequate skills for the job
  • You earn at least £30,000 per year or possess the relevant qualifications discussed later in this article

If you have limited leave to remain, your child will receive the same for the same period. If you apply for an extension, your child will have to do so too.

If your child turns 18 but received his or her visa while under the age of 18, they may still be considered a “dependant” if he or she still lives with you. They will have to apply for an extension or ILR while they still hold authorised limited leave to remain.


How the points-based system works

To be eligible for a skilled visa allowing you to live and work in the UK, you will need to earn a minimum of 70 points. Adequate English skills and company sponsorship are mandatory requirements and will grant you 50 points. If you meet the salary threshold, you will be awarded an additional 20 points. This is the most straightforward route to achieving 70 points.

If you don’t meet the salary threshold, you can still achieve the appropriate number of points if you have the relevant qualifications. If you have a relevant PhD, you can earn 10 points. If you have a PhD in science, technology, engineering or maths, you may be awarded 20 points.

If your occupation is one of the eligible ones within the health or education fields, provided that you earn a minimum salary of £20,480 in line with national pay scales, you may also earn 20 points.

This system can be very difficult to navigate. We strongly recommend contacting a UK immigration expert to ensure you have the greatest chance of success.


Read: These are some of the most popular visas South Africans are using to emigrate



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