One of the biggest concerns for persons looking to obtain a UK visa is whether their dependents will be able to accompany them. Fortunately, the UK immigration rules make provision for dependents of main applicants.
How to qualify for a Dependency Visa
The immigration status of the main visa applicant, or sponsor, will determine the requirements and conditions to apply for a dependency visa.
To qualify as a dependent, you must be the spouse, unmarried or civil partner of the main applicant. Children under the age of 18 years may also accompany the main applicant to the UK as dependents. If you are applying as a dependent of an EEA national, the dependency age for children is 21.
It is sometimes possible for a child to accompany one parent to the UK, under the sole responsibility route. Note, however, that special rules apply, and these applications are very fact-centric. As a result, we advise you to contact us to ascertain your particular status.
Children over 18 need to qualify independently under the Immigration Rules for rights of residence in the UK. Exceptional applications for children over 18 to accompany parents as dependants may be possible in very restricted circumstances.
It is also possible to apply as an Elderly Dependant. Please see the following article.
Dependency Visas and the Maintenance Requirement
The immigration status of the main visa applicant, or sponsor, will also determine the maintenance requirement.
If you are the dependent of a British citizen or person settled in the UK, you will have to fulfil the financial requirement of the Family Migration rules. A minimum income threshold of £18,600 is required to sponsor the settlement under the Family Migration rules. There is also a higher threshold for any children also sponsored. This is £22,400 for one child and an additional £2,400 for each further child.
If the partner present and settled in the UK is the holder of an Ancestry Visa, you will not need to fulfil the minimum income criteria.
If the partner is a Tier 1 or Tier 2 holder, you will have to fulfil the maintenance requirement of those visas. The same applies to other immigration categories.
Length of stay and right to work
The length of the permit or visa will depend on whether the sponsor is present and settled in the UK, the main applicant is residing in the UK on a visa, or has a right to reside under the Immigration (EEA) Regulations.
Normally, where the main applicant is residing in the UK on a visa, the dependant will be granted leave in line with the main applicant. Where the sponsor is present and settled, generally speaking, the dependant will be issued with a visa for 30 months. This visa must be renewed for a further 30 months before you can apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain. If you make an application under the European Regulations, the dependant will receive a five-year permit. During this time the EEA national must be exercising a Treaty Right.
There are normally no work restrictions on the spouse or partner who successfully applies for a dependency visa.
Dependency Visa and Indefinite Leave to Remain
It is possible for dependents to obtain Indefinite Leave to Remain, provided that the main applicant obtains Indefinite Leave to Remain at the same time, or have already obtained this status. The dependant must also have spent sufficient time in the UK over the preceding period as applicable in each case.
Where the sponsor is already present and settled in the UK, generally speaking, the dependant must spend a probationary period of 60 months in the UK before applying for settlement. Dependants under the European Regulations are required to spend five years in the UK. During this time the EEA national must be exercising a Treaty right. Thereafter he/she can apply for confirmation of the right of permanent residence.
How Breytenbachs can help you
If you need more information, or wish to proceed with your visa application, please feel free to contact us.