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Applying for Visas for Extended Family

By: Louise Smith, barrister - Updated: 16 Apr 2019 | comments*Discuss
Applying For Visas For Extended Family

The rules on applying for visas to bring extended family to live in the UK vary according to the nature of the relationship and the family member’s country of origin.

European Citizens

Nationals of countries in the European Union (EU), the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland generally have the right to live and work in the UK. This right is dependent on the European national being able to show that they will either be working in the UK or that they will otherwise be able to support themselves and their family without having to rely on public funds.

European nationals who satisfy the above criteria may bring with them to live in the UK the following family members:

  • Their spouse or civil partner;
  • Children or grandchildren of the European national or their spouse / civil partner – the children must be under 21 or dependent on the European national;
  • The parents or grandparents of the European national or of their spouse / civil partner – but not if the European national is a student.
European nationals may also be able to bring the following family members to the UK:
  • Unmarried partner – they will have to be able to prove that they are in an enduring relationship;
  • Extended family – brothers, sisters, cousins etc. may be eligible but only if they can prove that they are dependent on the European national.
Family members of European nationals who are not themselves nationals of the EU, EEA or Switzerland will have to apply for an EEA family permit before coming to the UK.

Children of Nationals of Other Countries

Children under the age of 18 may usually join their parent or parents to live in the UK if the parents are or will be legally settled there. The parents must be able to support their child without relying on public funds and must have sufficient accommodation for the child. The child must also be financially dependent on the parents, not be married and not have previously been living apart from their parents.

Extended Family Members of UK Residents

In some circumstances foreign nationals may be able to bring the following extended family members to the UK: parents, or widowed parent, where at least one is over the age of 65; grandparents, or a widowed grandparent, where one is over the age of 65. To qualify:
  • The relative must be financially dependent on their UK resident family member;
  • The relative must not have any other close family members who could look after them; and,
  • The UK resident must be able to support and house their relative without having to rely on public funds.

Parents or grandparents under the age of 65 may be able to qualify to live in the UK if the above conditions are satisfied and they live “in the most exceptional compassionate circumstances”.

Children over the age of 18, siblings, aunts, uncles or any other relative may also be able to qualify to live in the UK with their resident family member if they satisfy all of the previous conditions and live alone.

Applications for settlement visas for family members are generally made on form VAF 4 – Settlement or may be made online at the UK Border Agency’s website.


A foreign national who has been granted refugee status or exceptional leave to remain in the UK may be able to bring their spouse, civil partner or unmarried partner and any dependent children under the age of 18 to the UK. These family members may qualify for UK “family reunion” entry clearance. Other extended family members do not necessarily qualify on this ground but may be given permission to come to the UK on compassionate grounds if they are dependent on the refugee.

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I am from philippines i am bristish citizhin a while ago.. I am wondering if i can bring my niece 18 years old to be my dependant.. Pleas let me know if what website or qplicatication form i can apply for her... Thank you in advance.. Have great day
Terie - 16-Apr-19 @ 7:41 PM
Hi my name is teresa.i am from philippines. I am bristish citizhin.. I just wonderin if i can bring my 18 years old niece as my dependant.. If is yes what website or application form i can apply for her.
Terie - 16-Apr-19 @ 7:35 PM
Hi am a Nigerian citizen, married to a Netherlands man. I hold a family member of EEA Visa . I would like to invite my 82years old father for few weeks holiday. Myself and husband is sponsoring him, what Are the chances of him getting the Visa
Tee - 8-Apr-19 @ 7:11 AM
My husband would like to bring his mom to live with us in the UK. She is Albanian but is currently living in Italy as she’s just had a heart op over there and has a visa for 6 months until they give her permission to fly. Can she apply for a visa even though she currently in Italy or does she have to apply back in Albania?
Hayley - 4-Apr-19 @ 11:11 AM
@Cin - It is not possible to sponsor your mother to the UK unless you can prove she is fully dependent on you. She should apply for a "Retired person of independent means" visa. She will need to demonstrate that she can live independently and earns a net amount of more than £25,000 per year.
TJ. - 4-Apr-19 @ 9:15 AM
Hello.I am a US citizen married to a UK citizen for 27 years and I have indefinite leave to remain. My 80 year old mother who also has a US passport and is now widowed would like to move to the U.K. to be near us as I am an only child. She would not be living with us as she is independently wealthy and still very mobile. What is the best way to make this happen and do we need to instruct lawyers?
Cin - 2-Apr-19 @ 6:17 PM
Hi I am Hungarian citizen and permanent resident in the UK. My wife is from India she holds an EEA family permit valid for 5 years. We will have our baby soon and we want to apply for an EEA extended family permit for my wife’s sister to help us during the baby born and after, she is single and she also wants to work in the UK. Is she eligible for the visa? Thanks Tamas
Tamas33 - 1-Apr-19 @ 6:46 PM
@Pawan - Your wife cannot sponsor your parents to come to the UK
TJ. - 1-Apr-19 @ 8:56 AM
Hi all Would like to ask. Myself holding a British nationality and my Mrs is a Belgian national. My parents leaving in India, they are about 65 years old and totally dependent on us, can proof that. Does they comes in extanded family members of my Mrs sponsor to them ( eea national) Please let me know Thanks in advance Mob-07533529228
Pawan - 1-Apr-19 @ 3:53 AM
My husband have eu pasport nowwe are settle in uk.he inviitended his parents on extended family visa withnout my permisition.now he wants to apply card. But it is very hard for me.
Nazish - 21-Mar-19 @ 1:10 AM
@Cheese - Your uncle and Aunt cannot sponsor you for residence in the UK.
TJ. - 8-Mar-19 @ 10:50 AM
Hi. I'm from Botswana, but I am using my Mauritius passport right now (Mauritian parents). I want to move to UK and look for a job. My uncle and aunt are both British citizens and said they would be my sponsors when i apply for a residence permit or work visa. I will live with them for a while. English is my first language. I have done the British school curriculum (IGCSE & A-levels) and I am about to complete my degree in Malaysia (Degree is from Nottingham Trent University in England). Am i able to apply and what are my chances of getting it? How long will the process take? I can come to UK visa free for 6 months if need be for the application process or for job interviews.etc.
Cheese - 8-Mar-19 @ 5:15 AM
Im a UK residents /citizens and planned to go home for a short holiday, I would like to invte my 7 years old niece to come with me when I came back for holiday since its thier school term holiday for 7 weeks. what should I do and where to start?
Anne - 2-Mar-19 @ 9:19 AM
Hi, I am non eea family member of EU citizen. My nephew wants to come and work in UK from South Africa for a year or so, he will live with us. Any way for him to do this as extended family member?
Jon - 28-Feb-19 @ 8:49 PM
@Rich mcd - Your step daughter will not be able to apply for a family visa as a dependant because she is over 18. She would only be able to apply if you were an EU citizen from another EU country living in the UK or if you were living as a British citizen in another EU country. After her tier 4 visa expires, she should find work if she wishes to remain in the UK.
TJ. - 22-Feb-19 @ 10:33 AM
Thank you for your reply. I am a little confused though because of the clause you mention above: "Children over the age of 18, siblings, aunts, uncles or any other relative may also be able to qualify to live in the UK with their resident family member if they satisfy all of the previous conditions and live alone." As the situation will be that once her mother is settled into the UK as my spouse (my step-daughter should at that time be in college with a Tier 4 Visa) she would be alone in Brazil if she were not living with us and studying in the UK. Subsequently she would then have to return to Brazil and be alone. Therefore, if she wants to settle in the UK, in order to be in the same country as her mother (she has no siblings) and as she will have been and would continue to be dependent upon her mother and me; could an application be made on the grounds of extended family membership in her case, if she wishes? Thank you
Rich mcd - 22-Feb-19 @ 9:09 AM
@Rich mcd - Your step daughter cannot apply for a family visa as a dependant as she is over 18. She will have to apply for a tier 4 visa if she wishes to come to the UK for studies. In order to be eligible for Indefinite Leave to Remain she will have to live legally and continuously in the UK for at least 10 years as the tier 4 visa is not eligible for the 5 year route.
TJ. - 21-Feb-19 @ 10:29 AM
@Annluv - If your sister and her children are truly dependant on your parents then she should apply for an EU family permit as soon as possible before Brexit.
TJ. - 21-Feb-19 @ 10:19 AM
I am British. I intend to marry my Brazilian long term partner and for us to live in the UK. My 19 year step-daughter is planning on obtaining a Tier 4 Visa to study here. She is dependent on me, currently living alone in Brazil. I will be financing her studies and in due course her mother should qualify for indefinite leave to remain and work in the UK. Will my step-daughter have the option to try to settle in the UK as a dependent relative in due course should she decide that she would like to settle and naturalize based on a 5 year dependent residency route without recourse to public funds during this time? Ultimately she should have a UK university degree and has already been offered a college place having met the requirements for an international student. Can you please advise on her options?
Rich mcd - 21-Feb-19 @ 9:32 AM
Hi my parents italian citizen and living in UK for five years and continously working full time job. They want to bring my sister and her four kids in uk from Ghana because they depend upon them and they're sending them money from uk properly. Please give me advise whether can I apply for family member visa if yes so how many chances to get it. Before we applied visit visa for them which they were refused from uk Consulate in Ghana. Note. My sister is married so she wouldn't be dependent of her parents. Can we apply for the kids only?
Annluv - 17-Feb-19 @ 7:16 AM
@Buba - You can apply for an EEA family permit to bring your mum to the UK. This permit may no longer be available if the UK leaves the EU without a deal.
TJ. - 13-Feb-19 @ 10:12 AM
I want to bring my mom from gambia to uk I have Spanish passport
Buba - 12-Feb-19 @ 7:06 PM
@Wes - Unfortunately because your wife is living an independent life neither her or her family can be sponsored by her mother or her step parent to come to the UK.
TJ. - 9-Feb-19 @ 12:28 PM
HelloI am a U.S citizen my wife’s mother just married a UK citizen and relocated to the United Kingdom. We don’t rely on them in anyway and don’t need public funds of any kind.can we also moveto United Kingdom so my wife can live near her mother?
Wes - 9-Feb-19 @ 3:13 AM
@Naveed - Your brother cannot be considered dependant on you if he has a wife and children
TJ. - 28-Jan-19 @ 10:20 AM
Is it possible for my elder sister to obtain UK visitors Visa for her younger sister's son alongside her own children when they all want to come for visiting/holiday. How can she go about it. Please, notify me of your response through my email. Thank you
Funkiano - 23-Jan-19 @ 12:15 AM
@Roy - you can apply for the EEA family permit for extended family members.
TJ. - 22-Jan-19 @ 10:20 AM
Hello! I am an EU citizen living in the UK for 3 years now. I would like to bring my (adults) brother or my sister here in the UK they have both Filipino passport , both financially dependent on me, is this possible?
Roy - 19-Jan-19 @ 6:28 PM
Hi.i am european National, living & working in uk.can I bring in uk my married daughter & grand daughter still economically depending on me .as a extend faimly member??
No - 6-Dec-18 @ 1:37 PM
Hi my husband have spainsh nationality.we live in uk.he want to aplly extended family visa for brother with fimily he have 4 childrens.my husband send money threemonth.but i m not happy.i have 2 children.it will very hard for me.what should i do.
Aisha - 30-Nov-18 @ 10:04 PM
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