Indefinite leave to remain (refugee, humanitarian protection or Discretionary Leave)

Skip to contents of guide

Family reunion

Your partner or child may be able to join or stay with you in the UK if:

  • you were part of a family before you were forced to leave your country
  • you have refugee status, 5 years’ humanitarian protection or settlement on protection grounds but do not yet have British citizenship

If you formed your family after you left your country, your partner or child must first apply for a visa to join you in the UK. This also applies if they’re not eligible to apply as your partner or child.

Your partner or child cannot join you if:

  • you have not received a decision on your asylum claim
  • you’re under 18

If their application is successful, your family members will be allowed to come to or stay in the UK with the same permission as you.


Your partner and any children must meet the following requirements.


Your partner is someone you’re in a genuine relationship with. You must be able to prove one of the following:

  • you’re married
  • you’re in a civil partnership

If you’re not married or in a civil partnership, your partner may be able to join you if both:

  • you were given refugee status or humanitarian protection on or after 9 October 2006
  • you’ve lived together in a relationship like a marriage or civil partnership for at least 2 years

You and your partner must intend to live together and continue your relationship after they apply.


Your child is:

  • under the age of 18
  • going to live with you and your partner
  • not married or in a civil partnership

Apply outside the UK

Your partner or child must apply online for family reunion.

You can apply on behalf of your child but, in most cases, your partner must make their own application.

They’ll also have to complete application form VAF4A with Appendix 4.

They’ll need to have their fingerprints and photograph (known as ‘biometric information’) taken at a visa application centre as part of their application.

North Korea

Your partner or child cannot apply online if they’re applying from North Korea.

They need to download application form VAF4A with Appendix 4. The form includes guidance about how to fill it in.

They can also check instructions for finding a visa application centre if they’re in North Korea.

Apply in the UK

Your partner or child can apply to stay with you in the UK if all the following are true:

  • you have refugee status or humanitarian protection in the UK
  • they’re making their first application to stay with you and they’re already in the UK
  • they can prove their relationship pre-dates your departure from your home country because of persecution

They must apply by letter to:

UKVI Family Reunion Team
Admin Team
7th Floor
Capital Building
L3 9PP

Providing biometric information and supporting documents

When your family member applies, they’ll be asked to make an appointment at a Service and Support Centre to provide their biometric information (their fingerprints and a photo) and have their supporting documents checked.


There’s no fee for applying for family reunion for eligible family members.