You need a family visa to live with a family member in the UK for more than 6 months.
Applying from outside the UK
You can apply for a family visa to live with your:
- spouse or partner
- fiancé, fiancée or proposed civil partner
- relative who’ll provide long-term care for you
If you’re visiting the UK for 6 months or less, check if you need a Standard Visitor visa or Marriage Visitor visa.
Extending your family visa
You can apply to extend your stay with your family member if you’re already in the UK on a family visa.
You can extend at any time before your current permission to stay in the UK expires.
If you’re extending to stay with the same family member, you’ll only get up to 28 days left on your current stay added to your new visa.
You must live in the UK for a certain amount of time before you’re eligible for settlement (‘indefinite leave to remain’). Before you extend your visa, check how much time you need to settle in the UK.
You might be able to apply to stay on the basis of your private life if you’ve lived in the UK for many years already.
Switching to a family visa
If you came to the UK on a different visa, you might be able to switch to a family visa to stay with your:
- spouse or partner
You can switch at any time before your current permission to stay in the UK expires.
How much it costs depends on how you apply.
|Apply outside the UK||Apply in the UK|
|Cost if joining your partner, parent or child||£1,538||£1,048|
|Cost for each dependant added to your application||£1,538 each person||£1,048 each person|
|Cost for an adult who needs to be looked after by a relative||£3,250||£1,048|
Let your bank know that a large amount of money will be coming out of your account - otherwise it might cancel your payment.
If you cannot pay the fee, you may be eligible for a fee waiver in certain situations - for example if you cannot afford a place to live or your essential living costs.
You might also need to pay the healthcare surcharge as part of your application.
For each adult (18 or older) it costs:
£1,560 if you’re staying for 2 years and 6 months
£1,872 if you’re staying for 2 years and 9 months
£3,120 if you’re staying for 5 years
For each child (under 18), it costs:
£1,175 if you’re staying for 2 years and 6 months
£1,410 if you’re staying for 2 years and 9 months
£2,350 if you’re staying for 5 years
Get a faster decision on your application
If you’re applying from the UK, you may be able to pay an extra £800 for the super priority service to get a faster decision.
You cannot use the super priority service if you’re applying as an adult coming to be cared for by a relative.
Once you’ve got your decision letter, your biometric residence permit will take up to 10 working days to arrive.
How long it takes
If you apply outside the UK a decision will usually be made within 24 weeks.
If you apply in the UK a decision will usually be made within 8 weeks of your application date if you use the standard service.
If you use the super priority service a decision will usually be made:
- by the end of the next working day after providing your biometric information if your appointment is on a weekday
- 2 working days after providing your biometric information if your appointment is at the weekend
Working days are Monday to Friday, not including bank holidays.
It might take longer if your application is complex, for example you:
- do not meet the minimum income requirement
- cannot prove your knowledge of English
- need to attend an interview
- have not provided all the evidence that the Home Office needs
- have a criminal conviction or another personal circumstance that needs to be reviewed
Other ways you can stay
You were the victim of domestic abuse or your partner died
You might be able to apply to settle in the UK if you had permission to stay in the UK as a partner when either:
- you were the victim of domestic abuse
- your partner died
Your family member has refugee status or humanitarian protection
You might be able to apply for ‘family reunion’ to join a partner or parent who has either:
- refugee status in the UK
- humanitarian protection in the UK
If you or your family are from the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein
If you or a close family member started living in the UK before 1 January 2021, you may be able to apply to the free EU Settlement Scheme. Otherwise you need a visa or family permit to come to the UK.
Irish citizens do not need to apply for a visa or to the EU Settlement Scheme.
When you cannot get a family visa
In some circumstances you cannot apply for, or switch to, a family visa.
Your family member has a work visa or student visa
You can apply to stay with them as a dependant instead.
You have a visitor visa or a visa for 6 months or less
You’ll usually need to leave the UK to apply for a family visa if either:
- you have permission to be in the UK as a visitor
- your visa is for 6 months or less
However, you might be able to switch to a family visa in the UK if you have either:
- a 6-month family visa as a fiancé, fiancée or proposed civil partner
- permission to stay in the UK for the outcome of a family court case or divorce