Family visas: apply, extend or switch

1. Overview

You need a family visa to live with a family member in the UK for more than 6 months.

If you’re outside the UK

You can apply for a family visa to live with your:

  • spouse or partner
  • fiancé, fiancée or proposed civil partner
  • child
  • parent
  • 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.

If you’re in the UK

You can apply to extend your stay with your family member if you’re already in the UK on 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
  • child
  • parent

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.

When you can apply to extend or switch

The earliest you can apply is 28 days before your current permission to stay in the UK expires.

If you’re extending your visa to stay with the same family member, any time you have left will be added to your new stay up to a maximum of 28 days.

How long it takes

A decision will usually be made:

  • within 12 weeks if you apply outside the UK
  • within 8 weeks if you apply in the UK either online or by post
  • on the same day if you apply in the UK in person using the premium service

It might take longer if your application is complex, for example you:

Fees

How much it costs depends on how you apply.

Your situation Apply outside the UK Apply in the UK online or by post Apply in the UK in person with the premium service
Joining your partner, parent or child £1,464 £993 £1,583
Each dependant added to your application £1,464 each person £993 each person £1,583 each person
Adult who needs to be looked after by a relative £3,250 £993 £1,583

You might also need to pay the immigration healthcare charge as part of your application.

Let your bank know that a large amount of money will be coming out of your account - otherwise it might cancel your payment.

Other ways you can stay

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

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

You can apply for a EEA family permit if your family member is from the European Economic Area or Switzerland.

There will be no change to the rights and status of EU nationals living in the UK, or UK nationals living in the EU, while the UK remains in the EU.

When you can’t get a family visa

In some circumstances you can’t apply for, or switch to, a family visa.

Your family member has a work visa or student visa

You can’t apply for a family visa if your family member is in the UK temporarily on 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: