Apply as a parent

You can apply to live with your child in the UK.

Your child must either:

  • be under 18 on the date you apply
  • have been under 18 when you first applied for the visa and not live an independent life

Your child is living an independent life if, for example, they’ve left home, got married and had children.

Your child must be living in the UK. One of the following must also be true:

  • they’re a British citizen
  • they’ve settled in the UK (they have ‘indefinite leave to remain’ or proof of permanent residence)
  • if you’re applying in the UK, they’ve lived in the UK for 7 years continuously and it would not be reasonable for them to leave

If you’re eligible to apply as a partner, you must do that instead of applying as a parent.

Parental responsibility

You need to have sole or shared parental responsibility for your child.

If you share parental responsibility, the child’s other parent must:

  • not be your partner
  • be either a British citizen or settled in the UK

If the child lives with their other parent or carer, you must have access to the child in person, as agreed with the other parent or carer or by a court order.

What you’ll need to prove

You must be able to prove that you’re taking an active role in your child’s upbringing and you plan to continue after you apply. For example you could send letters from your child’s:

  • school confirming you take them to school or go to parent evenings
  • dentist confirming you take them to appointments

You must also prove you:

If you do not meet these requirements you can still extend your permission to stay if:

  • your child in the UK is a British citizen or has lived in the UK for 7 years
  • it would be unreasonable for them to leave the UK

How long you can stay

You’ll get permission to stay for 2.5 years. After this you’ll need to apply to extend your stay.

How to apply

You’ll need to prepare information and send documents with your application.

How you apply depends on whether you’re outside or in the UK.

Outside the UK

You must apply online. You must also complete Appendix 5.

There’s a different way to apply in North Korea.

In the UK

You must apply online.

If you cannot afford to pay the fee, you must also apply online to waive the fee. You might not have to pay the fee if you:

  • do not have a place to live and you cannot afford one
  • have a place to live but cannot afford your essential living costs like food or heating
  • have a very low income and paying the fee would harm your child’s wellbeing

Read the guidance for parents before applying.

Get help using a computer to apply online

You can get help with:

  • accessing a computer or the internet
  • finding the right information on GOV.UK

You cannot get advice on:

  • whether you’re eligible to apply
  • what information to put in your application
  • an application you’ve already made

Telephone: 03333 445 675
Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm
Find out about call charges
Text: ‘VISA’ to 07537 416 944

Applying with other children

You can add other children to your application as dependants if they either:

  • are under 18 on the date you apply
  • were under 18 when you first applied for the visa and do not live an independent life

When you can settle permanently

The earliest you can apply to settle in the UK (called ‘indefinite leave to remain’) is after you’ve lived in the country for 5 years continuously with permission to stay (‘leave to remain’) as a parent.