Status Soultions

Children of Britsih Citizen & Settled People - Family Dependant Visas

Children; can apply to join their parents in the UK if:

  • the parents live in the UK legally, with no time limit on their stay, or they are applying at the same time as the child;
  • and one parent is living and settled in the UK or is applying for settlement at the same time as the child, and has had sole responsibility for looking after the child;
  • the parents can support the child without help from public funds; the parents have enough accommodation, which they own or live in, where the child can live without help from public funds, and the child is their child.By 'child' we mean someone who is under 18 years old.


Children cannot normally come to settle in the UK unless both parents are settled here or have been given permission to settle here. The only exceptions are where:


1 parent is dead and the other is settled or coming to settle here; or
the parent who is settled or coming to settle in the UK has had sole responsibility for the child's upbringing; or
1 parent is settled or coming to settle in the UK and there there are serious reasons why the child must be allowed to come here.
The term 'parent' includes the stepfather or stepmother of a child whose father or mother is dead, both parents of an illegitimate child, and an adoptive parent in certain circumstances.


There are additional requirements for adopted children - See 'More information' below.


Your child must show that they:


are not leading an independent life;
are not married or in a civil partnership;
have not formed an independent family unit; and
are aged under 18.
If you and your child meet the above requirements, and you can show that you have accommodation where you can all live without help from public funds, you can bring your child to settle in the UK.


Before your child travels to the UK, they must obtain a visa. The Applying for a visa page explains how to apply.


If the child is already in the UK with temporary permission to stay, they can apply to settle here permanently using the SET(F) application form.


Adopted Children


The requirements below are additional to the rules for all children wishing to join their parent(s) in the UK (see above).


You can bring your adopted child to the UK if you can show that they:


were adopted when both parents lived together abroad or when either parent was settled in the UK; and
have the same rights as any of your other children; and
were adopted because their original parents could not care for them, and there has been a genuine transfer of parental responsibility;
have broken all ties with their original family; and
were not adopted just to make it easier to enter the UK.
Your child must obtain a visa before they travel to the UK.


A foreign adoption order will only be recognised in the UK if it was made in a country on the 'designated list' - this means a country that is included in the Adoption (Designation of Overseas Adoptions) Order 1973.

You can find the current designated list on the Department for Children, Schools and Families website.


A child who was adopted in a country on the designated list will normally be given permission to stay in the UK permanently if:


both you and the child's other parent are settled here; or
both you and the child's other parent have permission to settle here permanently and you both are entering the country together with the child; or
you have permission to settle here permanently and are entering the country with the child, and the other parent is already settled here; or
you have sole responsibility for the child.
If your child was adopted in a country on the designated list and is coming to the UK with a parent who has temporary permission to stay here (also known as 'limited leave to remain'), they will be allowed to stay for up to 12 months.


If the adoption order was made in a country that is not on the designated list, the child can apply to come to the UK to be adopted through the courts here. In this case, they will initially be allowed to stay here for up to 2 years.


Your child will not automatically become a British citizen, unless you adopted them through the UK courts and at least one of the adoptive parents was a British citizen when the adoption order was made.



Intercountry Adoption



If your child is coming to the UK so that they can be adopted by you here under the Hague Convention on intercountry adoption, they must:

be joining one or two prospective parents who are both habitually resident in the UK and who are the sole occupiers of accommodation where they can can support and house the child without help from public funds;
be the subject of an agreement made under the Hague Convention; and
have been entrusted to the prospective parents by the authorities of the country from which they are coming; and
be under the age of 18.

This is just a brief guide to the immigration rules on intercountry adoption. You must also meet other requirements before you will be allowed to adopt a child from another country. You can find more information on adoption laws and procedures on the Department for Children, Schools and Families website. You should also read our more detailed guidance about intercountry adoption and the Immigration Rules, which you can download from the right side of this page.



Additional Resources:


Incountry Adoption 

Adoption UK

A Child Shop Foundation 

Be My Parent Organisation





The legal framework for the issue of a Family Dependant visa is defined in the All Parliamentary 'Statement of Changes in Immigration Rules' issued since May 2003.

The parents in the UK must show that the children:

  • are under 18 years of age,
  • and cannot support themselves financially,
  • are not married or in a civil partnership and are not living independently away from the parents.

A child cannot normally go to live in the UK if one parent is living abroad, unless the parent in the UK has sole responsibility for the child, or if there are special reasons why the child should be allowed to join the parent in the UK. The travelling child must get a visa before applying.

Complete the Enquiry Form or Contact us

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