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Parent of a child in UK

If you are someone who has a child in the UK, it is natural that you might wish to obtain leave to enter or to remain in the UK to be able to care or have access to your child.

Our immigration team has a wealth of experience in dealing with UK family visas. Throughout the years, we have ensured that many families were happily reunited, allowing them to live a happy and fulfilling life together with their children. We strongly believe that the child’s right to have their parents around, to support and care for them, is paramount and no other consideration should come above this.

Regrettably, the UK government is taking a different stance in this respect and this has made it considerably difficult to obtain leave to remain, also known as family visas, for those who are relying on their family life, whether as partners or as parents of someone in the UK. The rules around the parent route are complex and often confusing, in particular when it comes to evidential requirements. When instructing our immigration solicitors to deal with your leave to enter or remain application, you can rest assured that you have the best chance of getting a successful outcome.

Contact our London based immigration solicitors on 020 3372 5125 or by filling in the online form to discuss your options in respect of leave to enter or remain to in the UK as a parent of a child in the UK.

Our experts in Immigration

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQS)

What are the available routes for a parent of a child in the UK?

You might qualify for leave to enter or remain in the UK, if you have a child in the UK, who is either:

  • British;
  • Settled in the UK;
  • Resided in the UK for 7 years and it would be unreasonable to expect the child to leave the country.

The available routes are either the 5 year route or the 10 year route, denoting the length of time you need to spend in the UK to get indefinite Leave to Remain and settle here.

It is imperative to remember that if you also have a partner in the UK, who is either British or Settled in the UK, you might qualify for a partner leave to enter or remain. If this is the case, you must make a partner application and should not rely on your child. Your application will fail if you do not observe this rule. You can still rely on the fact that you have a child in the UK, but that will be within your partner application.

What are the main requirements for a 5 year route as a parent of a child?

To be granted leave to enter or remain in the UK as a parent under the 5 year route to settlement, you must meet the following requirements:

General requirements

  • You must be over the age of 18;
  • Your child must be under the age of 18;
  • Your child must live in the UK and
  • Be either British or settled. For those applying from within the UK, there is also the option to rely on a child who is neither British, nor settled, but has been in the UK for more than 7 years and it would be unreasonable to expect the child leave the UK.
  • You must not fail to meet the suitability requirements, which mostly has to do with not having a criminal conviction in the recent years and no adverse immigration history, in particular where deception was employed.

If you are in doubt whether a conviction that you had or your previous immigration history might affect your application, it is always advisable to seek legal advice prior to making the application.

Relationship requirements

As the application is based on your relationship to your child, naturally, there are certain relationship requirements:

  • You need to demonstrate that you have sole parental responsibility for the child; or
  • Direct access to the child, this should take form of either a child arrangement agreement or Court order;

In the cases where you have access to the child, the other parent should also be either British or Settled in the UK and they cannot be your partner, otherwise a partner application should be made, rather than a child application.

Financial Requirements

You must be able to demonstrate that you can maintain yourself and your child without recourse to public funds. While there is no exact amount attached to this requirement unlike that of the spouse or partner route, you will still be required to show that you either have savings or a reliable income.

Accommodation requirements

You will need to demonstrate that you have adequate accommodation for you and your child without recourse to public funds. This means the accommodation will not be overcrowded and will not contravene the public health regulations.

English Language requirement

You will need to demonstrate that you meet the language requirement at a level at least A1 CEFR for initial applications and A2 and above for extension applications. This can be done either by sitting a specified test, or through evidencing the language knowledge through a qualifying degree. You can also meet this requirement without any additional evidence if you are a national of a qualifying English speaking country.

You will be exempt from meeting the language requirement, if:

  • You are aged 65 and above;
  • You have mental or physical disability that prevents you from meeting the requirement;
  • There are exceptional circumstances preventing you from meeting the requirement.

Those who meet the above requirements, will be able to get an initial leave of 30 months (33 if applying for entry clearance) and then extend it for a further 30 months. Once you reach 60 months (5 years), you will be able to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain as a parent of a child in UK.

What are the requirements for 10 year route as a parent of a child?

The general requirements under 10 year route are similar to the 5 year route. This route, however, does not require you to demonstrate you have adequate financial power to maintain or to yourself and your child. There is also no requirement to demonstrate English language knowledge. In return, this route takes twice as long to lead to settlement.

General requirements

  • You must be in UK to make this application;
  • The child must be under the age of 18, or if over that age then your first leave must have been granted while the child was still under 18;
  • The child must be living in the UK;
  • The child must be British or settled in the UK, or someone who has spent more than 7 years in the UK and it would be unreasonable to expect them to leave the country.

Relationship requirements

As with the 5 year route, you must demonstrate that you are either:

Another requirement under this route is that you should be able to demonstrate that, taking into account the best interest of the child, it would be unreasonable to expect the child to live somewhere else. Therefore, if you meet all the above, but there is another country where the child can live comfortably, then the application will be refused.

As the name suggests, you will only qualify for settlement under this route when you have lived in the UK for 10 years at least.

Applications under this route are often very complex. It is therefore always advisable to have legal representations from the best leave to remain lawyers to ensure your hard earned money is not wasted on the Home Office fees for an with no hope of success.

Overstayer Parent of a Child in the UK: will I be granted leave?

It is often the case that people move to the UK, build a life for themselves  only to have this threatened when they lose their immigration status for one reason or another. This might happen because they have lost their sponsoring job or the relationship they relied upon when they came to the UK has ended, or due to many other reasons. The outcome is always the same; the individual or sometimes the entire family will be deeply affected by what is known as a/the ‘Hostile Environment’. This, in essence, means that those without a leave to remain right in the UK will be unable to hold a job, rent a house, have a bank account etc. It is therefore imperative to ensure that you do not become an overstayer and seek legal advice before your leave expires.

However, it is possible that despite their best efforts, some people will still find themselves in a situation where they become an overstayer. There are some limited ways where the situation can be remedied and for those who have qualifying children in the UK, the parent route might be that.

Therefore, if you are an overstayer who has a child in the UK, either British or settled, or a child who has lived for at least 7 years in the UK, you might be able to qualify for a parent route. These applications will usually be extremely complex, as aside from the relevant requirements, you will need to prove that the child’s best interest dictates that they remain in the UK.  It is important to keep in mind that if both the child’s parents are in the UK without leave or have limited leave, then the application will need to be made under family and private life route and not as a parent of a child in the UK.

If you are unsure whether you qualify for an application under parent of a child in the UK route or if you need assistance with it, please contact us on 020 3372 5125 or fill in our online form.

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