uk family visa options

June 19

Comparing UK Family Visa Options


OTB Legal

Comparing UK Family Visa Options: Which One is Right for You?

Exploring the UK immigration landscape can be complex, especially when it comes to UK family visa options and reunification. Whether you are planning a move to the UK or hoping to bring loved ones over, understanding the various family visa options is crucial. This blog aims to demystify the different types of UK family visas, helping you decide which one best suit your circumstances.

Understanding UK Family Visa Options

Family visas are designed to allow non-UK residents to join family members who are UK citizens or have settled status. Here are the primary types of family visas:

Spouse or Partner Visa: This visa is for individuals married to or in a long-term relationship with a UK citizen or someone settled in the UK.

Fiancé(e) or Proposed Civil Partner Visa: This is for those intending to marry or enter into a civil partnership within six months of arriving in the UK.

Parent Visa: This is for parents of a child who is a UK citizen or has settled status and is under 18 or was under 18 when they first applied but is not living an independent life.

Child Visa: This visa category is for children of a parent in the UK as a citizen or settled person.

Adult Dependent Relative Visa: This visa is intended for elderly family members needing long-term care from a family member residing in the UK.

Comparative Overview

Eligibility and Requirements:

Spouse/Partner Visas require proof of a genuine and subsisting relationship, as well as financial requirements, typically a minimum income threshold or savings.

Fiancé(e) Visas demand proof of the intended marriage or civil partnership. Post-marriage, you must switch to a spouse visa.

Parent Visas necessitate proving that you are taking an active role in your child's upbringing and meeting financial requirements.

Child Visas require that the child must not be living an independent life and that there is adequate accommodation and financial support available from the sponsoring parent.

Adult Dependent Visas are perhaps the most stringent, requiring proof of the family member’s need for long-term personal care that can only be provided in the UK.

Application Process and Considerations:

The application process involves submitting detailed evidence to meet the respective visa criteria. Factors such as income levels, accommodation, and relationship proofs are scrutinised closely. Processing times can vary significantly, from a few weeks to several months, depending on the specific visa and individual circumstances.

Costs and Fees:

Visa application fees vary, but all applicants should be prepared for substantial fees and potential healthcare surcharges. It's important to budget for these expenses ahead of time.

Choosing the Right Visa:

Family Ties and Duration: Consider the permanence of your relationships and whether you are seeking temporary or permanent relocation.

Financial Stability: Evaluate your financial situation as this will play a significant role in your application.

Long-Term Plans: Think about your long-term goals and how your visa choice will impact your future in the UK.

Alternative options:

Short-term trips: A visit visa may be a more suitable application if the intention is for your family member to only come for a short period. Visit visas will allow someone to apply to visit the UK for up to 6 months at a time. As a person builds up a history of complying with the immigration rules when visiting, you can also get more flexible longer term visit visas (although still only permitting travel up to 6 months at a time)

Human Rights applications: There will be occasions where your family member may not be able to qualify under the Immigration Rules, but it is still arguable that a refusal of a visa will be a breach of their human rights. These types of applications will be more complex and carry a higher risk of refusal, which in turn means that it may be necessary to go through an appeal process.


Researching UK family visa options and choosing the right one is crucial to ensuring a smooth transition and successful application. Each visa has its specific criteria and intended purpose, catering to different family situations and needs. It’s highly recommended to consult our expert immigration team at OTB Legal to guide you through the complex process and improve your chances of a successful application.

At OTB Legal, we specialise in navigating the complexities of immigration law to help you reunite with your family in the UK. Book a free consultation with us today to discuss your situation and find out how we can assist you in choosing the right UK family visa options for your needs.

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