Skip to main content

Call us Mon-Fri

9am-5pm GMT

Visas for Grandparents, Parents and Other Dependent Relatives

If you are a British or Irish citizen, your parent, grandparent or other dependant can apply to enter the UK on an adult dependent relative visa. This also applies if you have limited leave to remain in the UK under Appendix EU, or are a person with refugee leave or humanitarian protection status. You will be the family member sponsoring your relative’s application and you can also apply on their behalf.

However, you should be aware from the outset that these applications are very closely scrutinised by the Home Office and the chances of a visa application refusal are significant. This is because the Immigration Rules, which apply to these types of visa, impose a number of stringent requirements for applicants to meet. Also, unlike with many other visas, there is a significant element of subjective decision-making in the assessment of these requirements.

Our Immigration team at Thorntons has niche specialist experience in dealing with these very difficult type of visa applications. It is vitally important for these types of applications that the strongest case is made first time, and we can work with you to maximise the chances of success of your application as it goes before the initial Home Office decision-maker.

We can provide a fixed fee consultation package and full representation service for adult dependent relative visa applications. Acting as your representative, we can take care of all aspects of the process for you and be the point of contact for the Home Office, working to achieve the best outcome for you.

Frequently asked questions

Here we look at some commonly asked questions about adult dependent relative visas.

The parent, grandparent or other dependent relative of a British or Irish citizen can apply to enter the UK on an adult dependent relative visa. In addition, the parent, grandparent or other dependent relative of someone who has limited leave to remain in the UK under Appendix EU or who is a person with refugee leave or humanitarian protection status can also apply for this visa. The family member sponsoring their application can also apply on their behalf.

The Immigration Rules, which apply to this type of visa, impose a number of stringent requirements for applicants to meet.

  • The first requirement is that the applicant has to demonstrate that they need long-term personal care to perform everyday tasks, such as washing, dressing and cooking as a result of age, illness or disability. 
  • The second requirement, which is a frequently the biggest hurdle, is to prove to the Home Office that the applicant cannot get the required level of care in the country where they are living, either because it is not available and there is no person (close relative, home-help, housekeeper, nurse, carer, care of nursing home, etc.) in their country who can reasonably provide it, or because it is not affordable.
  • The third requirement is that applicants must also demonstrate that their family in the UK can maintain and accommodate and care for them in the UK without recourse to public funds.

Unlike many other visas, there is also a significant element of subjective decision-making in respect of assessing these requirements.

No, the visa process is now fully digital. You will not have to send any original documents to the Home Office. However, the applicant will have to travel to and attend a Visa Application Centre to enrol their biometrics, unless they are an EEA national.

If you are using our full representation service, we will complete the online application forms and deal on your behalf with uploading your visa application package to the digital platforms managed by the Home Office’s commercial third parties. Our team deal daily with the digital technology involved and can ensure this aspect of the process goes smoothly for you.

The current fee for the visa application is £3,250. This is the most expensive UK visa application. However, as it is a visa for indefinite leave to enter, successful applicants arrive in the UK safe in the knowledge that they will be able to live in the UK with their families for the rest of their lives. You can check current visa fees on the Home Office website.

While many visa applications are refused, it is possible to secure success with an initial application and, where necessary, on appeal before an independent Immigration Judge. At an Immigration Tribunal hearing, UK family members can appear as witnesses to explain their unique family circumstance.

In our experience, a Court is more likely than the Home Office decision-maker to attach weight to the ‘emotional care needs’ of the elderly relative, due to established case law.

Yes, there is a strong risk that if you apply for an adult dependent relative visa and it is refused, that it could prejudice the success of future visit visa applications. It is very important that prospective applicants consider very carefully the implications of applying for this type of visa and take specialist legal advice before going ahead with the application.

How can Thorntons help?

At Thorntons, we offer a range of services to families looking to obtain an adult dependent relative visa to bring an elderly relative to the UK, including our fixed fee consultation service package and a representative service package.

We have been privileged to act for families making these types of visas and have secured a number of successes for our clients. In addition, our specialist immigration lawyers understand the emotional aspects of these applications. For many UK-based sponsors, they are making an application for their elderly and often vulnerable parent to come to the UK whilst at the same time dealing with a number of work and/or family responsibilities in the UK.

Consultation Service Package

You will receive an advice session as part of a fixed fee consultation service with an immigration specialist. At the session, we will discuss the requirements for the visa, assess your eligibility, provide our opinion on prospects of success, answer any questions you have on the process, and provide a follow-up summary email. We normally carry out this initial consultation with the UK-based family member and then if a decision is taken to make a visa application, will meet remotely with the adult dependant relative at a later stage.

Representative Service Package

We will take care of all aspects of the application process for you and act as representative on your application. This service includes preparation of an application package, uploading all of your documents to UKVCAS and responding to any post-application queries from the Home Office decision-maker.

We will liaise with the family member(s) in the UK to submit the application. The application package will contain our detailed legal representations setting out why the elderly family member meets the terms of the Immigration Rules, and will also contain subjective evidence, including medical evidence establishing the elderly family member’s medical condition and explaining why appropriate care cannot be sourced in the country the elderly family is living in. We will liaise with the appropriate medical professionals to ensure that any medical reports cover the requirements in the Immigration Rules.

We offer in-person consultations with immigration specialists at our Edinburgh, Glasgow and Dundee offices, or via a video call if you prefer. To arrange an initial consultation, please call the Thorntons Immigration Law team on  03330 430350 or complete our online enquiry form below.