Dependant Children

Dependant Children

This category is for the children of people who are British citizens, or who have Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK.  The application can be made from the UK if the child is here legally, even as a visitor; otherwise it must be made from the child’s home country.  Children get settlement immediately. If you yourself are coming to the UK as a spouse, fiancé or unmarried partner there are additional requirements that your children have to meet.

All children must be under the age of 18, still dependent upon their parents, single and not leading an independent life, and free from any unspent convictions.

You must be able to maintain and accommodate the children adequately from your own resources, without needing help from public funds.


If you are the only parent in the UK, you will need to demonstrate either that your child’s other parent is dead, or that you have sole responsibility for the child.

If you cannot prove either of these things, you need to satisfy the Home Office that there are ‘serious and compelling family or other circumstances’ that would make it undesirable to refuse your child permission to live with you in the UK.


Over the years the courts have held that ‘sole responsibility’ means more than just supporting your child financially, though that is, of course, an important element of what you have to prove.

You will need to show that you have kept in regular contact with your child, and that even though you have left someone else with the day-to-day care, you have been the person who has made all the major decisions in the child’s life.

What this means is not explained in the Immigration Rules.  In general, if you are relying on this, you will need to be able to prove why it would be detrimental for your child to be unable to live with you in the UK.

This could, for example, be because the care arrangements in place are no longer workable, or because of serious health issues, or if the child is being abused or ill-treated.


The UK recognises legal adoptions from countries that have signed up to the Hague Convention, and from certain other ‘designated countries’.  If you have adopted a child legally but the country in which the adoption has taken place does not meet this criterion, then the adoption will not be recognised as valid for the purposes of UK immigration.

If you and your partner live overseas for 18 months or more, and adopt a child who has lived overseas with you for 12 months or more, this could be recognised as a ‘de facto’ adoption.

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