How to Bring Parents to the UK


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How to Bring My Mother or Father to the UK?

UK immigration law has been changing over the years, where today, it is harder to bring a parent/s to the UK than it was in the past

We get many calls and emails weekly from clients asking us about, How to Bring Parents to the UK? In order to achieve this, there are a number of routes that you can explore that will enable you to bring your parents to the UK. This article discusses two of the main official ways to do this, but do not worry if these are not suitable for you. We can also advise you with other solutions that will depend on your case and situation. For more info on that, please contact us

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Before 2012, getting a UK Visa for Parents of British Citizens or eligible individuals was straightforward if you were settled in the UK. Then, all you had to do was to secure an Adult Dependent Relative Visa, to facilitate the relocation. 

Moreover, if your parents could prove that you are financially stable enough to support and accommodate them, it was easy to bring them to the UK. They were only required to fill in the necessary documentation.

However, since 2012 the rules changed where more stringent immigration measures were introduced, making this visa route more difficult with lower success rates. So how do you process an Adult Dependent Relative Visa successfully? We will discuss this in the context of this article and also outline some alternative routes one can take in order to bring their parents to the UK. 

The Adult Dependent Relative Visa

In order to acquire an Adult Dependent Relative visa for an elderly loved one, there are a number of criteria that must be satisfied. You can learn more about them in more detail on our Adult Dependent Relative page. The criteria are:

  1. A sponsor must be a British or Irish citizen or have lived in the UK for at least five years.
  2. The elderly parent who has moved to the UK must be able to show that they require long-term care for basic activities and that it is not feasible or affordable in their native country.
  3. There is adequate housing and financial backing to accommodate the individual who will be coming to the United Kingdom without receiving public assistance.

What Documents are Needed to make an Application?

The following are some of the documents and evidence that must be provided with an application for an Adult Dependent Relative Visa
  • A current passport or other valid travel ID
  • Proof of the applicant’s date of birth and nationality
  • Proof to show the evidence of the relationship between the applicant and the person living in the UK (e.g. birth certificate)
  • Proof that the UK sponsor has UK nationality, settlement, EU pre-settled or settled status, refugee status, or humanitarian protection
  • Proof that the applicant (the parent) requires long-term care (e.g. a detailed doctor’s note)
  • A letter from your parent’s primary doctor or a care provider verifying that such care is not accessible in their country
  • Proof that this type of care is not affordable in the applicant’s home country (details of costs)
  • Proof that the sponsor has sufficient funds and accommodation to support the parent in the UK. 

Parents that need long term care from their UK based child/children

Fulfilling this condition requires your parents to submit a medical report with their application that proves that they are in pertinent need of long-term care. To meet these criteria, they must prove in their application that when they are outside of the UK, they cannot carry out simple tasks such as cooking, washing, dressing, and other day to day duties by themselves without having help. Moreover, if they have a mental condition such as schizophrenia that restricts them from carrying out their daily tasks, the application must also demonstrate this. Or, when they are left on their own, they are actually like prisoners, incapable of meeting their basic needs. The cause of the application must indicate that parents need help and must be looked after by their son/daughter in the UK.

The Ability to Support and Accommodate Parent(s) in the UK

Suppose your parents apply for an Adult Dependent Visa. In that case, they must show that your finances are sufficient enough to support your parents for at least five years in the UK after they relocate, with no access or help from public funds or benefits. They must also show that you can support their medical needs.

This rule was created to make sure that if your parents do come to the UK as your dependent(s), they do not burden your financial situation. 

Show that Receiving Care is Unaffordable or Unavailable in the Country your Parents Reside

Another criterion that the Home Office often considers for the Adult Dependant Relative Visa route is the cost of care of the country where one’s parents reside. It is important for your parents to demonstrate that the care is unaffordable, unavailable, or of bad quality in their mother country, making them apply under this visa route so you can look after them.

Meeting these criteria is very delicate, and many applications are refused on this point alone. If your parents claim that their care is unaffordable where they live, it indicates that you may also be unable to support them in the UK. 

Also, suppose you show that care is affordable in the UK and your parents’ mother country; this could lead the Home Office to deny their application as care can be afforded in their current location. 

Therefore, many people find it hard to fulfil this condition over others, so make sure you at least consult our immigration lawyers for clarity on this point before you apply. 

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Are there any Financial Requirements?

The UK government is keen on ensuring that people do not struggle to survive once they relocate. This is because such a thing is likely to overburden their relatives as well as the UK government. As a result, most applications are denied on the grounds of a lack of sufficient financial backing. Therefore, the government has set a minimum amount of money that one should have to bring their parent to live in the UK. As the amount changes often please call our immigration team for the most up to date number. 

Hence, when an application is made to bring your parents to the country, your financial stability must be proved. You must have sufficient money to fund your lifestyle together with the added burden of your parent.

Do my Parents Need to Meet the English Language Requirement?

If you are applying for an Adult Dependent Relative visa, there’s no need to submit proof that you can speak English at the initial stages. However, this will be needed when applying for settlement under these routes unless exempt.

One of the prerequisite conditions for settling in the UK is that the applicant must have English language proficiency. This condition is for all applicants who are above 18 years old. Nonetheless, some exceptions could spare your parents from this primary requirement. For example, your parents can be exempted if:

1. The applicant/s is 65 years old and above

2. They have a health condition that deters their ability to learn English. Such a claim must have confirmation from a certified medical practitioner.

3. They come from exempt countries such as Guyana, The Bahamas, Antiqua and Barbuda, St Vincent and the Grenadines, New Zealand and other English speaking countries.

4. Also, if your parents are refugees, they may be exempted from this requirement.

What Happens if my Adult Dependent Relative visa Application is Refused?

Given the strict criteria for eligibility under the Adult Dependent Relative visa, the Home Office will refuse you unless you can show how each requirement has been satisfied.


An applicant for an Adult Dependent Relative visa will be informed if their application is denied, and the refusal letter will state if they have a right of appeal. If not, they may still apply for an Administrative Review (AR), which is defined as a study to determine whether an error was made by the Home Office during processing.


If you are refused an Adult Dependent Relative visa, it may be possible to appeal if the application was initially based on your right to private and family life under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

There are a variety of reasons why an Adult Dependent Relative visa might be refused, including:

  • The Home Office feels that the applicant can receive the care they require in their own country.
  • There is no evidence that the candidate has long-term care requirements.
  • If the person who would give care in the United Kingdom does not have enough housing or funds.

Can I Bring My Parents to the UK Permanently?

Yes. You can with an Adult Dependent Relative Visa by sponsoring them due to their age, inabilities to look after themselves, and deteriorating health. However, as discussed, as the ADR route has a low success rate you can consider some other possible visa routes that could help with bringing your parents to the UK.


Applying for the Multi-Entry Family Visitor Visa

The alternative to an Adult Dependent Relative visa is a Long-Term Visit Visa, also called the Multi-Entry Family Visitor Visa. Under this visa route, your parents can stay in the UK for up to 6 months on each visit, but you must prove that they need multiple visits over long periods (2–10 years). 

If your elderly parents are well enough to not spend more than six months out of every twelve in the United Kingdom due to health concerns or other reasons, this type may be best suited for them and yourself as their caregiver/sponsor. However, this might not always work if they are too ill because it limits how often you can return home without running into issues with immigration officials demanding documentation proving your ties at home when wishing entry back into England. For further clarity, do not hesitate to contact us speak with our immigration solicitors.


More Alternative Visa Routes to Bring Your Parents to the UK

The Adult Dependent Relative Visa is one of the most complex visas to acquire. This is because one must sufficiently prove that they can support their parents. Also, even if one can support them, the Home office can deny you the chance to bring your parents to the country. They can argue that you can still take care of them while in the other country. 

As you have realized, you must be careful about how you present your case. With this particular visa route, there is a huge chance of being denied the opportunity to bring your parents to the country. This is where the expertise of our top immigration solicitors can be of great help, and we will help you find an alternative solution depending on your family’s case and situation.

We will be able to discuss your case with you in detail and find the best way to present it to the Home Office, and also discuss a wide selection of alternative options that you can consider so you are successful in bringing your parents to the UK.

Some of these other routes include:

  • The UK long-term visit visa
  • Applying for a Multi-entry family visitor visa
  • Applying for a Family visa – (as a parent)
  • If you have settled status, you can apply under the EU Settlement Scheme as a family member
  • British Nationals (Overseas) visa – The BNO route
  • Or as an applicant under Refugee/asylum laws

Thinking About Bringing Your Parents to the UK?

Are you looking to bring your parents over to the UK from a thrid country so you can look after them because they are old, sick or need more interaction in their lives?

Well, the great thing is that this is possible, and we can help you achieve it. At Gulbenkian Andonian Solicitors, we can help make the process as smooth as possible for you and your loved ones. Our team of solicitors can advise you on the best possible ways to bring your parents to the UK and formulate a plan that accommodates your particular situation. 

For more info on the process, read this article. Or, to speak with a UK Immigration expert, contact us.

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    Neither Gulbenkian Andonian Solicitors ltd, nor their employees, agents, consultants or assignees, accept any liability based on the contents of written articles which are meant for guidance only and not as legal advice. We advise all readers to take professional advice before acting. If you would like to consult with a professional lawyer or solicitor to discuss your case, please do not hesitate to contact us directly.

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