How to Bring Elderly Parents to the UK in 2024


How to Bring My Mother or Father to the UK?

We get many calls and emails weekly from clients asking us, How Can I Bring My Parents to the UK? In this article, we will discuss two main official ways to do this in 2024. If these options do not suit your specific case or situation, we can also advise you with other solutions that may work for you and your loved ones. For more info, please contact us

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Getting a UK Visa for Parents of British Citizens or eligible individuals falls under the Adult Dependent Relative Visa.

Making an application under this route requires your parents to prove that you, as their sponsor, are financially stable enough to support and accommodate them in the UK.

The Adult Dependent Relative Visa For Elderly Parents

In order to acquire an Adult Dependent Relative visa for an elderly loved one, there are a number of criteria that must be satisfied, and they are as follows:

  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 Bring Parents to the UK?

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. 

The Adult Dependant Relative Visa is for 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 proving that they need 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 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 ensure that if your parents 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 in 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 before applying. 

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Are there any Financial Requirements?

The UK government is keen to ensure 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 with your parents added burden.

How Much Does an Adult Dependant Relative Visa Cost?

The cost to apply for an Adult Dependant Relative visa varies depending on where the application is made and the status of the sponsor:

Standard Application (Outside the UK): The fee for applicants applying from outside the UK is £3,250. This fee must be paid at the time of application and covers the processing of the visa application by UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI).

Reduced Fee for Protected Status Sponsors: If the sponsor has protected status in the UK (such as refugee status or humanitarian protection), the fee is significantly reduced to £404 for applications made outside the UK. This lower fee is designed to make it easier for those with protected status to bring their dependent relatives to the UK.

How Much Is the Immigration Health Surcharge?

The Immigration Health Surcharge is a mandatory fee for most visa applicants looking to stay in the UK for longer than six months. It ensures that visa holders can access the National Health Service (NHS) similarly to UK residents. Here are the specifics for this visa category:

Annual Cost: The IHS is priced at £1,035 per year for each year the visa is valid. This surcharge allows the visa holder to use the NHS for medical treatment without significant additional costs for most services.

Total Cost for the Visa Duration: For an Adult Dependant Relative visa, which is typically granted for five years, the total IHS would be £1,035 x 5 = £5,175. This amount must be paid upfront along with the visa application fee.

Are there Any Additional Costs?

Applicants should also consider various other costs associated with the visa application process:

Legal Advice and Representation: Many applicants choose to hire expert immigration lawyers like ours to navigate the complex requirements and to increase the likelihood of a successful application.

Document Certification and Translation: All non-English documents must be officially translated, and certain documents may need to be certified, which can incur additional costs.

Travel Costs for Biometric Appointments: Applicants need to travel to a visa application centre to provide their biometric information (fingerprints and a photo). Travel costs can vary depending on the applicant’s proximity to these centres.

Courier Fees: Some applicants might opt to have their documents returned by courier from the visa application centre, which will involve additional fees.

TB Testing: Applicants from certain countries need to provide a tuberculosis (TB) test result, which is a prerequisite for the visa application. The cost of a TB test varies by country but typically ranges from £50 to £150.

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 immigration administrative review (AR), which means that there will be an assessment by the courts to see if 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.

Read: How to Appeal an Adult Dependent Relative Visa Refusal~~

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, inability to look after themselves, and deteriorating health. However, as discussed, as the ADR route has a low success rate, you can consider other possible visa routes that could help bring 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 not to 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 they can return home without running into issues with immigration officials demanding documentation proving their ties at home when wishing entry back into England. For further clarity, do not hesitate to contact us to speak with our expert team of immigration lawyers and solicitors in London.

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 care for them in another 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 a top UK immigration law firm 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.

Other Ways to Bring Elderly Parents to the UK

  • 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 as a family member under the EU Settlement Scheme.
  • 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 so you can look after because they are either old, sick or need help and assistance in their lives?

Well, the great thing is that even though this is hard it 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.


Yes, you can bring your parents to the UK permanently if they meet certain criteria. They must apply for “Adult Dependent Relative (ADR)”. To make an application for this visa route, you must prove they are your parents, show that they require long-term care due to age, illness, or disability and also show that such care is not available or affordable in their home country. You will also need to act as their sponsor and show that you can support and accommodate them without recourse to public funds. It’s a challenging process, and success is not guaranteed. Consulting with a legal professional is advised.

The ‘Adult Dependent Relative’ visa category is to allow relatives, such as parents or grandparents, of British citizens or settled persons in the UK to join them to live in the UK. This visa category is designed for those individuals who need long-term care due to age, illness, or disability and can not provide this care for themselves in their home country. The ADR route is the primary route to use when thinking about bringing a family member, such as a parent, to the UK in order for them to be able to receive the necessary care and support they need. 

  • Be a parent or grandparent of a British citizen or a person with settled status in the UK (of 18 years or over)
  • Demonstrate that they require long-term care for daily living, such as washing, cooking, or dressing, due to age, illness, or disability
  • Show with as much evidence as possible that the care they require is unavailable in their home country or that they can not afford to look after themselves there. 
  • Show that their British citizen or settled family member can provide adequate care and financial support without accessing public funds

The process for applying for an ‘Adult Dependent Relative visa is as follows:

  • Your relative and yourself must gather all necessary documentation to demonstrate eligibility, including proof of the relationship to the British citizen or settled person, medical documentation outlining the need for long-term care, and evidence of financial support.
  • Complete the online application form on the UK government website.
  • Pay the fee for the visa and the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) if it is required
  • Attend a biometric appointment to provide fingerprints and a photograph.
  • Apply for the visa along with as much evidence in the form of supporting documents as possible to the relevant British embassy or high commission in the home country of the applicant 
  • Await a decision from the UK Home Office, which can take several months.

While adult-dependent relatives are allowed to live in the UK, they are not permitted to work or study. The primary purpose of this visa category is to enable the applicant to receive long-term care from their British citizen or settled family member. Therefore, the visa holder is not allowed to engage in employment or enrol in academic courses during their stay in the UK.

Yes, adult-dependent relatives can apply for an extension or ILR in the UK. To extend their visa, they must continue meeting the eligibility criteria and submit a new application before their visa expires. For ILR, the applicant must have lived in the UK continuously for a period of five years under the ‘Adult Dependent Relative’ visa category, continue to meet the eligibility criteria, and pass the Life in the UK test as well as meet the English language requirements.

If your ADR application has been refused, you will receive a letter that will tell you exactly why and what your options are to challenge the decision. It is essential to carefully review these reasons to understand the grounds on which your application was rejected.

If you believe the refusal is based on incorrect information or a misunderstanding, normally, you can apply for an appeal or review of the decision. This must be requested within 28 days of receiving the refusal decision, and you will need to provide any relevant supporting documentation to address the issues raised in the refusal letter.

Most of the time, one may need to submit a fresh application, addressing the concerns raised in the refusal letter and providing any additional evidence required to strengthen your application. Keep in mind that a new application will require payment of the visa application fee again.

Please note that the ‘Adult Dependent Relative’ visa category can be tough to challenge the decision through an appeal. Submitting a new application is, in most cases, the primary option available to applicants who have been refused.

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