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A person may wish to travel to the UK for a period of time for a number of personal reasons, including marriage or to be with a close relative. In each case, it must invariably be shown that a relative in the UK can provide adequate accommodation and maintenance costs without the use of public funds. If you want to come to the UK for personal reasons, speak to an immigration lawyer from Meyner and Landis LLP who can provide the expert guidance you need.


When a dependent child wishes to join his or her parents the applicable rules depend on which parent is in residence in the UK and where the other parent lives. It might also depend on whether there are serious circumstances such as any risk of harm that make it desirable that the child should be allowed to come to the UK.

Where both of the child's parents have been granted leave to remain in the UK, applications are straightforward. The length of time that the child will be permitted to stay in the UK depends on how long the parent is entitled to stay. For example, a child will be normally be given the same period of limited leave as a parent who has limited leave to remain. In some instances, a child may successfully apply to join a nonparent relative in the UK.


A spouse is the husband or wife to whom a person is legally married. Where an individual wishes to join his or her spouse in the UK it must be shown that the marriage is legally recognised in the country in which it took place. The parties must be over 21 years of age, have met each other and have the intention of living together as husband and wife,

A spouse is generally granted a period of 27 months to enter, remain and work in the UK. If you are already in the UK when you apply, you can generally remain here for a further two years, after which an application can be made for Indefinite Leave to Remain. However, this cannot happen where the relationship has broken down. If you lived together outside the UK for at least four years before an application, Indefinite Leave to Enter/Remain will normally be granted.


Certain unmarried partners are recognised under UK immigration rules:

  • Unmarried partners of either or both sexes who have lived together for at least two years
  • Formal civil partners or same-sex couples who are about to enter a civil partnership as recognised under the Civil Partnership Act 2004

People in the second category are treated under immigration law the same as spouses.

UK immigration rules define unmarried partners as a foreign individual and a UK-based partner who have lived in a relationship for at least two years. The relationship must be akin to marriage to qualify. Where one party wishes to stay, both partners must have been over 21 years of age at the time of that partner's entry to the UK, and any prior marriage or similar relationship that either partner has been in must have broken down permanently. In addition, the partners must intend to live together.

If you are planning to get married (or register a civil partnership) and remain in the UK with a partner already settled here, you will need fiancé(e) or proposed civil partner entry clearance that will normally grant you six months to stay. You must both be age 21 or over to qualify. Evidence must be produced in support of your planned marriage or civil partnership during the period for which you have been granted permission to stay.

Elderly Relatives

You may be able to bring an elderly relative, such as your parent, to the UK to live with you. The rules depend on the age and relation of the individual. If he or she is a parent aged 65 or over, you must show he or she is wholly or mainly dependent on you financially, and you must be able to prove you can provide adequate accommodation and maintenance without recourse to public funds. You must own or occupy the place of accommodation exclusively and the parent must not have any other close relatives in his or her home country that can support him or her financially.

In addition to parents, in exceptional compassion circumstances and so long as the above conditions can be satisfied, other close relatives may be allowed to join you in the UK, including:

  • Sons and daughters, siblings, and uncles and aunts over the age of 18 years
  • Parents and grandparents under the age of 65


In addition to these topics, there are additional issues that must be considered, including the impact of relationship breakdowns, the relevance of EEA memberships, human rights and forced marriages. It is important you get proper legal advice so that all aspects of your immigration application can be properly dealt with. If you want to join a family member in the UK, speak to an immigration lawyer from Meyner and Landis LLP who is an expert in the immigration law and procedures.

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