Every country has drawn up it own set of laws to govern it’s country. The same concept of unique laws apply to immigration. Each country has drawn up its own set of immigration legislation.

This simply means that the term “family dependent” is interpreted differently by difficult countries.

The UK’s definition is restricted when compared to its neighbors. They make provision for immediate family members (partner and minors easily qualify) for consideration of UK visas.

In summary, the UK defines the family unit to consist of the following:

    • Main Applicant (or sponsor).
    • Married like dependent.
    • Minor child dependent(s).
    • Adopted minor dependent(s).
    • Step child minor dependent(s).

We get asked often about the following family members though:

    • Elderly parent dependent(s).
    • Elderly grandparent dependent(s).
    • Adult child dependent(s).
    • Guardianship of minor(s).

The above four cases are difficult to qualify for. There are special conditions applicable but these cases deliberately have high refusal rates.

We also get asked about adult applicants (legally seen as independent applicants) being able to claim dependency on other relatives, such as:

    • Claim dependency on a parent in UK.
    • Claim dependency on a brother or sister in UK.
    • Claim dependency on an aunt or uncle in the UK.
    • Claim dependency on a step parent living in the UK.
    • Claim dependency on a divorced partner living in the UK.
    • Claim dependency on a grandparent living in the UK.

Unfortunately there is no direct provisions for these cases. There are special conditions that would need to be met. Often the special condition is that the applicant has to evidence having physical or mental challenges (and that they are unable to provide for themselves independently). 

The EU and America interestingly have a broader definition to include parent (mother or father – as a family dependent), brother, sister, aunt, uncle, nephew and nieces. Subject to evidencing strong family ties of course.


From here, we have two sets of content that will help clarify alternative solutions:

Recognized Married Like Relationships Family Born In The UK

Given the above, our family dependency content (and introduction of solutions available) has been broken into the following cases:

What is also important to note is that there is a difference between claiming dependency on family that live in the UK and claiming dependency on family members that were born in the UK.

We have also put content together to help address the following frequently asked questions:

If you are still not sure which visa option best applies, we encourage applicants to complete our quick and easy online assessment.

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