If you have legal status in the UK or are a British citizen and you want your foreign family members from outside the EEA (visa national) to come and live with you here on a permanent basis, your family members may be eligible to apply for a Family visa from outside the UK.

The person in the UK will be considered by the Entry Clearance Officer at the British Embassy as the “Sponsor”; the family member who is applying for the visa is the “Applicant”.

If you have permanent legal status in the UK (such as British citizenship or Indefinite Leave to Remain or asylum) then your family member will need to apply for a Family visa online.

The appropriate form to apply for a visa in view of settlement is a VAF4a.


If however you have temporary visa status in the UK, such as a Tier 1, 2, 3, 4 or 5 visa, then your family member must apply for a dependent visa to join you in the UK on the basis of your limited leave in the UK. You will need to use a different application form, usually this will be a PBS Dependant application and family member will receive a visa for the same period of time for which your visa in the UK is valid. See under the relevant main applicant section for more details.

If your family member entered the UK under a different immigration category (for example, as a student), they may be allowed to switch into Family visa category, if they have been given a total of more than 6 months’ permission to live here since their most recent admission to the UK. This permission must have been given in accordance with the Immigration Rules, not ‘exceptionally’. The minimum of more than 6 months does not apply if they entered on a fiancé(e) or proposed civil partner visa, or as your spouse/civil partner/unmarried/same-sex partner of a Tier 1 Migrant, and you are still their same spouse or partner.

If your application is refused, under this category you have a full right of appeal.

Hereafter is a description of the requirements for successful settlement applications broken down by category of family relationship.