You need a family visa to live with a family member in the UK for more than 6 months.
If you are outside the UK
You can apply for a family visa to live with your:
- spouse or partner,
- fiance, fiancee or proposed civil partner,
- relative who will provide long-term care for you.
If you are visiting the UK for 6 months or less, check if you need a Standard Visitor visa or Marriage Visitor visa.
If you are in the UK
You can apply to extend your stay with your family member if you are already in the UK on a family visa. If you came to the UK on a different visa, you might be able to switch to a family visa to stay with your:
- spouse or partner,
You might be able to apply to stay on the basis of your private life if you have lived in the UK for many years already.
When you can apply to extend or switch
You can extend or switch at any time before your current permission to stay in the UK expires.
You must live in the UK for a certain amount of time before you are eligible for settlement (‘indefinite leave to remain’); check how much time you need before you extend your visa.
If you are extending to stay with the same family member, you will only get up to 28 days left on your current stay added to your new visa.
How much it costs depends on how you apply.
Let your bank know that a large amount of money will be coming out of your account - otherwise it might cancel your payment.
You might also need to pay the healthcare surcharge as part of your application.
If you are applying to extend or switch in the UK
You will need to pay to have your biometric information (fingerprints and a photo) taken.
Get a faster decision on your application
If you are applying from the UK, you may be able to pay extra for the super priority service to get a faster decision.
You cannot use the super priority service if you are applying as an adult coming to be cared for by a relative.
Once you have got your decision letter, your biometric residence permit will take up to 10 working days to arrive.
How long it takes
If you apply outside the UK a decision will usually be made within 12 weeks.
If you apply in the UK a decision will usually be made within 8 weeks of your application date if you use the standard service.
If you use the super priority service a decision will usually be made:
- by the end of the next working day after providing your biometric information if your appointment is on a weekday,
- 2 working days after providing your biometric information if your appointment is at the weekend.
Working days are Monday to Friday, not including bank holidays.
It might take longer if your application is complex, for example you:
- do not meet the minimum income requirement,
- cannot prove your knowledge of English,
- need to attend an interview,
- have not provided all the evidence that the Home Office needs,
- have a criminal conviction or another personal circumstance that needs to be reviewed.
Other ways you can stay
You were the victim of domestic abuse or your partner died
You might be able to apply to settle in the UK if you had permission to stay in the UK as a partner when either:
- you were the victim of domestic abuse,
- your partner died.
Your family member has refugee status or humanitarian protection
You might be able to apply for ‘family reunion’ to join a partner or parent who has either:
- refugee status in the UK,
- humanitarian protection in the UK.
Your family member is from the EU, EEA or Switzerland
If you are outside the UK, you can apply for a family permit if your family member is from the European Economic Area or Switzerland.
Your family member will probably need to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme to continue living in the UK after 30 June 2021.
When you cannot get a family visa
In some circumstances you cannot apply for, or switch to, a family visa.
Your family member has a work visa or student visa
You cannot apply for a family visa if your family member is in the UK temporarily on a work visa or student visa.
You can apply to stay with them as a dependant instead.
You have a visitor visa or a visa for 6 months or less
You will usually need to leave the UK to apply for a family visa if either:
- you have permission to be in the UK as a visitor
- your visa is for 6 months or less
However, you might be able to switch to a family visa in the UK if you have either:
- a 6-month family visa as a fiance, fiancee or proposed civil partner,
- permission to stay in the UK for the outcome of a family court case or divorce.