UK Family Visa for Ghanaians

For Ghanaians wishing to visit their family in the UK, the Home Office offers several Family visas depending on your personal circumstances, the relationship you have with the family member you are staying with, and the visa or immigration status they have in the UK.

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    UK Family Visas for Ghanaians: An Overview

    If you are planning to travel to the UK to visit a family member, you will have to apply for a visa to stay in the UK. The visa you apply for will depend on how long you intend to stay, your relationship with the person in the UK, and their immigration status.

    For visits of less than six months, a Standard Visitor visa will cover your trip to the UK; you may even be eligible for a free family permit if your partner or family are from the UK, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein (and have lived in the UK since before December 2020).

    However, if you plan to live with your family for over six months, you must meet the eligibility criteria and apply for a UK Family visa.

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    Types of UK Family Visas Available for Ghanaians

    There are several Family visas available, each of which has different eligibility criteria and may require a minimum level of English language. You can apply for a Family visa to stay in the UK with your spouse, partner, financé, child, parent, or a relative who will be caring for you.

    UK Spouse Visa

    The UK Spouse visa is available for adults who wish to stay permanently in the UK with their partner or spouse who is legally settled in the UK. This visa is valid for 2 years and 9 months and can be extended.

    To be eligible, you must either be civil partners or married, have been in a cohabiting relationship for at least two years, or be engaged to marry within six months of arrival in the UK.

    You must also be able to financially support yourself and any dependents on your application, and you must meet the English language requirement.

    Your partner must be settled in the UK because they have one of the following:

    • British or Irish citizenship.
    • Settled status in the UK, for example, with indefinite leave to remain, settled status or proof of permanent residence.
    • Pre-settled status and be from the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, or Liechtenstein. They must also have lived in the UK since 2020.
    • A Turkish Businessperson or Turkish Worker visa.
    • Protection status, including leave to remain or permission to stay as a refugee or humanitarian protection.
    • Permission to stay as a stateless person.

    Parent Visa

    Provided you are not eligible to apply for a Partner visa, you can apply for a Parent visa to look after your child. In this case, your child must:

    • Live with you full-time (excluding full-time education).
    • Have permission to remain in the UK; for example, as a British citizen or have indefinite leave to remain.
    • Be under 18 years old (unless they received leave to remain before they were 18).
    • Not be married.

    It does not matter if you have shared or sole responsibility for your child; if you share responsibility, the child’s other parent cannot be your partner, and they must have permission to remain in the UK.

    The Parent visa also requires you to have a good level of English and prove that you can financially support yourself without using public funds.

    This visa is valid for 2 years and 9 months and can be extended.

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      Child Dependent Visa

      Overview

      If one of your parents has settled in the UK or has indefinite leave to remain, you may not need a visa to stay in the UK. However, if this does not apply to you and you want to apply for a Family visa to stay with your parent, your eligibility will depend on your place of birth and location at the time of application.

      You Were Born in the UK

      If you were born in the UK, are under 18 years old and unmarried, you will get the same permission to stay as your parent. You can either be included in your parent’s next application or apply separately, but you must live with them in the UK (except if you are in full-time education away from home).

      If you are over 18 years old, you can apply only if you were granted permission to stay before you turned 18 and are in the UK when you submit your application.

      You Were Born Outside the UK

      If you were born outside the UK, live full-time with your parent (except if you are away for full-time education) and are not married, you can apply for a Family visa.

      For children under 18 years old, your parent must apply for or extend their visa either to join your other parent in the UK or as your parent because they have sole responsibility for you. However, if you are over 18, you can apply only if you have leave to remain in the UK on a Family visa that started when you were under 18.

      You Are Applying From Outside the UK

      You can apply for a visa together with your parent, but the application form you will need to fill in will depend on whether your parent is applying for a UK Spouse visa or a different Family visa. If you are applying separately from your parent, the form you need to complete will depend on whether your parent already has leave to remain in the UK on a 5- or 10-year route to settlement as a spouse or partner or has settled in the UK with a different visa.

      Adult Dependent Visa

      Adults who are over 18 years old and require care from a family member in the long term can apply for an Adult Dependent visa to stay with them permanently in the UK. For this visa, the carer in the UK must be a parent, sibling, child or grandchild with British citizenship or indefinite leave to remain.

      This visa does not have a time limit because if you are successfully granted this visa, you will receive indefinite leave to remain in the UK and be permitted to stay permanently.

      Family together, doing an activity

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        Documents Required for a Family Visa Application

        Overview

        Each type of Family visa requires different supporting documents to prove your eligibility for that visa. However, some documents are required universally; these include:

        • Your Ghanaian passport and any previous passports.
        • A copy of your biometric residence permit and National Insurance number, if you have them.
        • Details of any previous visa applications.
        • A tuberculosis certificate if you have lived in Ghana for more than six months in the last six months.

        All documents will need to be translated by a certified translator if they are not English or Welsh.

        Spouse Visa

        For the Spouse or partner visa, you will need documents showing your ongoing and lasting relationship, that you can financially support yourself, and that you have a minimum level of English language. These documents could include:

        • A marriage or civil partnership certificate.
        • An official bill or tenancy agreement that shows both your names and shared address.
        • A joint bank account statement that shows your names and shared address.
        • Photographs and message logs to show your ongoing relationship.
        • Bank statements or payslips from the previous six months to show your financial stability; this can be your sole or combined income or savings.
        • A certificate from an approved English test at A1 level or a certificate from an English-speaking university or college.

        Note that any documents you present should not be older than four years old.

        Parent Visa

        For the Parent visa, you must provide evidence that you are actively involved in your child’s care and upbringing and will continue to do so following your visa application. They will expect evidence from the last four years from an official institution, such as the government, school, or a medical professional, that shows you living with and caring for your child.

        This could include a letter from:

        • Your child’s school saying that you take them to school or attend school events.
        • The local authority confirming which school your child attends.
        • Your child’s doctor or dentist confirming that you take them to their medical appointments.
        • The court confirming your child lives with you and that you are an active part of their upbringing, although this can only be submitted with permission to use the court order as evidence.

        You must also submit a certificate showing that you meet the English language requirements and bank statements or savings showing that you can financially support yourself.

        Child Dependent Visa

        When submitting your application for the Child Dependent visa, alongside all the usually required documents, you will need to submit documents, such as bank statements or savings, from your parents to show that they will be able to financially support you while you live in the UK.

        You will also need to provide details of your parents’ date of birth and nationality if you are applying from outside the UK.

        Adult Dependent Visa

        The Adult Dependent visa is a particularly difficult visa to apply for and you will need to prove that you have genuine care needs and are unable to care for yourself due to your age, illness or disability, and you are unable to access care in Ghana.

        The types of documents you provide to show your care requirements could include:

        • Official evidence from a medical professional detailing the condition that prevents you from caring for yourself.
        • Evidence that you have not been able to receive or access care from in Ghana.
        • Bank statements, payslips, or job contracts from the family member who will be caring for you to show that they have a stable income and can financially support you.
        • Evidence that the family member you will be staying with is either British or settled in the UK, for example, their passport or immigration documents.

        The Application Process

        Your visa application and supporting documents are submitted online through the UK .gov website. At this initial stage, you will have to pay the visa fee and healthcare surcharge.

        After submitting your application, you will need to attend a visa application centre to provide your biometric information, including your fingerprints and photograph. In some cases, you will be invited to have an interview if the UK Home Office would like further details about your visa application.

        Processing Time

        Processing time varies across the different types of family visas.

        For the Spouse or Partner visa, Child Dependent visa, and Adult Dependent visa, the decision time is usually 24 weeks if you apply from outside the UK and 8 weeks if you apply from within the UK.

        However, for the Partner and Spouse visa, if you apply from within the UK and do not meet the minimum income and English language requirements, it currently takes about 12 months to get a decision.

        For the Parent visa, the decision time is usually 24 weeks if you apply from outside the UK, and 12 months if you apply from within the UK.

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          Extending a UK Family Visa

          If you decide to stay in the UK with the same family member, you can extend your Family visa, provided you apply for an extension before your current visa expires.

          If your extension is successful, you can stay for up to another 28 days, although if you have already been in the UK for a certain amount of time, you could consider if you are eligible for permanent settlement in the UK.

          Application Fee

          The cost of applying for a UK family visa depends on where you are located at the time of your visa application.

          For people applying from outside the UK to join their partner, parent or child, the application fee is £1,846, plus an additional £1,846 for every dependent included in your application. This cost is reduced to £1,048 for yourself and the same again for each dependent, including when you apply from inside the UK.

          If you are an adult applying for a visa to stay with a relative who will be caring for you, the cost when applying from outside the UK is:

          • £404 if your relative has protection in the UK.
          • £3,250 if your relative does not have protection in the UK.

          The cost when applying from inside the UK is £1,048, regardless of whether your relative has protection status in the UK.

          In some extenuating cases, you may be eligible for a fee waiver.

          Healthcare Surcharge

          You must pay a healthcare surcharge when you submit your visa application; this fee varies depending on your length of stay in the UK.

          For adults, the healthcare surcharge will cost £1,035 per year; for applicants under 18 years old, it will cost £776 per year.

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            How Can Total Law Help?

            Deciding which visa is appropriate for your circumstances and ensuring you have collected all the correct evidence can be difficult when applying for a UK Family visa. Many people are concerned that their visa will be rejected and they will have to spend more of their money submitting further applications while trying to move to the UK to live with their family.

            Total Law are experts in immigration law with many years of experience. They can help you submit an application that will give you the best possible chance of receiving a positive decision. We are full service lawyers who can support you with anything from answering your immigration queries to submitting your visa application on your behalf.

            Contact us today on +44 (0)333 305 9375 to receive bespoke advice on your visa journey.

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                      Related pages for your continued reading.

                      Frequently Asked Questions

                      You may be eligible to apply for settlement if you have lived continuously in the UK with a Family visa for five years.

                      If your Family visa application is successful, you can work, study, access public healthcare and buy or rent property in the UK.