Parent of a British child visa is not the most frequent type of application for an immigration lawyer and we are very happy to celebrate success with our clients in this rather unusual application.
The background facts are not so unusual – our clients are an unmarried couple who have been in a relationship for a long time but have not lived together for two years and thus didn’t qualify for the spouse or partner visa. They had been visiting each other travelling between the US and the UK. In September last year, they celebrated the birth of their twins. The children were born in London to their British mother. Their father, a US national, was there as a visitor and soon had to leave the country as his visit visa was due to expire.
The couple contacted us to find out how they could build their life in the UK. The unmarried partner visa was not an option, since the clients did not meet the relationship requirement. Marriage was not contemplated as yet, so the fiancé visa option was also dismissed.
We applied under the Parent of a British child route asking the Home Office to treat the application as urgent. The difficulty of the application was that the Parent of a British child visa is more commonly associated with the scenario when the parents are not a family unit and the child lives with one parent while the other parent exercises the right of access to the child.
A number of immigration solicitors had told our clients that they had to choose between making a declaration of intention to get married (and apply for the fiancé visa) or making a declaration that they do not intend to live together as a couple (and apply for entry clearance under the parent route). The problem was that neither option reflected their true intentions.
Luckily, the couple contacted Kadmos immigration lawyers and made the right decision.
Although one cannot make an application for an extension of leave to remain as the parent of a British child if the relationship between the parents is subsisting, the rules for an entry clearance application are different.
Immigration rules allow for an entry clearance application as a parent when the legal requirements for the partner route cannot be met even if the couple are a family unit and intend to live together in the UK. In a way, this application may turn out to be less onerous than the partner visa application, since there is no requirement to demonstrate income of £18,600 or savings of £62,500. The financial requirement is met by demonstrating that once in the UK, the applicant will not be a burden on the public purse. This can be demonstrated by the intention and likelihood of earning one’s living and sufficient funds for the initial accommodation and living expenses.
The downside of this parent route if compared with the partner route is that it will require an additional application before becoming eligible to apply for indefinite leave to remain. This is because our client will not be able to extend his visa as a parent if the relationship with the partner subsists. The extension application will be made as a partner and will reset the clock for the qualifying period for indefinite leave to remain.
Our client will be able to switch to the partner route as soon as the couple have sufficient evidence of two years of cohabitation, or as soon as they get married should they decide to do so. They will also need evidence of the required level of income in the UK, but mercifully this does not have to be the earnings of the sponsor.
We are celebrating the win for the two small children, who will now busk in the love of both parents, and their parents who can, at last, start their family life together in the UK.