How to apply UK Family Visa and how to extend or switch your visa?
You need a family visa to live with a family member in the UK for more than 6 months.
If you’re 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’ll provide long-term care for you
If you’re visiting the UK for 6 months or less, check if you need a Standard Visitor visa or Marriage Visitor visa.
If you’re in the UK
You can apply to extend your stay with your family member if you’re 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’ve 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’re eligible for settlement (‘indefinite leave to remain’) – check how much time you need before you extend your visa.
If you’re extending to stay with the same family member, you’ll only get up to 28 days left on your current stay added to your new visa.
How long it takes
A decision will usually be made:
- within 12 weeks if you apply outside the UK
- within 8 weeks if you apply in the UK, unless you use the super priority service to get a decision within 1 working day
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
You might also need to pay the healthcare surcharge as part of your application.
Get a faster decision on your application
If you’re applying from the UK you can pay an extra £610 for the super priority service to get a decision within 1 working day.
You cannot use the super priority service if you’re applying as an adult coming to be cared for by a relative.
Other ways you can stay
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
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
You can apply for an EEA family permit if your family member is from the European Economic Area or Switzerland.