Immigration Corner | I want to visit my child
Dear Mr Bassie,
I pay for my child to attend an independent boarding school in the United Kingdom and I would like to visit him. Should I apply for a regular visitor's visa?
Parents can apply for a Parent of Tier 4 child visa if the child attends an independent fee-paying day school in the United Kingdom; he or she is from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland; and that parent meets the other eligibility requirements.
Persons can apply for a visa up to three months before their date of travel to the United Kingdom and should anticipate getting a decision on their visa within three weeks. The processing times for this type of visa may vary, depending on the country from where the application originated. The guide to processing times may be consulted online.
The fee for a Parent of a Tier 4 child visa is £405, and this visa usually lasts for either six or 12 months. After that, persons can get extensions for 12 months at a time until their child reaches 12 years of age.
Please be aware that persons will be given a shorter visa and will not be able to extend that visa if their child is going to have his or her 12th birthday in the following 12 months, or if the child will finish his or her final year at school in the following 12 months. Persons must leave the United Kingdom when the visa expires in either case and are not permitted to switch to a different visa category. Also, if the child is staying in the United Kingdom without the parent, then he or she must make arrangements for the child's ongoing care.
As stated before, with this type of visa, persons are permitted to extend their visa for 12 months at a time. This is so as long as they continue to meet the eligibility requirements.
However, as previously stated, persons cannot switch into a different immigration category from a Parent of a Tier 4 child visa when it expires, get public funds, make their main home in the United Kingdom, take paid work, study, or put other family members (dependents), on their application. They must make a separate application.
In order for a person to be eligible for a Parent of a Tier 4 child visa, he or she must have enough money to support himself or herself and any dependent(s) while in the United Kingdom, maintain a second home outside the United Kingdom, plan to leave the United Kingdom at the end of the visit, and be able to meet the cost of the return or onward journey.
In addition, that person's child must be under 12 years of age, be studying at or about to start studying at an independent fee-paying day school in the United Kingdom, and have a Tier 4 (child) or be in the category 'students in the United Kingdom' under the immigration rules that were in place prior to 31 March 2009.
- John S. Bassie is a barrister/attorney-at-law who practises law in Jamaica. He is a justice of the peace, a Supreme Court-appointed mediator, a fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, a chartered arbitrator and a member of the Immigration Law Practitioners Association (UK). Email:email@example.com