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Requirements for a family visitor's visa

Published:Tuesday | May 22, 2012 | 12:00 AM
John S. Bassie

Dear Mr Bassie,

I enjoy reading your column. I plan to visit one of my relatives in the United Kingdom and understand I can apply for a visa as a family visitor. I would like to know what are the requirements for someone to get a visa when applying as a family visitor?


Dear S.W.,

Thank you for your kind words. It is important to note that a family visitor is classified under the immigration category of 'general visitor'. In addition, it is worth noting that only nationals of countries outside the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland can be considered family visitors.

In order to go to the United Kingdom as a family visitor, a person must be able to show that he or she will be visiting the following family members over there. The person must show that he or she is visiting husband, wife, civil partner, father, mother, son, daughter, grandfather, grandmother, grandson, granddaughter, brother, sister, uncle, aunt, nephew, niece or first cousin, that is the son or daughter of his/her uncle or aunt.

The person visiting as a family member may also be considered a family member if he or she is the father, mother, brother or sister of that person's husband, wife or civil partner; or the husband, wife or civil partner of that person's son or daughter. Also, he or she will be considered if he or she is the stepfather, stepmother, stepson, stepdaughter, stepbrother or stepsister; and/or a person who has lived with the person as an unmarried couple for at least two of the three years before the day when he or she applies for entry clearance.

In the same vein of being considered a family member, if a child is adopted under an adoption order recognised in United Kingdom law, then the authorities will treat them as if they are the natural children of the adoptive parents. If the above-mentioned categories do not include the family member who the visitor may want to visit then he or she should go to the United Kingdom as a general visitor.

In addition, the person applying as a family member must be able to show that, during the visit, he or she does not intend to take paid or unpaid employment, produce goods or provide services, including the selling of goods or services directly to members of the public. Also, the visitor does not intend to take up a course of study; marry or register a civil partnership, or give notice of marriage or civil partnership; carry out the activities of a business visitor, a sports visitor or an entertainer visitor; or receive private medical treatment.

The family visitor must also be able to show that: he or she is 18 years or over; intends to visit the United Kingdom for no more than six months, or 12 months if he or she will be accompanying an academic visitor. Also, the person must intend to leave the United Kingdom at the end of the visit.

Enough money

The applicant should also have enough money to support and accommodate him/herself without working or help from public funds; he or she and any dependants may be supported and accommodated by relatives or friends. It should also be shown that he or she can meet the cost of the return or onward journey; and that he or she is not in transit to a country outside the 'Common Travel Area' , that is Ireland, the United Kingdom, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands.

Furthermore, the applicant should provide documents to show that he or she meets the previously mentioned requirements.

If the applicant is applying from Jamaica then he or she will need to obtain a visa prior to going to the United Kingdom as a family visitor.

I hope this helps.

John S. Bassie is a barrister/attorney-at-law who practises law in Jamaica. He is a Supreme Court-appointed mediator, a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators and a chartered arbitrator. Email: