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Adult dependent relatives: 5 Common Questions

18 April 2019 James Ritchie Personal Immigration

If you are British or settled in the UK, and have a member of your family abroad who is in serious need of long-term personal care, you may wish to apply for them to join you under the adult dependent relative category of the Immigration Rules.

In this blog we will briefly answer the most common questions on the subject of adult dependent relatives.



1 - Which degree of family member can apply?

The relative is eligible if they are a non-European Economic Area national and either the:

  • Parent aged over 18 years;
  • Grandparent;
  • Sibling aged over 18 years; or
  • Son or daughter aged over 18 years

of a person in the UK who is British or settled.

2 - What do I need to prove?

Put briefly, the rules state that the applicant must:

  • as a result of age, illness or disability, require long-term personal care to perform everyday tasks;
  • be unable even with the practical and financial help of the sponsor, to obtain the required level of care in the country where they are living, because-
    • it is not available and there is no person in that country who can reasonably provide it; or
    • it is not affordable; and
  • evidence their sponsor’s ability to adequately maintain, accommodate, and care for the applicant without recourse to public funds.

3 - How do I prove that my family member requires long-term personal care?

Collecting medical evidence which confirms the applicant’s health condition will be the necessary starting point. The level of care is stated by the Home Office to be:

“a matter to be objectively assessed, with reference to the specific needs of the applicant. The level of long-term personal care must be what is required by the individual applicant to perform everyday tasks, in light of their physical needs and any emotional or psychological needs, in each case as established by evidence provided by a doctor or other health professional.”

Further it is stated that:

“The applicant must be unable, even with the practical and financial help of the sponsor, to obtain the required level of care in the country where they are living because it is not available and there is no person in that country who can reasonably provide it or because it is not affordable”

Essentially what is being said here, is that even if the sponsor has proven their financial ability to fund the long-term care of the family member in the UK, why can’t they use that funding to support them in their home country? Herein lies the root of why so many applications of this type are refused.

A successful application, therefore, must prove not only adequate maintenance in the UK, but also that care in the country of origin is either unavailable or unaffordable.

One may fulfil this requirement by submitting their application with evidence from a central or local health authority confirming that the level of care is no longer available, or, evidence of the unaffordable medical bills would suffice alongside an explanation as to why the payments cannot continue. 

4 - What does adequate maintenance mean?

In order to satisfy the requirement of adequate maintenance under this particular category, the applicant must provide documentary evidence of the care arrangements in the UK planned for them by their sponsor, of the costs of these arrangements, and of how those costs will be met by the sponsor.

5 - How long can my family member stay?

If the application meets all of the requirements for entry clearance, they will be granted indefinite leave to enter. This means there is no time restriction to staying in the UK.


The Home Office do not record statistics for adult dependent relatives, which is a category of the rules the application is made under, making it diffuclt to identify the latest number of successful applications. What we do know, from a Home Office publication, is that a manual review of applications between 9 July 2012 and 31 December 2015 indicates that of the 2,782 applications made, a mere 167 visa were granted.

As abovementioned, this blog is a brief look at the rules and requirements of a category of the Immigration Rules which is incredibly restrictive and often tough to fulfil. It is important to have someone assisting you who knows what they are doing.

If you would like more information tailed to your situation, we offer consultations and a full application service to provide advice and assistance on the best course of action to take to secure your position the UK, please fill out our online enquiry form.

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