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uk visa for step child

Sponsor Step Child to the UK

Visa application for partner and sponsor’s stepchild

A partner (spouse, civil partner or unmarried partner) can apply for a visa to join their sponsor in the UK – a person who is a British citizen, or holds settlement, refugee status, Humanitarian Protection status or Pre-Settled status. 

These applications are made under Appendix FM of the UK Immigration Rules, which is notoriously complicated, but if all the right boxes are ticked correctly then the application should be successful.

The rules permit a child of the applicant to be included in the application. The child could be the child of the sponsor: such a child might or might not be a British citizen, depending on the circumstances. (Obviously, if the child is a British citizen they will not require any visa to come to the UK.)

But in other cases the child might not be the child of the sponsor; they might be a child from a previous marriage or relationship of the applicant.

In this situation the rules have additional requirements and the application is generally more difficult. 

For the application to be strong, the applicant must prove that he/she has had and continues to have sole responsibility for the child’s upbringing”. In a situation where the child lives with the applicant and the other parent is no longer in the picture this requirement is likely to be easy to meet. Even if the child’s other parent provides financial support for the child the application still might succeed. 

But if the situation is more complicated than this – for example the child is living with both parents – then the application may be weak. 

There is fortunately another limb to this rule: if the sole responsibility test is not met the applicant may be able to rely on “serious and compelling family or other considerations”. This is something that is on the whole rather more difficult to measure than the sole responsibility requirement, as it involves a strong element of discretionary decision-making. 

Experience shows that in “difficult” cases of this type the rate of refusal is high. There is however in the event of refusal the right of appeal to the First-Tier Immigration Tribunal, and there is probably a better prospect of success before a legally-qualified Immigration Judge than a Home Office caseworker, and sometimes a negative decision can thus be overturned. 

If you are involved in a case of this type we will be able to advise and assist you. 



Oliver Westmoreland

OISC Level 3 Immigration Lawyer


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