Immigration Corner | Extending Stay With Family While In The UK

Author: Mr Bassie,

I plan to visit the United Kingdom (UK) on a visitor’s visa but I anticipate that I may want to stay for longer than the six months that I have been allotted. Is it going to be possible for me to extend my stay? I am hoping that you can advise me.


Dear TM,

Persons will need a family visa to live with a family member in the United Kingdom for more than six months. If persons are in the United Kingdom they can apply to extend their stay with a family member if they are already over there on a family visa.

If persons have gone to the United Kingdom on a different visa, they might be able to switch to a family visa to stay with their: spouse or partner; child; parent.

Persons might be able to apply to stay on the basis of their private life if they have lived over there for many years already, depending on their circumstances.

Persons can extend or switch at any time before their current permission to stay in the United Kingdom expires.

However, it should be noted that persons must live in the United Kingdom for a certain amount of time before they are eligible for settlement, that is ‘indefinite leave to remain’. Persons should also check with the authorities how much time they will need before they extend their visa. If persons are extending to stay with the same family member, they will only get up to 28 days left on their current stay added to their new visa.

How long it takes

A decision will usually be made within eight weeks if applying in the United Kingdom, unless persons use the super priority service to get a decision within one working day and within 12 weeks if applying from outside the United Kingdom.

Please note that it might take longer if the application is complex, for example, persons:

• do not meet the minimum income requirement

• cannot prove their 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


How much it costs depends on how persons apply. If applying with respect to joining your partner, parent or child and applying over there online, the cost is £1,033 and each dependent added to the application is and additional £1,033 each person. The same cost applies for an adult who needs to be looked after by a relative. Please note that persons might also need to pay the healthcare surcharge as part of the application.

If applying in the United Kingdom, persons can pay an extra £610 for the super priority service to get a decision within 1 working day. Persons cannot use the super priority service if they are applying as an adult going to be cared for by a relative.

Other ways Persons can stay

Just for completeness, there are other ways that persons might be able to remain over there. For example, persons might be able to apply to settle in the UK if they had permission to stay there as a partner when either:

• He/she was the victim of domestic abuse

• A partner died

Persons might be able to apply for ‘family reunion’ to join a partner or parent who has either refugee status in the United Kingdom or humanitarian protection in the United Kingdom.

It should be noted that persons can apply for an EEA family permit if their family member is from the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland; there will be no change to the rights and status of EU nationals living in the UK, or UK nationals living in the EU, while the UK remains in the EU.

All the best.

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).