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Adult Dependent Relatives

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For anyone who has established their life, career, and ties in the United Kingdom by becoming a settled or a British person, there may in many cases be an ultimate question of “how do I take care of my elderly parents residing overseas”. One would have hoped the route for your parents to join you in the UK should be easy and simple.

Regrettably, the UK Immigration Rules are at present framed in a way which makes the application process for elderly parents, often in in poor health, almost impossible to relocate to the UK to reside and be taken care of by their children.

As it currently stands the purpose of the Adult Dependent Route (ADR) is to allow an individual with ongoing care/medical needs to relocate and live with a close relative in the UK, provided they can evidence that as a result of either age, illness or disability, that they require a level of long-term personal care that can only be reasonably and adequately provided in the UK by their relative.

If the applicant meets the strict requirements for entry clearance as an Adult Dependent Relative of either a British citizen or someone otherwise “present and settled” in the UK, they will be granted indefinite leave to enter. This means they can stay in the UK indefinitely. If the relative/sponsor is present in the UK with limited leave, the applicant’s entry clearance will be granted in line.

Main attributes of the route

The applicant must:

  • Require long-term personal care as a result of age, illness, or disability
  •  Be unable to receive the required level of care in their home country
  • Have no one in that country who could reasonably provide the care needed
  • Have the offer of adequate  maintenance, accommodation, and care in the UK
  • Ha no pending criminal convictions



The applicant must require long-term help with activities of daily life (e.g., washing, dressing, and cooking) due to their age, illness, or disability. The evidence must show that they cannot carry out these daily tasks on their own.

Evidence could include proof that the need for long-term care has arisen suddenly, perhaps due to illness or a serious accident, or as a result of a progressive decline in function.

Further, the applicant must not have a person in their home country who can “reasonably provide the required level of care”. This could include close family members such as a son, daughter, brother, sister, parent, grandchild, or grandparent. The relative /sponsor in the UK is expected to provide evidence that they have no financial or other means to arrange for the care overseas such as other family members, friends or neighbours, or other individuals such as a home-help, housekeeper, nurse, carer, or care or nursing home.

Other considerations such as the circumstances of those who can provide care and their willingness to do so will also be considered. Relevant cultural factors regarding care will also be considered.  Unfortunately, refusals are not uncommon in this category. Given the restrictive nature of the ADR rules, only a small proportion of applications are successful, at least on first consideration. For example, if a sponsor can afford to maintain and accommodate their dependent relative for 5 years in the UK, the applicant may find it hard to demonstrate that this funding cannot be used to provide the required level of care in the applicant’s country of origin. In our experience the majority of refusals are considered or overturned on appeal.


Exceptional Circumstances

There may be cases where the substantive visa rules are not met, but there are “exceptional circumstances”, often of a compassionate nature. In these cases, the UK Visas and Immigration officers will need to consider whether Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights is engaged (the right to respect for private and family life), and whether a refusal would result in unjustifiably harsh consequences for the applicant.

As your legal advisor we can discuss all potential arguments and options available to you as an Adult Dependent relative, or as a relative/sponsor looking to bring a relative in need of care over to the UK. We can also help you to plan and prepare your application, providing the right information and documentation in support to maximise the chances of a successful outcome.


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