Family visas -who is eligible to join my Thai wife in the UK?

family visas
  • Family visas – You need a family visa to live with a family member in the UK for more than 6 months. We are probably all aware that Thais have extended families and ‘sisters’ tend to actually be no relation at all and children are brought up by various relations whom they refer to as ‘mere’. Most of the time this is completely irrelevant until it comes to applying for a UK Dependants Visa after your Thai wife has got a UK Spouse Visa. In this article, we will look at who is and who isn’t classed as a dependent in the eyes of UKVI.

It has to be said that the rules regarding dependant relatives have never been overly generous. It is possible for an individual to sponsor their parents, grandparents, or siblings over the age of 18 but as a general rule, most applications are declined. The issues regard financial dependency so your Thai wife may have a strong argument with regards to applying for a UK Settlement Visa for her parents but even then, acceptance is rare. The reason for this is that, in most cases, the Thai wife is sending money back to her family in Thailand.



These are the only circumstances when an application for an adult-dependent relative would be considered:


  • Your Thai wife is a permanent resident in the UK or has British citizenship
  • The relationship must be proven which reverts back to the comments regarding ‘sisters’
  • The dependant requires long-term medical care and effectively can’t take care of themselves
  • The care is not available in Thailand
  • The Thai wife (and her husband) must be able to financially support the dependant without recourse to public funds for a minimum of 5 years

Only around 170 applications are accepted each year for adult dependents so your Thai wife should not hold much hope of bringing adult family members to the UK. Those accepted tend to come from the poorest areas of the world and Thailand does not fit into this category.


If you’re under 18 – Dependant children


You must:

  • not be married, in a civil partnership or living an independent life
  • be financially supported without claiming public funds


One of your parents must also be applying or have applied for a visa or to extend their permission to stay as a:

  • partner – and the partner they’re joining is your other parent
  • parent – and they have sole parental responsibility for you


The fact that you need to prove that this type of care is not available in Thailand can be quite difficult especially when hospitals such as the Bumrungrad are highly regarded around the world. In addition, it is well known that Asian families tend to rally around to look after the family and this is something that UKVI are aware of. Adult dependants in their older years are almost certainly cared for by family in all respects, through physical care as well as financially.


How to apply – Family visas


You’ll need to prepare information and documents to provide with your application.

How you apply depends on whether you’re outside or in the UK.


Outside the UK


You must apply online. You must also complete Appendix 1.


Apply as a parent – join children in the UK


You can apply to live with your child in the UK.

If you’re eligible to apply as a partner, you must do that instead of applying as a parent.

Your child must either:


  • be under 18 on the date you apply
  • have been under 18 when you first applied for the visa and not live an independent life


Your child is living an independent life if, for example, they’ve left home, got married, and had children.

Your child must be living in the UK. One of the following must also be true:


  • they’re a British citizen
  • they’ve settled in the UK – for example, they have indefinite leave to remain, settled status, or proof of permanent residence
  • if you’re applying in the UK, they’ve lived in the UK for 7 years continuously and it would not be reasonable for them to leave


If your child has settled status you may also be eligible to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme.

Here at Thai Visa Express, we frequently deal with applications for minors as dependents, also known as family visas. We can also assist you with an application for an adult dependant and we can give you professional and honest advice. However, it should be stressed that any decisions would be beyond our control and the chances of success are minimal. If you would like more information, call us on: +66 (0)80 102 2328, +66 (0) 38 420 313 or +44 (0) 20 8133 8059, email us on: or alternatively contact us via our website. We look forward to hearing from you and helping where we can.

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