Can you sponsor a relative in the UK?

Living in the UK is exciting as you can enjoy the rich culture and the amazing opportunities for everyone, whether you are going there to work, study or start a new life. However, if you’re going to this beautiful place alone, leaving your relatives and families behind, it can be challenging.

Fortunately, there are ways to take a family with you, either visiting or permanently staying with you in the UK. Although there are certain restrictions and eligibility requirements to meet, it’s possible to sponsor a relative to the UK. You can sponsor your spouse, parents, child, or close relatives, but it will depend on various factors such as your relative’s country of origin, your relationship, type of visa you have, and the time you spent living in the UK.

To make it simple for you to understand how sponsorship of relatives works, here are the things that you should know to get your relatives and family to live or visit you in the UK.

Rules and Restrictions When Sponsoring a Relative

If you want to let your family or relatives visit or live with you in the UK, you can sponsor them to get a dependent visa. However, there are certain factors you need to consider first to be eligible as a sponsor. You can sponsor a relative going to the UK if you meet the following requirements:

A Permanent Resident/ Citizen

The most important rule when it comes to sponsoring a relative, regardless of whether they are from EU or non-EU countries, is the fact that you need to be a permanent resident of the UK or a UK citizen. If you’ve been living in the UK since you were born, it’s possible to sponsor a relative to visit or live with you, but it can vary depending on the circumstances. On the other hand, you can also sponsor a family member once you’re settled and have applied for permanent residency if you’re not of European nationality.

Relationship Proof

To be a sponsor for your relatives, you need to prove your relationship with them through presenting documents. For example, if you’re planning to bring your spouse to the UK, you must present your marriage certificate and other documents that can prove your bond. The same goes for bringing a child and close relatives; you also need to submit certification proving your relationship with them.

Who are the Relatives that You can Sponsor?

Your eligibility to sponsor a relative to live in the UK also depends on the type of relationship you have with them. These are the family that you can help enter the premises of the UK:

  1. You can sponsor children under 21 years old, whether they are your biological, adopted, step-child, or they are your grandchild. If they are from EU and EEA countries, the immigration will require you to present their birth certificate, adoption certificate, or guardianship permit. On the other hand, if they are citizens of non-EU countries, you should prove your relationship with them through a residence card and other supporting documents.
  2. You can also sponsor children under 21 years old if they depend on you, meaning they need your financial assistance and care to meet their daily needs. In this case, the requirements are documents proving your relationship with them along with proof that they are dependent on you.
  3. If you have a wife or husband outside the UK, they are also eligible for your sponsorship as long as you provide the necessary documents proving your relationship as husband and wife. However, this can vary depending on factors such as the duration of the marriage or civil partnership. For reference, the required period of your marriage or civil partnership should be at least 1 year, and you’ve been living together for at least 2 years. You can learn more about this matter by consulting an immigration lawyer.
  4. If you’re still not married with your long-time partner, but you want to sponsor them, it’s also possible as long as you both have proof of your long-time relationship. For example, you can either present a residence card or a family permit. But if your partner doesn’t have the latter options, joint bank accounts, joint mortgage agreements, or joint utility bills can also be used.
  5. Your parents and grandparents are also eligible for your sponsorship for the UK if they are dependent on you. These include whether they are your parents or grandparents biologically, adoptive, or your spouse’s. Like other categories, you also need to provide evidence of your relationship with them and documents to prove that they are dependent on you. Once you and your relative meet the criteria, you can apply for a sponsor licence application.
  6. Other family members such as your brothers, sisters, aunt, uncle, niece, or nephews are only eligible for your sponsorship if they are dependent on you.


Sponsoring your relatives in the UK is possible, although you can’t bring anyone in your family since the sponsorship is only limited to your children, spouse, and parents. If you have brothers or sisters that you want to bring in the UK, you might want to advise them to get a job in the UK first so they can work on their own visas in the future.