It's come to my notice that getting a dependent visa for a parent of an EU citizen for the UK is very difficult. Does anyone have any knowledge in this matter? I am a Portuguese citizen and would like to get my mother(who is Indian) to come and live with me in the UK because she is a widow and I am the only child she has. Can anyone help me or point in towards the right direction please.

  • You can get an EEA Family Permit as easily as you can show that she is dependent on you. If she is not, you will be out of luck. Is she in fact dependent on you?
    – phoog
    May 26, 2017 at 22:32
  • Dependent in what sense? If financially, then yes. And I am the only child so there isn't anyone else to look after her back in India.
    – user59683
    May 26, 2017 at 22:34
  • Financial dependence is certainly one criterion, if not the most important. I will post an answer, but I might not be able to do it before Tuesday. In the meanwhile, gov.uk/family-permit/overview.
    – phoog
    May 26, 2017 at 22:39
  • I've heard it's comparatively easier to get family visit visas but that is just restricted to 6 months at a time.
    – user59683
    May 27, 2017 at 14:59
  • 2
    Possible duplicate of UK visa for parent of EU citizen
    – Dipen Shah
    May 27, 2017 at 17:04

1 Answer 1


I am somewhat perplexed by your statement:

It's come to my notice that getting a dependent visa for a parent of an EU citizen for the UK is very difficult.

Citizens of the EU and of EEA countries can live in the UK under the EU freedom of movement directive, Directive 2004/38/EC, which also applies to certain of their relatives. This is supposed to make it easier for their relatives to move with them. What information do you have to indicate that getting such a visa is difficult? Is it said to be a result of legal or practical considerations?

In light of looming Brexit, let us start with the practical.

1. Practical considerations

A. Brexit

The UK is in the process of negotiating its departure from the European Union. Nobody knows precisely how this will affect EU citizens and their relatives living in the UK, but it is almost certain that it will affect them in some way. You should be prepared for the possibility that your legal status will change when the UK finally leaves the EU.

B. Administrative obstruction

The UK is notorious for applying unreasonable standards of proof to applications for EU relatives to move to the UK under the freedom of movement. With approaching Brexit, they appear to be redoubling their efforts to apply the strictest standards to those seeking benefits under the EU directive. You should plan to prepare your mother's applications very carefully.

2. Legal considerations

A. Dependence

In theory, it should be quite simple for your mother to join you in the UK. More precisely, it should be virtually as simple as it is for you to show that she is dependent on you. An excerpt from Article 2 of the directive, with emphasis added:

For the purposes of this Directive:
1. ‘Union citizen’ means any person having the nationality of a Member State;
2. ‘family member’ means:
(d) the dependent direct relatives in the ascending line....

For relatives covered by the directive, the UK can only restrict the rights of entry and residence as laid out in Chapter VI, "on grounds of public policy, public security or public health." This means that there can be no financial test, nor of your mother's language skills. The "life in the UK" test does not apply.

B. Other criteria

For your mother to qualify under the directive, you will also have to prove that she is your mother and that you are an EU citizen. For that, you'll need your birth certificate, properly translated and legitimized, and both of your passports. You can find a list of the documents you'll need at https://www.gov.uk/family-permit/documents-you-must-provide.

3. The procedure

Getting your mother to live with you in the UK is essentially a two-step process.

A. EEA family permit

For your mother to travel to the UK, she will need an EEA family permit. This is essentially a visa that allows her to enter the UK, but only if you are traveling with her or are already in the UK. In other words, she cannot use the EEA FP to enter the UK if you are in another country when she travels to the UK.

B. Residence card

After your mother arrives in the UK, she will probably want to apply for a residence card. It is not strictly necessary from a legal point of view, but it will make many practical aspects of living in the UK easier.

The most practical way of applying for this card is probably to submit the application in connection with your own online application for a registration certificate. The registration certificate is also legally unnecessary for you, but applying for it will allow you both to use the European passport return service so you can keep your passports while the application is being considered. The certificate may also prove useful as the UK leaves the EU, depending on the specific cutoff dates applied to EU citizens living in the UK.

4. Other options

Given Brexit, you may want to pursue getting a dependent visa for your mother under the "normal" immigration rules that apply to those who are unconnected with the EU. This would require you to show a certain level of income (currently £18,600 yearly), and it would, I believe, subject your mother to the "life in the UK" test. I do not know for certain, but I suspect that it would also require you first to obtain a Tier 2 or similar work visa, which may not even be possible for you as an EU citizen. If you are interested in pursuing that route, or at least finding out whether it would give you greater security, you should speak with an immigration lawyer.

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