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My wife and I are living in Brazil and intend to immigrate to the UK. We are trying to figure out what is the best way to obtain a visa for our child so she can move with the family.

My wife is a British citizen (by descent - she was not born in the UK) and I have an EU passport. My wife's daughter (my stepdaughter) is seven years old and a national of Brazil, born prior to my wife acquiring citizenship. My wife has not lived in the UK for three years prior to acquiring citizenship, therefore the child cannot be registered as a British citizen. My wife has sole responsibility over the child.

I will start a job in the UK in January and have a signed contract for full-time employment with a company in London.

My wife's finances in Brazil do not meet the minimum financial requirement for a child visa. My finances in Brazil are plenty sufficient to meet this requirement. My salary in the UK will also be plenty sufficient.

What are the requirements for the child to enter and live with us in the UK? What is the correct type of visa? What are the supporting documents? Do we need to meet the financial requirements and if so can my own income as a stepfather be considered?

Finally, can the child enter with a visitor visa and apply in the UK?

Please note that I have read through the HO documentation multiple times, even started an application for a child of a settled person but it is all very confusing.

Thank you in advance for any assistance.

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Because you have an EU passport, your stepdaughter should be able to enter the UK under the freedom of movement rules as your family member. In UK terms, this means that she is entering under the implementing Immigration (European Economic Area) Regulations 2016. This is much less expensive than the "immigration rules" route and requires no proof of financial means, although your right to stay for longer than three months depends on being "qualified." One way to be qualified is to be employed, so you are all set in that department.

As a Brazilian citizen, your stepdaughter does not need a visa, but she can apply for an EEA family permit. If she does not apply for the permit, she can fly with you to the UK and present at the border the same evidence that she would have included in an EEA family permit application.

To underscore that she qualifies under the freedom of movement rules, here is Regulation 7(1):

“Family member”

7.—(1) In these Regulations, “family member” means, in relation to a person (“A”)—

(a) A’s spouse or civil partner;

(b) A’s direct descendants, or the direct descendants of A’s spouse or civil partner who are either—

(i) aged under 21; or

(ii) dependants of A, or of A’s spouse or civil partner;

(c) dependent direct relatives in A’s ascending line, or in that of A’s spouse or civil partner.

Your stepdaughter qualifies as your family member under 7(1)(b)(i) because she is the direct descendant of your spouse and she younger than 21 years.

What are the supporting documents?

With regard to being "qualified," you will not need to show this when you apply for the EEA family permit nor at the border, because you haven't yet been in the UK for three months. The basic documents you'll have to show are:

  • proof of your EU nationality (passport or national ID card).
  • proof of your stepdaughter's identity (passport).
  • proof of your relationship (your marriage certificate and her birth certificate, showing your wife as her mother). This will need to be authenticated.

Do we need to meet the financial requirements ...

No.

... and if so can my own income as a step-father be considered?

Yes. Another option would be to sponsor her under the immigration rules. In that case, your wife would be the sponsor, but I believe your entire family income would be considered. This is expensive, and if I were you I wouldn't do it; the main advantage would be to avoid the uncertainty around Brexit, but it seems unlikely that EU citizens in the UK will be kicked out. It would be too unsustainable from a political perspective.

Finally, can the child enter with a visitor Visa and apply in the UK?

For the freedom-of-movement route, yes, though it's better to claim the right of freedom of movement at the border rather than trying to enter as a visitor (for Brazilians, a visa is not necessary). After arriving in the UK, in any event, you may want to get her a residence card; after Brexit she will need whatever document they're issuing as evidence of "settled status."

For the immigration rules route, no. She must have a settlement visa before departing to the UK.

How does the UK's impending departure from the EU affect this? There are basically two possible deadlines, depending on whether the UK leaves the EU with or without a "deal." If there is a deal, your stepdaughter should be able to use the free movement regime to enter before the end of the "transition period" (currently expected to be the end of 2020 if I understand correctly). If there is no deal, then there is a chance that she won't be able to use the free movement regime after Brexit (23:00 UK time, March 29, 2019). But as is often said, "nothing is agreed until everything is agreed," so if you can move before the end of March, you should do so.

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    @jfeferman perhaps, but I would think not. The EU directive and the implementing regulations both make no mention of this. (The directive also allows unrelated household members to benefit from derivative free movement though I'm not sure about the regulations, so that also suggests that a legal parental responsibility is not required.) To avoid worrying about that, you might apply for the EEA family permit in Brazil. This would avoid the stress of embarking for the UK with uncertainty about the legal interpretation. – phoog Dec 4 '18 at 17:50
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    @jfeferman I've added a paragraph about Brexit. – phoog Dec 4 '18 at 17:58
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    @jfeferman you have to accompany or precede your stepdaughter for her to be able to use the EEA family permit. – phoog Dec 4 '18 at 18:49
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    @jfeferman If your (religious?) wedding in 2013 is valid in Brazilian law, it should also be valid in the UK. I suppose it isn't, though, given your plans. But your stepdaughter should at least already be eligible as a member of your household. The marriage of convenience question should be asked separately, but I will say here that you should be careful, because the definition in the 2016 regulations is very broad: "a marriage entered into for the purpose of using these Regulations...to circumvent [immigration criteria]." – phoog Dec 6 '18 at 17:49
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    @jfeferman I suspect that a marriage of this sort would only count as a marriage if you have registered it with some civil authority (but it is certainly a "durable relationship"). If that is correct, it would mean that your stepdaughter is not formally a "family member." The "member of the household" criterion should apply, however, making her an "extended family member," but showing that is a bit more involved than for a "family member." – phoog Dec 7 '18 at 14:46

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