I’m Brazilian and moved to the UK 10 years ago with my mother. We are both UK citizens.

I was only 16 years old when we moved from Brazil. My sister was already 18 years old and our lawyer couldn’t get a visa for her because she was already classified as an adult. At the time, we were advised to wait into she could come as a student and apply for a family visa on the basis of her mother and brother already being resident. Our 'adviser' implied it could be easier (or maybe not) if laws don’t change.

I would like a advice on this situation please. Is there any chance for my sister to obtain a visa and live with her family in the UK?

  • @Raquel Santana Have you checked gov.uk/check-uk-visa? What is your sister’s situation in Brazil? Is she studying, or working? How does she support herself?
    – Traveller
    May 25, 2020 at 6:56

1 Answer 1


The law has not changed. It is essentially impossible for a UK resident, citizen or otherwise, to bring over a relative other than a minor (under 18) child or spouse.

The lawyer you spoke to advised you correctly. If your sister is not already a graduate, the best option for your sister to come to the UK is to study at a UK university. She would need to pay full international fees, which are very expensive. In this case, she would apply for a Tier 4 visa. After this, assuming the visa system remains broadly the same, she would need to find employment in the UK. The government has announced the reintroduction of the post-study work visa, for students starting this year. COVID-19 has thrown a spanner in the works, and this has not yet been legislated on.

If we assume this scheme is reintroduced, after her degree, she will be able to apply for a 2 year work visa. Following this, she would need to apply for a sponsored work visa. After 5 years on work visas, she would be eligible to apply for settlement, and a year after this, citizenship.

Since her ability to stay beyond the first two years following university depends on finding a sponsored position, she should aim to study a profession which is in high demand. A useful guide for such professions in the shortage occupation list. Aside from being in demand, these professions benefit from some advantages in the visa application process, although these are expected to change with an upcoming modification to the UK's work visa process, and there is also no guarantee that a profession will remain on the list from year to year.

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    It appears from the question title and the info in the question itself that the sister is now around 28 years old. Mature study is of course an option but coupled with already having family in the UK her age might make it harder to convince UK immigration that she is a genuine student.
    – Traveller
    May 25, 2020 at 13:21
  • @Traveller I'm not aware of Tier 4 applications being denied on the basis of the applicant not being a legitimate student, and I don't think that inference would be drawn from someone having UK family nor being a mature student. You only need to prove you have a place on an eligible course. Determining whether someone is a "genuine student" is essentially the job of the Tier 4 licence holder.
    – MJeffryes
    May 25, 2020 at 15:13
  • s30 Interviews assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/… “ When you make your application for a Tier 4 (General) Student visa or if you are aged 16 or 17 and applying for a Tier 4 (Child) Student visa, you may be asked to undertake an interview, either in person, or on the telephone to check that you are a genuine student.”
    – Traveller
    May 25, 2020 at 17:59
  • @Traveller Yes, that interview is used to confirm that, eg, someone else hasn’t taken the tests used to apply for the course in your place, and that your English is at the level indicated by your English test. Having UK family, and indeed applying to study in the UK because you want to be near them, isn’t evidence you aren’t a genuine student.
    – MJeffryes
    May 25, 2020 at 19:11
  • I didn’t say it was evidence. However the OP’s question does make it clear that the primary intention is to join her family, not to be a student per se.
    – Traveller
    May 25, 2020 at 19:58

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