How to Apply for Leave to Remain as a Parent

How to Apply for Leave to Remain as a Parent

It is possible to get leave to remain in the UK if you are the parent of a child who is British, has Indefinite Leave to Remain, or has limited leave under Appendix EU, or who has lived in the UK for 7 years and “EX.1” of the Rules applies (more on that later).

The rules surrounding this kind of visa are fairly complex and it is not simply a case of having a child who is British (perhaps because of their other parent). It is also important that you have contact with the child.

It is worth noting that if you are eligible to apply for leave to remain as a partner, you must apply under this route instead. You cannot simply apply for leave to remain as a parent if you also have a qualifying partner. We have written a separate post on applying as a partner/spouse which you can find here. For this reason, the requirements envisage a position where the applicant is separated from the child’s other parent. 

The requirements that have to be met if you are applying as a parent are found at sections E-ECPT and R-LTRPT of the Immigration Rules. 

The child must be under 18 when you apply (or, if you are applying for an extension under this route, they must not have developed an independent life). They must be living in the UK and be British, have ILR, have pre-settled status, or have lived here for 7 years and EX.1 applies. 

Please note that this article discusses the requirements for applying as a parent if you are already in the UK. There are different (but similar) rules for applying for entry clearance as a parent.

What Are the Requirements?

Onto the main requirements; either one of the two following requirements must be met:

  1. You have sole parental responsibility for the child or the child normally lives with you and not the other parent (the other parent must be British, have ILR, or have pre-settled status)
  2. if you do not have sole parental responsibility for the child or the child does not normally live with you, the parent/carer with whom the child normally lives must be:
    a) British, have ILR, or pre-settled status;
    b) Not your partner

Next, you have to show that you have either

  1. Sole parental responsibility for the child, or that they normally live with you, or;
  2. Direct access to the child, as agreed with the other parent or ordered by a court

You also have to show that you are taking, and intend to continue to take, an active role in the child’s upbringing.

There are also maintenance and English language requirements, amongst other technical requirements. One of the requirements is that you already have a visa (the immigration status requirement). If you do not meet this requirement, you will have to rely on EX.1. (see below).

Things can get a bit complicated if you are separated from the other parent and contact has to be facilitated by a court. Contact has to be direct, and you have to show that you are taking an active role in the child’s upbringing.


EX.1. of the Immigration Rules allows for exceptions to be made if you cannot meet all ofthe requirements in the Immigration Rules, for example the financial, accommodation, English language or immigration status requirements. 

Where EX.1. applies, you will have to show that you have a genuine and subsisting parental relationship with a qualifying child and, taking into account the best interests of your child, it would not be reasonable to expect them to leave the UK.

This is where things start getting a bit complicated. There is a whole array of case law on when it will be “reasonable” to expect a child to leave the UK, and each case is decided on its own facts.


Leave to Remain as a parent is an option open to many people, but the requirements are technical, complex, and not easy to understand. If you want to apply for leave as a parent, get in touch with one of our immigration law experts today.

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