As previously announced, the EU Settlement Scheme has allowed for EU citizens (and their spouses or civil partners) to have their dependent parents join them in the UK.


While this is great, there has been an air of confusion surrounding what qualifies as a ‘dependent parent’, and how the Home Office determines who makes the cut and who doesn’t.


Within the Immigration Rules the definition of a dependent relative is “the direct relative in the ascending line of a relevant EEA citizen (or of a qualifying British citizen) or of their spouse or civil partner”. It goes on to say:


‘direct relative in the ascending line’ includes a grandparent or great-grandparent; and […]


the dependence of the direct relative in the ascending line on the relevant EEA citizen (or on the qualifying British citizen), or on their spouse or civil partner, is assumed. 


This is not the most definitive guidance and leaves plenty of room for confusion, raising more questions than it answers. On the face of it, it seems that no proof at all of the dependency of the parent is required. This is the case in some cases, but in others the Home Office may require some more information before giving applicants the green light.


A recent change to Immigration Rules:


Some form of clarification was added to the rules on September 9, when the Immigration Rules were updated. They state:


the dependence of the direct relative in the ascending line on the relevant EEA citizen (or on the qualifying British citizen) – where the relevant EEA citizen or the qualifying British citizen is not a person under the age of 18 years, or on their spouse or civil partner, is assumed.


So, here we can now tell that if the qualifying citizen is over the age of 18, no evidence is required that the parent is dependent. However, where the qualifying citizen is younger than 18 years of age evidence will be required during the application process.


How about parents that have been granted a status but who are not dependent?


Many parents of EU citizens are being granted pre-settled and settled status by proving their relation but not showing evidence (or even mentioning) dependency. Certainly many of them will indeed be dependent on their children, and many will not. Some would be claiming dependency but would not be considered dependent by the Home Office, should they actually check.


If the Home Office did check…


If the Home Office was to start conducting checks on parents of EU citizens to see if they met a standard of dependency that they were happy with it would hypothetically be a problem for those who don’t meet the standards. This is because they would cease to meet the requirements of the rules on which the leave was granted. The September 2019 statement of changes made further amendments to be able to cancel a status on arrival in the UK or from outside the UK if the person ceases to meet the requirements of the Rules.


It is unlikely that checks of this kind will start happening. However, it is possible that people who are currently on pre-settled status and who need to apply for settled status later may be affected when they apply for settled status. The Home Office could well amend the Rules later to require all parents, grandparents and great grandparents, regardless of the age of the EEA citizen, to evidence dependency.


These are some of the things that the Home Office will look out for when assessing if someone is dependent:


  • are living in the same household and sharing living expenses, or
  • need the financial support of the relative on whom you are dependent, or
  • need the care of the relative on whom you are dependent (because of illness or disability), or
  • a combination of the above.


It remains dubious:

The situation is still unclear, and where the Home Office is attempting to make these processes easy to understand they are really failing with this one.


If the Home Office want the dependency to be genuine they would have to implement a way of getting evidence of it in a clear and concise manner. It would be a difficult task, but there is not really a way round it.


If there are any more updates regarding this or any other laws we will keep you informed. Be sure to get in contact with us if you require any legal assistance, you can call us on 020 7928 0276 or email into


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