To be separated from your family for a long time is one of the hardest and most heart-breaking ordeals a person can go through. This is heightened when it is a parent who is separated from their child, with hardly any means of reuniting.


Even when the child grows to be almost 18, in the eyes of the parent they are still there to be taken care of and made safe. Yet, in the eyes of the Home Office this is not the case. This means that in a case where a parent is applying for their child to come to the UK in order to be reunited, once that child turns 18 the chances of success plummet like a lead balloon. Time is truly of the essence.


We recently had a case where a parent wanted to have his child come to the UK after years of separation, and it was made all the more urgent by the imminent 18th birthday of said child.


The case in question:


In order to keep the identity of our client’s private, we will call the father in this case Paul and his son James.


Paul holds a formal refugee status in the UK and claims to have come to the UK initially as a victim of human trafficking. When he first arrived he applied for refugee status and mentioned in his application that he had a child back in his home country of the Philippines. This application was never replied to.


After waiting for about two years, Paul submitted the application again, and after several years of waiting, was confirmed by the Home Office to be a victim of human trafficking. After this was confirmed, he received official refugee status.


After 10 years of living in the UK, Paul was granted settled status and his main priority now is getting his son to the UK so they can finally be together again.


The 10 year wait:


Before getting the official settled status, Paul did not dare to leave the United Kingdom for fear that it would affect his application in a negative way. This means the separation between the father and the son lasted for more than 10 years.


Of course while Paul was in the UK, James was back in the Philippines growing up. So much time flew past that the boy who was separated from his father all those years ago is now nearly a man in the eyes of the law; his 18th birthday only a couple of months away.


What occurred?


Throughout this 10 year period, James lived in the Philippines with his grandparents (the parents of Paul, his mother sadly passed away many years ago). While the grandparents enjoyed taking care of James, they are growing old themselves and may need care in the future.


Paul sent money back to James in order to support him, and they frequently spoke on the phone and through text message. Paul gave advice and always had a major input in every decision regarding James’ upbringing.


Proof and circumstances:


Taking into consideration the above, there are some key elements present that point to this case being successful, and that can be seen as guidelines for others looking to pursue a similar cause.


For example: Although Paul and James have not lived together for a long time, Paul still has the responsibility to support his James and must have an ‘active role’ in his life – considering the case under the ‘sole responsibility aspect’.


So, Paul must provide sufficient evidence to prove that James’ financial stability and direction of education etc. is very much in Paul’s control. This can be done by looking at bank transfers, transcripts of conversations, copies of texts and emails between Paul and James, the grandparents and James’ teachers back in the Philippines.


All this shows Paul’s concern with the development of James, meaning he is active in the child’s life.


Another circumstance is the ageing of James’ grandparents who currently look after him. This becomes a factor in favour of James coming to the UK, as soon they will be too old to take care of him effectively.


All-important DNA test


For this case we felt that it was necessary to prove a blood relation between the two parties, so we arranged James and Paul to have their DNA taken and compared, so that the Home Office could have no doubt of their relation.


It is important to note that the Home Office only accepts DNA results from endorsed DNA testing facilities. The list is always being updated, which you can see here:




After all of the above was taken into consideration, and the positive results were sent back from the DNA facility we are pleased to report that the application was approved and Paul and James have been happily reunited!


What can we learn from this case?


Through this case, we can know that often there is much complexity and difficulty involved in cases of this nature.


Especially in the very critical situations (for instance in this case, the child is about to turn 18 years old), you need to be cautious in preparing for such applications, and strike while there is still time to make a difference.


If the applicant is experiencing any uncertainty when preparing for an application, it is best to contact and consult a professional lawyer as early as possible, and try to give themselves enough time to prepare; this will also be more helpful for the lawyers who take the case on.


Contact us!


If you are interested in cases such as this, or just want to have a chat about any legal issue whatsoever, please do not hesitate to get in contact with us on 020 7928 0276 or email in to


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