The issue of sole responsibility frequently arises in visa applications where one parent is settled in the UK while the other one is living outside the UK and has no intention to come to the UK. Or, they may be currently living in the UK, but have no lawful status.


In the above circumstances, if the parent settled in the UK wants to have his/her child/children to migrate to the UK as well, the law requires that he/she should normally have the sole responsibility of the child/children’s upbringing.


Common misconceptions


In our practice, we frequently encounter the following misconceptions:


Some parents take it for granted that since they are settled in the UK, their children should be allowed to settle with them here as well.


This is wrong. In the scenarios listed above, the settled parents will only be able to bring their child/children into the UK if they can prove with evidence that they are looking after the child/children solely, while the other parent does not play any role in the child/children’s life.


Other parents will think that they can prove sole responsibility easily if they have been granted sole custody of the child/children by the Court or in a divorce agreement or consent from the other parent.


This is wrong as well. Unlike family law where birth certificate, marriage certificate or divorce certificate are conclusive evidence to prove the parties’ relationship, in the immigration laws, sole responsibility is an issue of fact. It means that the parents concerned will need to produce evidence to prove that as a matter of facts, they are taking the sole responsibilities of their child/children’s upbringings.


Birth certificates, divorce certificates and child arrangement orders are good evidence, but they are not conclusive evidence, which means that the parents concerned should provide more evidence to prove that they are taking the sole responsibilities on daily basis.


What the Home Office look for…


It should not come as a massive surprise to hear that what the Home Office look for in sole representative cases is simply traits in-line with that of a good parent.


Financial support will be one aspect they focus on, the ability to support the child in a monetary way. However, this is still only one piece of the puzzle.


It will be things that occur during the daily life of being a parent, things that should come naturally and not be difficult to conjure evidence for. Such things as looking out for your child’s best interests, like helping them get their homework done on time and taking a keen interest in any extracurricular activities they may take part in. Similarly, being in contact with teachers and attending parent’s evenings is also important.


As well as this, being in contact with any doctors that your child has seen, and taking them to appointments when they need them is also something the Home Office would be interested in. Not only this, but taking an active role in their health by preparing good quality meals for them, not letting them spend hours on their phones or playing video games, but encourage them to also read and study.


Showing concerns for the relationships that you child builds is also important, such as dissuading them from becoming close to dangerous or criminal types of people, which can become an issue in the teenage years.


Also, if the parent concerned is unable to do this, he/she should ask the grandparents or other family member to carry out such duties on his/her behalf and makes proper arrangements.



How can all this be shown in evidence?


You might be saying to yourself, “this is all well and good, but how can I prove all of this?” It is a reasonable question, as if you want to prove your case, tangible evidence always proves to be much easier. The Home Office is unlikely to accept the applicants’ word unsupported with proof.


Things such as messages via Whatsapp, WeChat, text messages and emails are a good start. These can be between the applicant and the child, or between the applicant and people associated with the child such as teachers and doctors.


As well as this, videos and pictures taken at events involving the child will stand the applicant in good stead. For example, showing them opening presents on their birthday, playing in a school football match, or acting in a school play. It is these types of things that the Home Office will be after.


If you think about it, this kind of evidence should accumulate naturally over time if you want your child/children’s application to have more chance of success.

Need advice? We are here to help!


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