Discover your options and legal steps if your child is living in the UK illegally. Understand the process and find support

Child Living in UK Illegally

If your child is living in the UK without legal immigration status, addressing this issue promptly is crucial. This comprehensive guide provides insights and steps to help you navigate the complexities of your child’s immigration situation in the United Kingdom.

Understanding ‘Overstaying’

‘Overstaying’ occurs when a child either enters the UK without a visa or stays beyond the duration allowed by their visa. This situation means the child is considered to be in the UK illegally.

Actions to Take Before Your Child Turns 18

It’s advisable to regularize your child’s status before they reach 18 because:

  • Applications are generally more straightforward for minors.
  • It allows them to continue their education and work or claim benefits when they become adults.

Parental Status and Its Impact

If both you and your child are in the UK illegally, consider applying for legal status together. Success in your child’s application could potentially support your case.

If you are in the UK legally but your child is not, seek advice from a specialist immigration adviser.

Seeking Specialist Immigration Help

Navigating your child’s immigration issues requires professional guidance:

Contact specialist immigration advisers who can provide detailed, confidential advice tailored to your situation.

For preliminary advice, contact the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants (JCWI) at 020 7553 7470 during their phone hours for free, confidential advice.

Ensuring Confidentiality

You can be confident that any advice given by a specialist immigration adviser will be completely confidential, safeguarding your privacy during the entire process.

If Your Child Was Born Outside the UK

You may apply for ‘leave on the grounds of private life’ in the UK. This can be crucial if your child has lived in the UK for a significant period or has strong ties to the country.

If Your Child Was Born in the UK

For children born in the UK, there are various pathways to obtain legal immigration status:

Registering as a British Citizen: 

After living in the UK for ten years, you can register your child as a British citizen, which grants them full rights, including work, education, NHS access, and benefits.

Applying for Leave on the Grounds of Private Life: 

Children born in the UK can apply for permission to stay for reasons related to their private life after living in the UK for seven years. The success of this application may depend on the child’s need for medical treatment or to continue schooling in the UK. More details are available on the GOV.UK website.

Note that this permission might include a rule that stops the child from receiving public benefits when they turn 18. You can ask for this rule to be left out during the application process. If it is included, you can request to remove it later on.

Renewing and Maintaining Status

  • Renew your child’s leave every 2.5 years with a fee of £993 and an NHS usage fee, both of which are essential for maintaining their legal status.
  • Fee waivers may be available if you face financial hardship, which can be requested during your application process.

Securing Permanent Status

  • After legally residing in the UK for ten years, you can apply for ‘settled status’ for your child, allowing them to stay indefinitely.
  • Alternatively, if your child is ten years or older and has lived in the UK for ten years, you can register them as a British citizen.

Addressing your child’s illegal immigration status in the UK can be daunting but manageable with the right guidance and actions. Whether through registration as a British citizen or applying for ‘leave on the grounds of private life,’ there are viable paths to securing their future in the UK. Always ensure to seek specialist advice to navigate this complex process effectively.

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