Posted in United Kingdom forum
This may help some but not others but bear with me.
I was applying for my step son to join me, his mother (my wife) and two biological sons when we move to the UK. (I am British the others South African).
Initially we were refused under section 279 of the settlement application requirements.
Sole responsibility sounds easy to prove but it isn't so straight forward, its not sole custody as on many divorce settlements. You need to check out http://www.bailii.org/uk/cases/UKIAT/2006/00049.html as this is the outcome of the court case on which the legislation is based. Try and get you self out of the situation which the legislation is based on, once you can prove your case is different, then you will be progressing in the right direction. Unfortunately most of the cases fall into the same category unless you go into the fine details.
You need to show that the step child's other biological parent contributes nothing to the child's upbringing in some essential areas - Health, financial, religious etc, in fact all areas of their life. Remember if you have sole responsibility of all the important issues in the child's life, why do you need a letter from the other parent giving permission to go overseas? (which I was informed holds little weight by the ECO's any way). Think outside the box - include every instance where you have provided for the child and prove it. We supplied a letter from the GP saying how long he had treated my step son and who had been responsible for taking him to the doctors for treatment. We also included copies of ID books showing residential address was the same as the mothers, not the other parent. A letter from the child's school stating that they deal with you only will help. Birthday cards included etc is a small help but lots of small things add up to big help such as holiday photos with the child.
Fortunately for us the biological father lived in another country so my step son could not be left in his country of origin without a relative to look after him which worked heavily in our favor.
Including a letter from the local church helps to show who was responsible for the child's spiritual beliefs.
Of course include the full divorce settlement giving you full custody, but look at the clauses in it regarding visiting rights and maintenance money, prove that the absent parent does nothing to help the child in any of the listed clauses.
Don't Lie about anything!
If you still battle maybe try and get the absent parent to consent to signing the child relinquish of responsibility forms for adoption purposes. I haven't tried this rout but it would show that the absent parent wants nothing to do with the child.
I eventually managed to get in touch with a ECO who on face value was no help, but kept saying focus on the reason of rejection. In the end this was the most helpful piece of information as I went away and researched all the fine clauses of the legislation (all of which you can find on the internet) from the above website.
I included a covering letter explaining what every type of evidence showed, what is common sense to you might mean absolutely nothing to the ECO if not explained in the covering letter.
Another point is get the Step child's visa last when the others have been granted. This way you can include copies of the responsible parents visa and the other family members visas in the application to show they are settled in the UK. If the child's visa application is reviewed first then the ECO must assume that the parent is not settled - as required in the application.
Only when you have all the evidence together with an explanation of why / what the evidence represents put the application in. The ECO's are not there to rip you off or annoy you, they just need to be shown on the balance of probabilities the child has to go with you based on the evidence submitted. They however, have to assume that the child will be fine if left in their country of origin with the absent parent - so close any loop holes in your evidence. Part of the legislation notes that families might be split up if lack of evidence / incorrect submissions are made.
Lastly, don't rush the application and research as much as possible, hand in a well thought out and structured application (as if you were doing a business proposal to the bank). If you need more help it will be worth seeing an immigration company to assist or hire a immigration lawyer for help. ECO's and VFS are not allowed to help you.
I hope this helps someone in need.
posted by in United Kingdom forum
Sorry took a long time to reply.
we managed to prove the father was in another country by his passport visa and employment address etc. My step son was at that time under 18, and by all of his family living outside of his own country, to deny him a visa would mean leaving a minor too fend for himself as such this seemed to add a lot of weight to the application.
The outcome was a successful visa application.
posted by in United Kingdom forum
Thank you for this very important information! I am glad you reached success in your application and the links you provided are of a great help to clarify the requirements.
I am facing the same issue after my dependent children where refused to join me in UK (I am on Highly Skilled Programme visa) because I didn't realize that consent of father will not be enough. Now I want to prepare the required documents and reapply. Could you tell what was the age of the child and did the Embassy invite anyone for interview or it was enough to present sufficient documentation to be automatically granted entry clearance?
You also mentioned that the biological father lived out of country. Did you have any proof of this fact or the ECO relied on the information provided in the cover letter?
The reason of my concern is that sometimes it is hard to present documented proof of some facts that are in place and could be explained in cover letter. Would be very helpful to know how this was resolved in your case.