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Sole Responsibility and Immigration to the United Kingdom


Oct 25, 2021

We have often seen that some people who immigrate to the United Kingdom force the other parent of the minor children to relinquish their rights and responsibilities in terms of the minor children. They do this to enable the minor children to immigrate to the United Kingdom. It is, however, a very extreme step to take to enable a minor child to immigrate to the United Kingdom.


The meaning of “sole responsibility” was explored in TD Yemen [2006 UKAIT 00049]. As stated in this case:

The test is, not whether anyone else has day-to-day responsibility, but whether the parent has continuing control and direction of the child’s upbringing including all the important decisions in the child’s life – if not, responsibility is shared and so not sole.”

The court then further set out a list of considerations to be taken into account by decision-makers looking at this question; these considerations are as follows: –

Who has “responsibility” for a child’s upbringing and whether that responsibility is “sole” is a factual matter to be decided upon all evidence.

The term “responsibility” in the immigration rules should not be understood as a theoretical or legal obligation, but rather a practical one which, in each case, should look to who in fact is exercising responsibility for the child.

If it is said that both parents are not involved in the child’s upbringing, one of the indicators for that will be that the other has abandoned or surrendered his responsibility. In such cases, it may well be justified that that parent no longer has responsibility for the child.

When we submit applications where minor children and sole responsibility are involved, we submit the visa application and a full argument to the UKVI in support of the application.

There are also cases where a relevant parent does not have sole responsibility, but there are exceptional circumstances. These exceptional circumstances could allow the child to be allowed entry to the UK or leave to remain in the UK.

Contact us today to find out more on how to prove sole responsibility in respect of a minor child without relinquishing the other parent’s rights and responsibilities.


Breytenbachs Immigration Consultants have offices in London, Cape Town, Durban and Pretoria. You can email us at info@bic-immigration.com or visit www.bic-immigration.com. Our consultants can assist with all UK immigration matters, visas, permits, including appeals and reviews.

Please note that the information in this article does not constitute professional advice. It is provided for general information purposes without any warranty of any kind, either expressed or implied.

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