There is no visa specifically entitled 'single parent visa'. It is an informal term to describe a change in the rules that became effective in October, 2000 that allows for the settlement of divorced/separated parents who have children settled in the UK (the actual name would be "limited leave to remain for a parent exercising rights of access to a child who is resident in the UK").
It is used mainly by parents whose marriage has broken down whilst in the UK, but is also available to a parent outside of the UK who has (and wishes to exercise) rights of access to their child. It is only available if the child is normally resident in the UK, and if the child is under 18. If the applicant is outside of the UK, they must satisfy the following requirements:
If the applicant is inside the UK, the above conditions would apply and they must also show that they have not been in breach of immigration law. Additionally the applicant would be required to show evidence of frequent visits with the child. Finally, if the applicant is inside the UK, a court order may not be required if the applicant can prove regular contact with the child.
If the child resides in the UK only part-time because of a joint custody arrangement, at least 50% of the child's time must be spent in the UK in order to qualify. If the child spends less than 50% if his time in the UK, the application may not succeed.
Applicants outside the UK require an entry clearance and would use the VAF1A General form to apply at a British consulate. Applicants already in the UK would apply at a Public Enquiry Office using the FLR(O) form.
If the application is successful, the parent is given a 12 month limited leave visa leading to indefinite leave (permanent residence) after the 12 months is spent. Indefinite leave can only be granted if the child is still under the age of 18.
During the 12 month limited leave visa, the parent is entitled to work.
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Reviewed 9 May 2012