Traveling with Your Domestic Worker to the UK—the Visa and the Steps

5 min


If you employ a domestic worker outside the UK, this worker can apply for a visa to travel to the UK with you—provided you and your domestic worker meet the strict requirements for this visa.

Domestic work is defined as “work performed in or for a household or households” (ILO Convention 189). Domestic work is therefore defined according to the workplace, which is the private household. Domestic workers provide personal and household care and Domestic workers include; cleaners, chauffeurs, cooks, nannies, and all those providing personal care for the employer and their family.

In the last 4 years that I have been practising UK Immigration Law, I’ve only recently been instructed by a wealthy client from Ghana to assist in acquiring a domestic worker visa for their nanny to enable them to travel with her to the UK for their upcoming summer holidays.

Issued Domestic Worker visa-UK

While the rules surrounding a “domestic worker in a private household” visa are a little complex, I believe a lot of wealthy Africans who would need the services of their domestic workers when they visit the UK are unaware of this type of visa. Therefore, this having been my first instruction for this kind of visa.

In fact, this wealthy Ghanaian client before contacting me had in the past wrongly applied for a standard visitor’s visa for their nanny—intending to visit the UK with the nanny and their children—and this had been refused as a visitor visa is not meant for domestic workers to accompany their employers to the UK and work (take care of the employer’s children while in the UK.)  

After the refusal of the visitor’s visa, my client applied for a domestic worker visa himself and this application was also refused, as it failed to meet all the strict requirements of the relevant rules under paragraph 159A of Part 5 of the Immigration Rules.

The client’s wife had seen a social media post popular Ghanaian television personality-Nana Aba Anamoah made on Instagram about me, as an expert UK Immigration Lawyer and then took my details to contact me.

After a telephone consultation with her, I took on their instructions to apply for the required domestic worker visa for their nanny to enable them to travel to the UK this summer with her.

The client, his wife, and children already have UK visitor’s visas—all they needed was the right visa for their nanny who lives with them in Ghana and has been working for them for about 4 years to be able to come with them to the UK for a month.

With COVID-19 affecting decision-making timelines of the Home Office, I advised the client that we should apply for this visa 3 months to their intended travel date so that any delay wouldn’t affect their summer plans.

The above turned out to be good advice as it took about 2 months for the Home Office to make a decision—and finally grant the visa.

The family is excited as they will now be able to travel with their nanny to the UK on the right documentation/visa–to ensure that their children’s welfare and wellbeing are well catered for, in a manner, they are familiar or accustomed to, and by a person, they have known, worked with and trust as a nanny for many years.

Acquiring Domestic Worker in a Private Household Visa

The precondition to applying for this visa is that the domestic worker (include Nannies, House helps, Cooks and others) must be aged 19 years or above, and must have been employed by the employer for at least 1 year outside the UK as a domestic worker.  

Importantly, the employer’s usual place of residence must be outside the UK—and the employer must not intend to remain in the UK beyond six months.

While it is irrelevant how much the domestic worker is paid by the employer outside the UK, it must be demonstrated that during the time that the domestic worker will be in the UK (working for the employer), he/she will be paid in accordance with the National Minimum Wage Act 1998 and any Regulations made under it.

The visa application fee for this type of visa (6 months) is currently 743.00 USD and my legal representation fee is £800 (fixed) as prescribed by Adukus Solicitors or £165 per hour (London grade 3).

Requirements for leave to enter as a domestic worker in a private household under paragraph 159A of Part 5 of the Immigration Rules

159A. The requirements to be met by a person seeking leave to enter the United Kingdom as a domestic worker in a private household are that the applicant:

159A. The requirements to be met by a person seeking leave to enter the United Kingdom as a domestic worker in a private household are that the applicant:

(i) is aged 19 years or over; and

(ii) has been employed as a domestic worker for one year or more immediately prior to the application for entry clearance under the same roof as the employer or in a household that the employer uses for himself on a regular basis and where evidence is produced to demonstrate the connection between employer and employee in the form of:

(a) a letter from the employer confirming that the domestic worker has been employed by them in that capacity for the twelve months immediately prior to the date of application; and

(b) one of the following documents covering the same period of employment as that in (a):

  1. (i) pay slips or bank statements showing payment of salary;(ii) confirmation of tax paid;(iii) confirmation of health insurance paid;

(iv) contract of employment;

(v) work visa, residence permit or equivalent passport endorsement for the country in which the domestic worker has been employed by that employer; or

(vi) visas or equivalent passport endorsement to confirm that the domestic worker has travelled with the employer; and

(iii) intends to work for the employer whilst the employer is in the United Kingdom and intends to travel in the company of either;

(a) a British employer, or that employer’s British spouse, civil partner or child, where the employer’s usual place of residence is outside the UK and where the employer does not intend to remain in the UK beyond six months; or

(b) a British employer’s foreign national spouse, civil partner or child where the employer does not intend to remain in the UK beyond six months; or

(c) DELETED

(d) a foreign national employer or the employer’s spouse, civil partner or child where the employer is seeking or has been granted permission under Appendix V: Visitor, except where that permission is to undertake activities listed in Appendix Visitor: Permitted Activities at PA 17.1. to PA 17.3.

(iv) intends to leave the UK at the end of six months in the United Kingdom or at the same time as the employer, whichever is the earlier; and does not intend to live for extended periods in the United Kingdom through frequent or successive visits; and

(v) has agreed in writing terms and conditions of employment in the UK with the employer, including specifically that the applicant will be paid in accordance with the National Minimum Wage Act 1998 and any Regulations made under it, and provides evidence of this in the form set out in Appendix 7 with the entry clearance application; and

(va) satisfies the Entry Clearance Officer or Immigration Officer that, throughout their employment in the UK, the employer intends to pay them at least the National Minimum Wage rate to which they are entitled by the law in force at the relevant time; and

(vb) provides a written and signed statement from the employer confirming that the applicant is an employee and the work that will be carried out by the applicant will not constitute work within the meaning of paragraph 57 of the National Minimum Wage Regulations 2015 (as amended from time to time); and

(vi) does not intend to take employment except as a domestic worker in a private household; and

(vii)can maintain and accommodate him or herself adequately without recourse to public funds; and

(viii)holds a valid entry clearance for entry in this capacity.

LAWYER’S NOTE

Chris-Vincent Agyapong Febiri, Esq

I am a UK-trained and based qualified lawyer/solicitor. I specialize in UK Immigration Law, Civil Litigation, Employment, and Family Law.

When it comes to UK Immigration Law, I mostly represent those coming to the UK to study, visit, settle or work–by representing them in their various applications, appeals, Administrative Review and Judicial Review.

If you need legal representation in securing a visa to come to the UK or overturning a refusal via Appeal, Administrative Review or Judicial Review, contact me via Whatsapp/Direct Call: +447837576037 or E-mail: [email protected].


Chris-Vincent Agyapong Febiri,Esq
I am Chris-Vincent Agyapong Febiri, a lawyer, a thinker, a writer and something like a legal polymath based in the United Kingdom; I hold 2 Master’s degrees in Law; International Human Rights Law (LL.M) and Legal Practice Course (LL.M) from University of Leicester and Nottingham Law School--and also a degree in Law (LL.B). I currently work at Adukus Solicitors in London--where I use my legal brains to kick real ass, for the good of my clients and humanity. Contact: [email protected] [email protected]