What nationality is your father?
How long have they been married?
Where have they been living in the recent past?
This is a bit unusual, I note your mother and father married in the UK in 1978 and you state he has been visiting the UK ever since - does this mean that he has been resident in Nigerian ever since 1978 and has simply visited your mother during their marriage over all those years?
Right. He will have to return home in order to apply to reside here permanently. The are very strict on visitor's not making applications to stay her whilst they are visiting because the UKBA will view the original visitor's visa application as dishonest because one of the criteria of a visitor's visa is that you intend to return home before the expiry of the visa.
In that case he will need to apply for a spouses visa so that he can come and settle here. They will have to show:-
He will need to apply for settlement (ie. spouses visa) by using form Settlement, available for download from UKBA's website. It would be best for either a solicitor in the UK to prepare it in consultation with them before your father submits it to the British Embassy in Nigeria.
They can find Uk immigration solicitors through the following Law Society Website search engine:-
If he makes his application after the end of November then he will also have to pass an English language test showing that he has basic spoken and listening English skills.
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