This page covers advice about eligibility and visa application process to bring family as dependants.
Under the points based system, you can bring certain family members with you to the UK as your Student visa dependant, provided you meet the following criteria:
- You are doing a postgraduate level course (RQF Level 7 or above) of nine months or longer at a Higher Education Institution with a track record of compliance, or;
- You are financially sponsored by the government and your course is full-time and longer than six months, or;
- Your current or most recent immigration permission was as a student on a full-time course lasting at least six months long, and all four bullet points below apply:
- Your permission is current or expired no more than three months before this immigration application, and;
- Your new immigration application is for a full-time course that is at least six months, and;
- Your family members already have dependant immigration permission (or it expired no more than three months before the new visa application or is your child who was born since you were last granted permission), and;
- Your family members make the application for a dependant visa at the same time as your new student visa application.
***Bullet point one, won't be valid from 1 January 2024. To be eligible to bring dependants you must be completing a PhD course, Research based degree or other Doctoral qualification to be eligible to bring dependants***
Changes in the immigration rules
The UK Government recently announced that international students starting from 1 January 2024 onwards, will no longer be able to bring dependants to the UK unless they are coming to study Research courses or they are financially sponsored by the UK or an Overseas Government.
Dependants of students who started their course in 2023 won't be affected by this change. Dependants that are already in the UK can extend their permission if the main applicant is granted further leave to remain under the Student route.
If a baby is born in the UK after 1 January 2024, students are able to regularise the status of their child as their dependant where the child is born in the UK during the last/current grant of permission, in line with the current rules.
What should I do if I want to bring my family to the UK?
If you meet the criteria listed above then you will first need to check that your dependants meet all other requirements for coming to the UK.
Who are Dependants?
- Your husband, wife or civil partner
- Your unmarried or same-sex partner
- Your child under 18 years old - including if they were born in the UK during your stay
Entry Clearance applications (outside the UK)
- Read the points-based system: Student route guidance.
- Complete the online application form (If they are a national of North Korea each of them will need to complete a paper-based form). The application form is different for spouses and children, please choose the right option when you are asked.
- Application fee in local currency: approximately £490.
- Dependant’s current passport and visa and any old passports and visas used to travel to the UK.
- Evidence of their relationship to you (eg marriage certificate, birth certificate, evidence of subsisting relationship).
- The outcome of the main applicant's decision (if applying separately to the main applicant)
- An enrolment confirmation letter: You can request this letter from the School Office or download it from Evision.
- Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS): if you or your dependants are coming to the UK for more than six months you are required to pay an immigration health surcharge to the National Health Service (NHS) the cost per applicant per year is £470. **The IHS cost is set to increase from January 2024 to £776 (discounted fee)**
- TB Test: They will need to have a TB test if they are coming to the UK for more than six months and are resident in any of the countries listed on their website. Their test must be from a clinic approved by the Home Office. To see whether this applies to you and to find a list of approved clinics please see the Home Office website
- Your Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) number: The application form may ask for the CAS number that was issued to you when you applied for your current student visa.
- Financial requirements: You are studying in inner London so each dependant will need to be able to show that they have £845 for each month of your course, up to a maximum of nine months. If your course is for nine months or more, they will need to show that they have £7605 available. The money can be held in your or your dependant’s bank account. If the dependant is your child, the funds can be held by the child’s other parent, but only if the other parent will also come to the UK. The required funds must be in the account for at least 28 consecutive days and the bank statement should be no older than 31 days before the date of the visa application.
Each dependant needs to complete an application, their application will be linked to the main applicant’s form with the application reference number; this number is called a Global Web Form (GWF) or a Unique Application Number (UAN). You’ll find it in emails and letters from the Home Office about your application. As part of their application, they’ll need to have their fingerprints and photograph taken at a visa application centre. They will have to collect their biometric residence permit within 10 days of arrival to the UK or after completing their quarantine period (if applicable).
In-country application (Leave to Remain)
- Read the points-based system: Student route guidance.
- Completed online application form (either as part of your application form or a separate one).
- Current application fee: £494.20 for a standard application.
- Dependant’s current passport and visa and any old passports/visas used to travel to the UK.
- Financial requirements: If you are applying for permission to stay and have been living in the UK with permission for 12 months or longer on the date of application, they will automatically meet the financial requirement and do not need to show funds. If they haven't been in the UK for 12 months, each dependant will need to be able to show that they have £845 for each month of your course, up to a maximum of nine months. If your course is for nine months or more, they will need to show that they have £7605 available. The money can be held in your or your dependant’s bank account. If the dependant is your child, the funds can be held by the child’s other parent, but only if the other parent will also come to the UK. The required funds must be in the account for at least 28 consecutive days and the bank statement should be no older than 31 days before the date of the visa application.
- Evidence of their relationship to you (e.g. marriage certificate, birth certificate).
- Document showing you and your partner are living together (eg, a utility bill, council tax bill or bank statement).
- Pay for the Immigration and Health Surcharge (IHS) the cost per applicant per year is £470. **The IHS cost is set to increase from January 2024 to £776 (discounted fee)**
- They will also be required to submit biometric information (fingerprints and photo).
What is the ‘Differentiation arrangements’
The Home Office has introduced differentiation arrangements for students of certain nationalities that they deem to be low risk; the visa application process for ‘low risk’ nationals is simplified as they are not usually required to provide financial evidence.
However, ALL STUDENTS must still have these supporting documents available before applying. UKVI reserves the right to request any or all of these documents at short notice if they require any additional information, and they will refuse your application if you do not provide the documents by the date stated in their request. When you apply, you will be confirming that you have the required funds and you can provide accepted types of documents if requested at short notice. If you are unsure about meeting the financial criteria one of our advisors could check your documents if necessary, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
You are eligible for ‘Differentiation arrangements’ if you hold one of the following passports:
Australia, Austria, Bahrain, Barbados, Belgium, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei, Bulgaria, Cambodia, Canada, Chile, China, Croatia, Republic of Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, The Dominican Republic, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macao, Malaysia, Malta, Mauritius, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Oman, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Romania, Serbia, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, United States of America.
Dependants right to work
Dependants who are allowed to work can take any type of employment or self-employment, except:
- Working as a professional sportsperson, such as a sports coach.
- Working as a doctor or dentist in training unless they have a degree in medicine or dentistry from a UK institution or have previously been granted a UK visa that did not restrict their employment as a doctor or dentist in training and was employed as such during that period.
Children aged under 18
If you wish to bring a child aged under 18 to the UK as a dependant then both parents are required to be lawfully living in the UK. If for any reason you will not be joined by the other parent then you need to show that you have sole responsibility for the child. You would need to show that:
- You are the sole surviving parent.
- You have sole responsibility for your child’s upbringing.
- There are serious or compelling family or other considerations.
Babies born in the UK
If your child was born in the UK, you do not need to make an immigration application. It does not make your child a British citizen but it is legal for your child to remain in the UK. If your child needs to leave the UK, they will need to apply for entry clearance in order to re-enter the UK. From 06 April 2015 babies born in the UK are not entitled to free healthcare from the age of three months old, unless it is emergency treatment.
Students switching to Dependants of Skilled Workers
If a student wishes to switch to dependant of a Skilled Worker, must fulfil one of the below conditions:
- the applicant must have completed the course of study for which the Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies was assigned
- be studying a full-time course of study leading to the award of a PhD with a higher education provider which has a track record of compliance; and have completed at least 24 months of study on that course
If you wish to switch before completing your degree, the only option would be to make an overseas application in which you won’t need to meet any of the above criteria.