Families punting on the river during Eights Week, Oxford
Families punting on the river during Eights Week, Oxford
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Visas for your family

If you are a non EEA or Swiss national who would like your family members to join your in the UK during your studies at the University.

1. Who are your dependants?

The following family members can apply for a visa as your dependants:

Your partner:

  • your husband or wife
  • your civil partner – a person that is the same sex as you with whom you have legally registered your partnership
  • or your unmarried or same sex-partner with whom  you have been living for at least two years (only if you have or are applying for a Tier 4 student visa).

Your child or children:

  • must be under 18 years old to apply, unless they are already in the UK with a visa as your dependant
  • can only apply as dependants if they are not married, in a civil partnership, formed an independent family unit or started leading an independent life.

For detailed information about how family members can apply as your dependants, visit the UKCISA website.

2. Requirements for family dependants

Family members can only apply as your dependants if your course is of at least 12 months duration and at postgraduate level, or you are a government-sponsored student and your course is of at least six months duration.

When applying for a visa for your dependants:

You will need to show that you have enough money to support their stay in the UK. The amount of money that must be shown when applying for a Tier 4 Student visa is set out in the Points Based System - Dependent Policy Guidance.

Your dependants must be intending to live with you and must not stay in the UK longer than the period of their visa.

For child dependants, both parents must be lawfully living in the UK, unless you have sole responsibility for the child's upbringing, or there are serious or compelling considerations that mean the child should be with you in the UK.

Family members who are not able to come to the UK as your dependants, but who still wish to visit you can apply as visitors.

3. How to apply

If your dependants are applying from outside the UK

Your dependants will need to apply for ‘entry clearance’ before they come to the UK as your dependant. Each dependant will need to fill in a separate application and pay a fee. For information about the application procedure, visit the Home Office website.

If you apply for a Tier 4 Student visa, your dependents will need to complete an application by following the instructions on the Home Office website. For information on the requirements for applying, see the Points Based System - Dependent Policy Guidance.

If your dependants are already in the UK

If you are a student at Oxford and your family members are applying in the UK to remain with you as your dependants, they may be able to apply by following the instructions on the Home Office website.

If you have a Tier 4 Student visa or were planning to apply for a new visa, your family members will only be able to apply for a visa from within the UK if they already have a visa as your dependant. If your dependent has any other type of visa, they will need to return to their home country to apply.

If you need to make a student visa application yourself, it will be cheaper for your dependants to apply at the same time as you.

4. While your dependants are in the UK

Registering with the Police

If there is a condition stated on their visa telling them to do so, your family member must register with the police when they arrive in Oxford.

Permission to work

Your dependant must check his or her visa sticker or Biometric Residence Permit to see whether they have any restriction on their entitlement to work.

If you, the student, have been given a visa for at least 12 months, your spouse and children will normally receive immigration permission which does not place any restriction on working. If this is the case they will be able to work either part- or full-time, or be self employed.

If your visa was granted for less than 12 months, or you have a Tier 4 Student visa and are taking a course below degree level and your dependants applied after 3 March 2010, your family members will not be allowed to work.

If your family member has been given a work restriction or prohibition that seems to be incorrect they should query it before they travel to the UK. 

Switching to a work visa category

If a Tier 4 Student dependant becomes eligible to apply under the Tier 2 Work visa while in the UK, they can apply from within the UK to switch. However, if they are your partner and you want to apply to become their dependant, you would need to leave the UK in order to do this.

Eligibility for welfare benefits and National Health Service treatment

Your dependant's immigration permission will have been granted subject to a 'no recourse to public funds' condition. They will not normally be eligible for, and should not attempt to claim, any of a list of welfare benefits.

If you are on a full-time course which is six months or more in length, you will be eligible for NHS treatment. If you are yourself eligible for NHS treatment, family members who are here as your dependants will normally also be eligible.

5. Children born in the UK

Your baby will not be a British citizen just because he or she has been born in the UK, unless one of his or her parents is a British citizen or has settled status.

You do not have to immediately apply for a visa for your new child; it is legal for her or him to remain in the UK without a visa. However, you should be aware that if you take your child out of the UK he or she will need to have immigration permission to re-enter, and you will need to decide whether to apply for this in the UK before you travel or to apply in your home country for your baby as your dependant family member before the baby returns to the UK.