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

Information 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 spouse to whom you are married
  • 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 with for at least two years.

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. Once registered and an account is created, you or your dependant need to select the following options under “Select visa type”:

Reason for visit:Study
Visa type:PBS Tier 4 Student
Visa sub type:Tier 4 (General) Dependant Partner or
Tier 4 (General) Dependant Child

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 be able to apply from within the UK as long as they have a current visa for the UK which is not a Visit Visa.

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 your Tier 4 Student dependant becomes eligible to apply under the Tier 2 Work visa, they can apply from within the UK as long as they meet the Tier 2 requirements and their visa is still valid. For more information about switching visa categories see the Home Office website.

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. Tier 4 Dependants need to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) where applicable.

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.

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. 

For a baby more than three months old to remain exempt from paying for health care in the UK, the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) needs to be paid as part of a visa application, so you may have to consider making this application to ensure continued free access to the NHS for the child.