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

Information for if you have Student or Tier 4 visa permission, or you are applying for a Student visa, and would like family members to join you in the UK during your studies.

1. Who are your dependants?

The following family members can apply as your dependants:

Your partner, meaning: 

  • a person you are married to or in a civil partnership with, or
  • your unmarried partner who you have been living with for at least two years in a relationship similar to a marriage or civil partnership

a child:

  • who must be under 18 years old to apply, unless their most recent visa is as your dependant
  • who, if they are over 16, has not started leading an independent life
  • a child of your partner can apply if your partner is applying as your dependant

Your dependant will need evidence of their relationship to you for the application, for example a marriage or civil partnership certificate, or a birth certificate for your child. 

If your unmarried partner is applying, they will need evidence that you have lived together for the past two years, for example bank statements, council tax or utility bills, residential mortgage statements or tenancy agreements or official correspondence or documents that show the link between you and your partner and that you have been living at the same address. 

For child dependants, both parents must either be applying for, or already have, permission to be in the UK and that permission must not be just as a visitor. If the child's other parent is not applying, the child can only come as a dependant if:

  • you are, or your partner is, their sole surviving parent, or
  • you (or your partner) have sole responsibility for their child's upbringing, or
  • you can show UKVI that there are serious and compelling reasons for the child to be in the UK with you or your partner.

If the child's other parent is not going to be in the UK their application may be complex and you may need to seek advice before starting it.

For further information, read UKVI's webpage about Student dependants.

The UKCISA website has detailed information for family members applying as your dependants.

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.

2. Your study

Family members can only apply as your dependants if

  • your course is at least 9 months, full time and at postgraduate level, or
  • you are government-sponsored, your course is full time and at least six months long, or
  • you are on the Doctorate Extension Scheme

If none of the above apply, but your family member has already recently held permission as your student dependent, they may be able to get further permission, or you may be able to apply for them if they were born during your most recent student visa permission or shortly after it. For more information in these circumstances, see UKCISA's student dependant page

3. Financial requirement:

The Home Office expects there to be £680 a month available to support each dependant applicant, but only up to a maximum of £6120 (9 months) for each applicant. The number of months is calculated from the length of visa you have been or will be granted, including the extra time after course completion date added into your visa. If your dependants are applying after the start of your course the start date for the calculation will depend on the date they plan to arrive in the UK, if applying from their home country, or the date of the day after their current visa expiry, if they are applying from within the UK. 

If you and your dependants are applying at the same time, the funding for your dependants must be additional to the amount of money you need to have available for yourself. If your dependants apply after you already have your visa, then according to UKVI's webpage on student dependants only money for them needs to be demonstrated. Please check that webpage before you apply to make sure that advice has not been changed. 

If your dependant is applying in the UK and has already been here on a valid visa for at least 12 months, they do not have to show they have any funding available.

If you and your dependant are a national of a country listed under the ‘differential evidence requirement’ and you’re applying at the same time and in the same place, they do not need to provide financial evidence with their visa application but they must make sure they have the evidence available as the Home Office reserve the right to ask for it for a spot-check. If they need to provide the evidence the Home Office will contact them after they’ve submitted their application.

If your dependants do need to submit financial evidence, or might need to, check carefully that they are able to meet the requirements for the evidence by reading UKCISA's page on financial requirements for student dependants.

4. How to apply

If your dependants are applying from outside the UK

Your dependants will need to apply for a visa before they come to the UK as your dependant.  For information about the application procedure, visit the Home Office website.

Your dependants will need your course details and visa application reference number. They will not need a CAS from Oxford. The standard application fee for each dependant applying is the equivalent of £348 paid in local currency. They will need to book and attend an appointment to give biometrics. 

Depending on where they are living when they apply, they might need to arrange screening for tuberculosis

If your dependants are already in the UK

Family members in the UK may be able to apply as your dependants if they are here with visa permission which is not only as a visitor or short term student. For example they can apply in the UK if they already have visa permission as your Tier 4 or Student route dependant, and you all need to extend your visas, or if they have another visa type such as work visa but want to switch to being your Dependant. For further information see the Home Office website. The application fee is £475 and your dependants will need to book and attend a biometrics appointment unless they are EEA or Swiss nationals. 

Your dependants will be given visa permission with the same end date as your own. They  If your family members are EEA or Swiss nationals their status proof will be electronic and they will not be issued with a Biometric Residence Permit. 

Paying the Immigration Health Surcharge

Each dependant applicant will need to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge, to find out how much you can use the UKVI IHS calculator

5. When the application is granted

Dependants will be given visa permission that ends on the same date as yours. If they applied outside the UK, they will be given a travel sticker in their passport valid for a short period to travel to the UK where they will then need to collect their Biometric Permit (BRP) within 10 days or arrival, or as soon as possible following any required quarantine period if arriving during the pandemic. 

If they applied in the UK the BRP will be delivered to your home address by courier. 

If your dependant is an EEA or Swiss national their status will be granted electronically and they will not receive a travel sticker in their passport or a BRP after arrival.

6. 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 will be allowed to work, including in self-employment, without restriction except:

  • they are not allowed to work as a professional sportsperson or professional sports coach
  • a partner who was given a visa under previous Tier 4 student visa rules which was decided before 5 October is not usually allowed to work as a doctor or dentist in training although there are some exceptions to this rule. 

Eligibility for welfare benefits and National Health Service treatment

Your dependants' immigration permission will be granted subject to a 'no recourse to public funds' condition. They will not normally be eligible for, and should not try to claim, any of a list of welfare benefits. Your dependants will be eligible to use the National Health Service as they will have paid the Immigration Health Surcharge as part of their visa application. Family members coming as visitors will not be eligible to use the NHS except for limited emergency treatment and should make sure they have adequate travel or health insurance. 

7. Children born in the UK

The nationality of a baby born in the UK will depend on the nationality and immigration situation of the baby's parents. If at least one of the baby's parents is a British citizen, or has Settled Status (Indefinite Leave to Remain) in the UK at the time of the baby's birth, then the baby will have British citizenship and could apply for a UK passport. If neither parent is a British citizen or 'settled', the baby will not be born with British citizenship. 

It is legal for the baby to remain in the UK without a visa. However, once your child leaves the UK they would need to have visa 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 dependent family member before their return to the UK. 

For a baby more than three months old to remain eligible for NHS treatment in the UK, the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) needs to be paid as part of a visa application, for this reason it is advisable to make a visa application for your baby as soon as possible. For your baby to apply they will need a UK birth certificate naming both parents. It is possible for them to apply before they hold a passport if they are not able to get a passport quickly. The application form requires a passport number but if you need to apply for your baby's visa before they have a passport, you can enter a row of zeros, and upload a note explaining the situation with the other documents. 

8. Your dependants and the Graduate route

If you are interested in applying to stay in the UK under the Graduate route following completion of your studies, note that family members can only apply as your Graduate route dependants if they already hold a visa as your student dependant, or they are a baby born in the UK during the validity period of your last student visa.  This means that if your family members are outside the UK they will need to apply and join you as Student dependants before they can become your Graduate route dependants. For full information, read our page and FAQs on the Graduate route.

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