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 Tier 4 or Student 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 who is:

  • your husband, wife or civil partner, or
  • your unmarried partner you have been living with for at least two years in a relationship like a marriage or civil partnership

a child:

  • who 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 a dependant if they are not married or in a civil partnership and have not formed an independent family unit and
  • who 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 be lawfully living in the UK, with immigration other than as a visitor, 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. If you are the only parent who is going to be in the UK, your child's application may be complex and we recommend you  seek advice before starting it.

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 longer than six months, or
  • you are on or applying for the Doctorate Extension Scheme

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). 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 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, only money for them needs to be demonstrated.

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.

3. 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. 

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.

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. 

4. 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 BRP.

5. 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 need to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) as part of their visa application and will be eligible to use the National Health Service. 

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, 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 exempt from paying for health care 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.

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