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Dependants of Student visa holders

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More information if you intend to bring dependants to the UK

If you are coming to the UK to study using a Student Visa and you have dependent family members (spouse, partner or children), you may wish to bring them to the UK so that you continue to live together.

You can find useful information on:

Frequently asked questions

Please click on the relevant section below to expand the guidance.
  • Your dependants can apply for immigration permission as your Student Dependant to join or remain with you only if:

    • you are government-sponsored and your course is longer than six months, or,
    • you are doing a postgraduate level course of 9 months or longer at a Higher Education Provider with a track record of compliance (this is Warwick) or a 'UK recognised body' or,
    • your current or most recent immigration permission was as a Tier 4 (General) student or a pre-Tier 4 student on a course longer than six months AND all 4 points below apply:
    1. your permission is current or expired no more than three months before this immigration application AND
    2. your new immigration application is for a course that is longer than six months AND
    3. your dependant already has Tier 4 dependant or 'student' dependant immigration permission (or it is the most recent immigration permission that they had, and it expired no more than three months before this application) AND
    4. you apply for immigration permission at the same time as your dependant
  • The only family members who can make applications as Tier 4 'dependants' are partners and children.

    Your partner can be the following:

    • your husband or wife
    • your civil partner (civil partners are same-sex couples who have registered their partnership, to gain formal legal recognition of their relationship)
    • unmarried partner or same sex partner (you must be able to evidence that you have been living together in a relationship similar to marriage or civil partnership for at least 2 years)

    Your partner must be at least 18 years old when they arrive in the UK, you must intend to live together for the duration of your studies and your partner must intend to leave the UK at the same time as you.

    Children must be:

    • aged under 18 OR
    • aged 18 or over only if they are already in the UK with immigration permission as your dependant child. If your current immigration permission is not permission granted under the Points Based System, you must apply at the same time as your child for leave to remain under the Student Visa route.
  • It is usually expected that both parents should be present in the UK, except in very exceptional circumstances, or where one one sole parent remains.

    If both parents are not present in the UK together, you should provide a cover letter detailing more information about your family circumstance, with additional supporting evidence if appropriate. It will then be for the caseworker to apply their discretion when deciding whether to grant leave.

  • It is not necessary for a baby born in the UK to apply for a visa unless they intend to leave the UK and re-enter, in which case the baby must have valid immigration permission to re-enter the UK. Therefore, a successful visa application must be made in the UK and visa granted prior to leaving, as the baby's sole visa application cannot be made from overseas.

    However, if you have recently given birth or are due to give birth to a baby in the UK, then please be aware that their access to secondary health care (specialised hospital treatment) in the UK has now changed (6th April 2015). From the date of the baby’s birth, they are entitled to three months free access to secondary NHS health care. Once they are three months old, they must pay for any secondary health care they may need.

    Your baby can only access secondary healthcare by submitting a visa application.

    Therefore, we strongly recommend that you submit a visa application for the baby as soon as possible after they are born. This is so that the IHS surcharge payment can be made at the time of application, entitling the baby to access any NHS care that they may need after they are three months old.

    For more information about making a visa application for your baby, please see the 'how to apply' pages on the Home Office website.

    If you would like help making a visa application for your baby, please make an appointment with an International Student adviser.

  • Anyone can apply for permission to enter the UK to visit you for up to six months as a general visitor. However, please note that if a dependant (partner, spouse or child) enters the UK under the visitor category, they will not be able to apply to switch to a Student dependant visa or extend current leave from within the UK. They must return home and make an application for permission to enter as a Student dependant (providing that they meet all of the criteria set out above).

    Anyone wishing to enter the UK for more than 6 months is required to apply under for a Student dependant visa (ensuring that they meet all of the criteria set out above).

  • It is possible to switch to the 'Student Dependant' category if

    • you are currently in the UK under another dependant category under the Points Based System OR your current leave is 'Student Dependant' under the old rules OR
    • your current leave is not any of the following:
    1. Visitor
    2. Short term student
    3. Parent of a Tier 4 child
    4. Temporary admission or temporary release in the UK

    It means, for example, that it is possible to apply as a Student dependant after having been in the UK with Tier 4 or other types of leave, without having to leave the UK to apply for entry clearance.

    Please note that a change to the Immigration Rules in October 2020 mean that it is now possible to switch from Tier 4 Dependant/Student Dependant leave into the Student Route while inside the UK; this was previously not possible.

  • If you divorce or separate after a dependent visa has been granted and the dependant has travelled to the UK, you must inform the Home Office: