If you are coming to the UK to study using a Tier 4 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 how to apply for a dependent visa, the amount of money you need to prepare for their visa application and what they can or cannot do whilst in the UK as your dependants.
Frequently asked questions
Please click on the relevant section below to expand the guidance.
Your dependants can apply for immigration permission as a PBS 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 publicly-funded Higher Education Institution or a 'UK recognised body' (University of Warwick is a HEI), 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:
- your permission is current or expired no more than three months before this immigration application AND
- your new immigration application is for a course that is longer than six months AND
- 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
- 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 a 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 Points Based System.
The Immigration Rules expect that both parents should be present in the UK, except in very exceptional circumstances.
As stated in Immigration Rules Part 8, paragraph 319H:
(f) Both of the applicant’s parents must either be lawfully present (other than as a visitor) in the UK, or being granted entry clearance or leave to remain (other than as a visitor) at the same time as the applicant or one parent must be lawfully present (other than as a visitor) in the UK and the other is being granted entry clearance or leave to remain (other than as a visitor) at the same time as the applicant, unless:
(i) The Relevant Points Based System Migrant is the applicant’s sole surviving parent, or
(ii) The Relevant Points Based System Migrant parent has and has had sole responsibility for the applicant’s upbringing, or
(iii) there are serious or compelling family or other considerations which would make it desirable not to refuse the application and suitable arrangements have been made in the UK for the applicant’s care.
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. 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 entry clearance to visit you in the UK for up to six months as a general visitor. However, please note that if a dependant enters the UK under the visitor category, they will not be able to apply to switch to a Tier 4 dependant or extend current leave from within the UK. They must return home and make a PBS dependant Entry Clearance application (providing that the meey all of the criteria set out above).
Anyone wishing to enter the UK for more than 6 months is required to apply under PBS for a dependant visa (ensuring that the meet all of the criteria set out above).
It is possible to switch to the 'Tier 4 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:
- Short term student
- Parent of a Tier 4 child
- Temporary admission or temporary release in the UK
It means, for example, that it is possible to apply as a Tier 4 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 it is NOT possible to switch from the PBS dependant route into Tier 4 from within the UK. You must submit an entry clearance application in such cases.
If you divorce or seperate after a dependent visa has been granted and the dependant travelled to the UK, you must inform the Home Office: https://www.gov.uk/visas-when-you-separate-or-divorce