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Bringing your Family Members

If you have a Tier 4 visa and wish to bring your family / dependants with you, they are only allowed to stay with you if:

  • You are a government-sponsored and your course is over 6 months long, or
  • You are doing a postgraduate level course for 12 months or longer;
  • On the Doctorate Extension Scheme (DES).

A dependant is either:

  • Your husband, wife or civil partner;
  • Your unmarried or same sex partner (to be unmarried or same sex partners, you must have been living together in a relationship similar to a marriage or civil partnership for at least 2 years and must provide evidence of this);
  • Your child or children (Children must be less than 18 years old, or if they are 18 years old or more they must already be in the UK with immigration permission as a dependent child. Your child / children must normally travel with both parents. If not, the main applicant must provide evidence that they have sole parental responsibility for the child / children).

The UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) website provide further information on dependants, which will assist you in finding out if your family can come and join you within the UK.

Financial Requirements

Your dependants will need to show that they have access to a certain amount of money, also referred to as 'maintenance'.

The amount of money that each dependant must show is:

  • £680 per month for the entire duration of the students stay up to a maximum of 9 months; or
  • If you are applying as a dependant as a Tier 4 (General) student who is on the Doctorate Extension Scheme (DES), you will only need to demonstrate maintenance for a maximum period of 2 months.

For example, a Tier 4 (General) student will need to show £9,135 based on a maximum of 9 months maintenance plus any outstanding tuition fees; plus £680 per month for each dependant for the full duration of stay up to a maximum of 9 months. The money must be held in the correct format for a minimum period of 28 days and must not drop below the required amount. Further details can be found in the Points Based System (Dependant) Policy Guidance.

For details on the type of course and the full duration of stay please check the visa granted section.

Sole Responsibility Requirements

Both of the applicant's parents must either be lawfully present in the UK, or being granted entry clearance or leave to remain at the same time as the applicant or one parent must be lawfully present in the UK and the other is being granted entry clearance or leave to remain at the same time as the applicant, unless:

  • The applicant's parent is the applicant's sole surviving parent, or
  • The applicant's parent has and has had sole responsibility for the applicant's upbringing, or 
  • 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.

Further information can be found in the immigration rules on family members (paragraph 319H(f)).

When can my Family apply for a Dependant Visa?

Your dependants must have Tier 4 permission before they can come to the UK, they can either apply at the same time as you, or if this is not possible, they can submit an application after you have received your visa.

Immigration Health Surcharge

Your dependants will need to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS), it is a payment of £300 per year for each Tier 4 dependant application and is paid for the duration of your total visa length.

For example, a Tier 4 (General) student who is studying a Postgraduate PhD course who is issued a visa for 4 years plus 4 months extra at the end of the course end date, the student will need to pay in total £1350 (this is based on £300 x 4 years, plus £150 for the extra 4 months) and if the student is bringing 3 dependants this total will increase to £5400 (based on an application for 4 people at £1350 per dependant).

More details about can be found in the Immigration Health Surcharge section.

Extending or Switching your Dependant Visa within the UK

Family members with current entry clearance are able to switch to a Tier 4 Dependant visa or extend their existing dependant visa from within the UK. Babies born in the UK can also apply for clearance within the UK.

If the main Tier 4 (General) applicant circumstances change, this will affect your permission to stay within the UK.

Please contact the Visa Support Team if you are concerned about your immigration status.

What Documents do you need for your Visa Application?

The following is a list of documents you will be required to produce for your visa application:

  • Current passport;
  • Recent passport photographs;
  • Marriage Certificate;
  • Birth Certificate;
  • Evidence of sole custody (if required);
  • You will need to provide your personal bank or building society statements, which need to cover a 28 day period immediately before the application;
  • If you are a sponsored student, a valid sponsor letter which meets the requirements set out by the UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) and may also be intended to cover the costs of you and any other family members;
  • If your sponsor letter only covers part of your living costs, documentation must be provided to show the remaining maintenance;
  • If one of the dependants is over the age of 16, you should submit 2 items from the list below confirming your residential address:
    • Bank statements; and/or
    • Credit card bills; and/or
    • Driving license; and/or
    • NHS registration document; and/or
    • Letter from your current school, college or University confirming your address. This must be listed on official headed paper and bearing the official stamp of that organisation. It must have been issued by an authorised official of that organisation.

The documents submitted should be from two separate sources and dated no more than a month prior to the date of application.

Further information can be found in the Points Based System (PBS) Dependant Policy Guidance.