Dependants

Two geese and their goslings on the lake.

Useful links 

A dependant is either:

  • your husband, wife or civil partner;
  • your unmarried or same-sex partner, with whom you have been in a relationship similar to marriage for at least two years;
  • your child under 18 years old.

You can apply to bring a dependant to the UK if you’re:

  • sponsored by a higher education institution on a postgraduate course that lasts one year or more
  • a government-sponsored student on a course that lasts six months or longer
  • a Doctorate Extension Scheme student.

Parents and other family

Please note that parents and other family members are not considered dependants in the immigration rules for students and are therefore not eligible to accompany a student to the UK.

Renewing outside the UK

If you renew your Tier 4 Dependant visa outside the UK, you need to follow the same procedure as applying for a visa for the first time.

Apply

If you wish to apply for your first Tier 4 Dependant Visa you must apply through the British Consulate/ Embassy/ High Commission in your home country before you travel to the UK. 

Please be aware that each dependant will be required to apply separately from the main Tier 4 visa holder and will need their own original supporting documents (e.g. bank statements).  

Documents you will need

The online application form contains details of all the supporting documents dependants are required to submit with their application. Where applicable, these documents are the same as the documents needed for student applicants applying from overseas.

  • A dependant needs to show that they have access to £6,120 (£680 per month for nine months) for maintenance. 

'Low risk' applicants

If you meet the following criteria you do not have to produce financial documentation when applying for your dependant visa:

  • both you and the main applicant are considered 'low risk' applicants and
  • you are applying at the same time as the main applicant and
  • you are applying in your country of nationality (or inside the UK) and
  • the main applicant holds the same nationality as you. 

Applying separately to main applicant

If you do not submit your visa application at the same time as the main applicant, you should make sure that you include in your application a copy of the main applicant's student visa. Your application form should state clearly that you are joining the main applicant who will be in the UK as a student.  Dependants should be given the same period of leave as the student. 

Conditions for dependants

In most cases, if your dependant visa is valid for 12 months or more, you will be allowed to work in the UK.

Dependants who are allowed to work can take any form of employment, except as a doctor or dentist in training. You should check your visa stamp carefully for any additional conditions that have been applied. Dependants do, however, need to demonstrate that they are able to accommodate and maintain themselves without recourse to public funds and without relying on any potential future income in the UK. See UKCISA information for dependants for further information.

If your Tier 4 Dependant Visa is for 12 months or more you may also study full or part time if you wish.

Dependants are entitled to the same NHS (National Health Service) care as full time students. See healthcare for international students for more information.

See also our information on schools and childcare and living in York.

Babies born in the UK

Birth in the UK does not automatically make a baby a British citizen. The baby needs to have a parent with British citizenship, or settled status in the UK, in order to be born British.

If your baby is not a British citizen, it is okay for them to remain in the UK without making an immigration application. However, the baby will require immigration permission to re-enter the UK after any travel abroad.  It should also be noted that after your baby reaches three months of age, they will be liable to pay for NHS treatment.  Therefore, you are advised to apply for a Dependant visa as soon as possible after the baby's birth.  As part of the visa application process you will have to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge for your baby, but in doing so they then become exempt from other NHS charges.

An application for immigration permission for a baby, as your dependant, can be made from within the UK if: 

  • you are government-sponsored on a course of more than six months; OR
  • you are on a postgraduate course of at least 12 months.

In addition, you may apply for entry clearance for your baby into the UK from your home country if:

  • the baby is born during your most recent period of Tier 4 or pre-Tier 4 student permission granted for a course of more than six months duration (unless the leave was for a re-sit or to re-take a module for the same course of more than six months duration, in which case the baby can have been born during the permission for the course or the resit or retake); OR
  • the baby is born within three months of the expiry of your most recent Tier 4 or pre-Tier 4 student permission.

 For more information, see the UKCISA website.