K M Enayet Hossain
18 November, 2022

7 min read

Guide

How to apply: student Dependant visa for UK

Applying for a student dependant Visa: who are classified as Dependants, what are the eligibility requirements for student dependant visa, money they need to support themselves and documents you will need to submit.

Some international students can have their family with them in the UK (may be able to apply to come to the UK or stay longer in the UK.) as their dependants. There are specific rules on who can bring dependants to the UK or keep their dependants in the UK and the requirements they need to meet. Dependants can apply at the same time as student (if applying together in the same country) or they can apply after student has been issued with visa.

Which students can have dependants?

International students can have dependants in the UK if they:

  • are doing a postgraduate level (RQF level 7 or above) full-time course of 9 months or longer at a 'higher education provider' with a 'track record of compliance'
  • a new government-sponsored student on a course that lasts longer than 6 months
  • are not a child student

Relationship to student - who is a dependant?

Partner

  • Spouse i.e. husband or wife 
  • Civil partner. Civil partners' are same-sex or opposite-sex couples who have registered their partnership and who have thereby gained formal legal recognition of their relationship
  • Unmarried partner or same-sex partner. In both cases, you need to have been living together in a relationship similar to marriage or civil partnership for a period of at least two years before you make your immigration application. You need to provide evidence of this

Requirements

  • student and partner both must be at least 18 years old when applying for visa
  • student and partner both must intend to live together throughout the visa
  • the partner must not intend to stay in the UK longer than the period you are given

Child or children

If your child is applying to come to the UK as your Student dependant for the first time, they must

  • be younger than 18 years old when they apply
  • not intend to stay in the UK longer than the period you are given
  • meet strict financial requirements
  • not have formed an independent family unit or be leading an independent life, and they must not intend to do so in the UK

They will not be considered to be living and independent life if they

  • do not have a spouse, civil partner or unmarried partner, and
  • live with their parents, except where they are living away from the family home due to academic endeavours e.g. attending boarding school or university, and
  • are not employed full-time (unless aged 18 years or over), and
  • are wholly or mainly dependent upon their parents for financial support (unless aged 18 years or over), and
  • are wholly or mainly dependent upon their parents for emotional support

Child born while student in the UK

It is not necessary to apply for a dependant visa for a child born in the UK; it is quite lawful for the child to remain in the UK without making a visa application. However, if the child travels abroad, they will require immigration permission to re-enter the UK. In addition, children born in the UK are able to use the NHS free of charge until they are 3 months old. After 3 months, charges may apply for NHS treatment unless a dependant visa has been obtained. If the child has dependant visa immigration health surcharge paid with visa application would cover the NHS treatment charges.

You must apply for your child’s dependant visa if you want to travel in and out of the UK with them. The form you fill in depends on if

You will need to provide a full UK birth certificate for each child, showing the names of both parents.

You must apply for their dependant visa before they turn 18 if they want to stay in the UK.

Child dependants - additional rules

Students can only bring children to the UK as dependants if both parents are applying and coming to the UK at the same time with the child or if the child is applying later, both parents must be in the UK for the child to live with them. The student’s partner must come to the UKas a student dependant, not as a visitor. This means that if your spouse/partner is going to remain living outside the UK, your children cannot join you in the UK unless

  • you are the only parent
  • the child's other parent is dead
  • you have ‘sole responsibility’ for the child
  • there are serious compelling reasons preventing your partner from living with you in the UK and you have made suitable arrangements for your child’s care in the UK

If you are relying on any of the above exceptions, it is important your child includes evidence of the exception with their visa application. This could include, for example, death certificates or divorce certificates etc.

Financial requirements – money required for student dependant visa application

In addition to the money you must have money to pay for your course and support yourself, your partner and child/children must each have a certain amount of money available to them to support themselves. Each dependant must have either 

  • £845 a month (for up to 9 months), a maximum figure of £7,605 for courses in London
  • £680 a month (for up to 9 months), a maximum figure of £6,120 for courses in London

If you have a study loan or financial sponsorship, you’ll need to provide evidence of this from your loan or official financial sponsorship company/organisation. If your loan or official financial sponsorship does not cover your partner or child/children, you’ll need to prove you have money to support them from your own financial means.

Your partner or child does not need to prove they have money to support themselves if

  • they’ve been in the UK with a valid visa for at least 12 months
  • you and your partner or child are from a country listed under the ‘differential evidence requirement’ and you’re applying at the same time and you’re applying for permission in your country of nationality, the country you are living in, or in the UK

However, they might be asked to provide this evidence before they get a decision on their application. If they do need to provide it, they’ll be contacted by UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) after they’ve submitted their application.

Financial evidence requirements – student dependant

Dependants of a student can rely on the following as evidence of funds available to them to meet the financial requirement

  • bank account or building society statements that meet the requirements
  • a study loan letter from an authorised financial company  of the Student that states the sponsorship will also cover living costs for the Student’s dependants and which names those dependants
  • a sponsorship letter from an official financial sponsor of the Student that states the sponsorship will also cover living costs for the Student’s dependants and which names those dependants

Document requirements: student dependant visa application

Proof of relationship for dependant partners

  • a valid document providing record of the marriage or civil partnership such as a marriage or civil partnership certificate
  • a valid overseas registration document for a same-sex relationship which is entitled to be treated as a civil partnership under the Civil Partnership Act of 2004

If the Student and the person applying as a dependant partner are not married or in a civil partnership, they can demonstrate a genuine and subsisting relationship by providing evidence they have lived together for 2 years. This can include if the Student and the person applying as a dependant partner are not married or in a civil partnership, they can demonstrate a genuine and subsisting relationship by providing evidence they have lived together for 2 years. This can include

  • bank statements, council tax, or utility bills
  • residential mortgage statements or tenancy agreements
  • official correspondence or documents that link the Student and their partner and show they are living at the same address

This is not an exhaustive list and other documents can be used to demonstrate that a relationship is genuine and subsisting.

Proof of relationship for dependant children

  • a full birth certificate
  • a court order such as a special guardianship order
  • a government issued household registration certificate

The above list is not exhaustive as other forms of documentation can be used to demonstrate that the dependant child is a child of the Student or the dependant partner of a Student.

Document requirements for 16 or 17 years old children

If your child is 16 or 17 on the date you apply you’ll need to prove they are not living an independent life. 

If they are not living with you, you will need to prove

  • where they live - if they do not live with you, you’ll need to explain why
  • any rent or upkeep they pay you each month
  • that you support them financially if they do not live with you

If they are living with you, you will need to provide 2 of the following documents confirming their name and address 

  • a bank statement
  • credit card bills
  • driving licence
  • NHS registration document
  • an official letter from their university or college

If a dependent child pays rent or board, they must evidence the amount they pay each month.

If a dependent child is not living with the family unit due to attending school, college or university, they will need to provide further evidence to prove that the child is not leading an independent life.

If the dependent child is living at a separate address, they must prove that this is due to study elsewhere with evidence including

  • official confirmation of their studies from their school, college or university
  • evidence that they are being financially supported by their parents up to the point they are applying (for example, evidence covering a 3-month period prior to the application)

Child dependant aged 18 or over

Child dependant who is 18 years old or over on the date of the application will be granted visa if

  • they are not leading an independent life
  • they are making an application for permission as a dependant of their parent or parents having last held permission as a dependant of their parent or parents

If the dependant is aged 18 or over when they make their first application i.e. entry clearance (was not on a dependant visa of their parent or parents before turning to 18), the application will be refused. 

Student dependant – apply outside the UK

Student dependants must apply for 'entry clearance' from the country in which they are legally residing before they travel to the UK. Each dependant must complete a separate application form, and pay visa application fee and IHS fee. They need to apply online (unless they are applying in North Korea, in which case they need to print off and fill in application form VAF10).

They will need your Unique Application Number (UAN) or Global Web Form (GWF) number - you get it on the complete application form when downloaded after you apply. They will need to know your course details and Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies’ (CAS) number in order to complete the application form.

As part of their application, they will need to have their biometric fingerprints and photograph taken at their chosen Visa Application Centre (VAC), they will be asked to make an appointment for this via the VFS (Visa Facilitation Services) Global or TLScontact services at the time of the online visa application. They will also need to submit their supporting documents which they can

  • upload them into the VFS or TLScontact online service
  • have them scanned at their VFS Global or TLScontact appointment in the chosen VAC

If their application is successful, their visa will end on the same date as yours.

Note: They must not travel outside of the UK, Ireland, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man until they get a decision on their visa application. Otherwise, their application will be withdrawn.

Student dependant – how to apply from outside the UK

Student dependants (partner and children) must apply for their visas online – find relevant online application links below

Student dependant – apply inside the UK to extend or switch

Your partner or children (including children who have turned 18 during your stay) can apply to extend or switch their visa either

Your partner or child cannot apply to switch in the UK if they have one of the following visas

  • a visit visa
  • a short-term student visa
  • a Parent of a Child Student visa
  • a seasonal worker visa
  • a domestic worker in a private household visa

Student dependant – how to apply from inside the UK

Student dependants (partner and children) must apply for their visas online – find relevant online application links below

Each applicant will need to pay visa application fee of £490 and applicable Immigration Health Surcharge


Guide information sources: UKCISA & Home Office

Disclaimer: This article has been written to provide guidelines only to prepare international students throughout the admission and visa application process – there has been no attempt or intention to provide any Immigration Advice. If you require immigration advice, you must seek this from an OISC (Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner) regulated adviser or company. To find an immigration adviser, please check here at GOV.UK

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)s

Q How long the student dependant visa is granted for?

A If granted, student dependants will be granted a visa valid for the same period as the student visa holder.

Q Can my dependants who are in the UK on visitor visa or short-term student visa or short-term student (child) visa switch to student dependant visa inside the UK?

A If your dependant has immigration permission to be in the UK as a visitor, short-term student or short-term student (child), they must return home to apply for student dependant 'entry clearance' from the British authorities in their country of lawful residence, before travelling back to the UK with that entry clearance.

Q Are student dependants allowed to work in the UK?

A Yes, dependants of students will be able to work full-time without restrictions (including self-employment), if you are either

  • in receipt of an award from a Government and taking a full-time course that is at least six months OR
  • taking a full-time postgraduate course of 9 months or longer at a 'higher education provider' with 'a track record of compliance'

If you do not fall into one of the categories described above, your dependants will be able to work only if you are applying for permission of 9 months or more and your full-time course is at degree level or above.

Dependants will also be able to work if you're applying for Student permission of less than 9 months to continue study on course for which you were previously granted permission of 9 months or more.

Dependants who are permitted to work can do any type of work, but:

  • they must not work as a professional sportsperson, which includes being a sports coach
  • they must not work as a doctor or dentist in training in training if granted the dependant permission prior to 5 October 2020 (unless they have a degree in medicine or dentistry from a UK institution or have previously been granted a UK visa that did not restrict their employment as a doctor or dentist in training and were employed as such during that period)
Q Can dependant children of students attend school in the UK?

A If your children are aged between 5 and 16, they can attend government primary and secondary schools in the UK, as long as they are here as your dependants. You will not have to pay for this. However, schools may sometimes refuse places to children if they consider their stay in the UK will be too short, or if the schools have no free places.

Q Can student dependant spouse or partner study in the UK?

A There are currently no restrictions on dependants studying in the UK. There are no restrictions on the level or type of study if they fulfil the course and university entry requirements.

Q Do I need to pay Immigration Health Surcharge (HIS) fee for my baby born in the UK?

A From April 2015, babies who are born in the UK, after the age of 3 months are not entitled to free healthcare, except where emergency treatment is required. Therefore, if you require healthcare services for your baby, you must pay for private healthcare or make an immigration application for the baby to be under visa as a dependant within the first 3 months of your baby’s life, the application will require you to pay Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) fee.

Q Can student dependants switch to student visa or other types of visa inside the UK?

A Yes, student dependants are able to switch to student or other types of visa from inside the UK if they meet the requirements for the visa they intend to switch to.

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.

Q Can my spouse or partner or child switch to become my dependant if they are currently in the UK under another visa category?

A It is possible to switch to the 'Student Dependant' category without having to leave the UK to apply for entry clearance if

  • the spouse or partner or child is 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
  • the spouse or partner or child’s current leave is not as a Visitor, Short Term Student, Parent of a Tier 4/Student child, Temporary admission or temporary release in the UK
Q What shall I do if my relationship with my student dependant partner breaks down?

A If you divorce or separate after a Dependent visa has been granted to your partner and the Dependant has travelled to the UK, or they are already inside the UK, you must inform the Home Office about this immediately.

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