Students who require a Tier 4 (General) student visa to study in the UK are able to bring their family with them as dependants.
If you are an EEA national and would like to bring your family, see the EEA nationals section.
Who can be a Tier 4 dependant
The only family members you can claim as dependants are your partner and your children.
The following are considered partners under a Tier 4 dependant visa:
- Your legal husband or wife
- Your civil partner. This means you are a same-sex couple who has registered your partnership to gain formal legal recognition of your relationship. Country-specific information can be found on the UK Lesbian and Gay Immigration Group.
- Your unmarried or same-sex partner. For unmarried or same-sex partners, you need to have been living together in a relationship similar to marriage or civil partnership for a period of at least two years. You will be expected to provide evidence of this.
The following are considered children under a Tier 4 dependant visa:
- Children under the age of 18 years
- Children 18 years old or more who are already in the UK with immigration permission as a dependant child. Children over 18 will not be considered a child family member if they:
- are married or in a civil partnership
- have formed an independent family unit (are living with a partner or have children of their own)
- are living an independent life (for example, living away from the family home, in full-time employment, or financially independent).
See the UKVI guidance on dependants for further information.
In order to claim dependants, you must also meet the following requirements:
- You must have a Tier 4 (General) student visa or be applying for one.
- You must intend to live together with your dependants.
- Your dependants do not intend to remain in the UK beyond the end of your immigration permission.
- For children, both parents must be lawfully living in the UK unless the other parent is dead or if you have sole responsibility for your children’s upbringing. Evidence such as death certificates, divorce and custody papers will be required when making the application.
- Your dependants meet the financial requirement.
Babies born in the UK
Babies that are born to foreign nationals in the UK are not British citizens unless one or both of the parents have British citizenship or settled status.
You do not need to make an immigration application for a newborn baby to remain in the UK; however, the baby will need immigration permission to re-enter the UK after travelling abroad.
If you are a student on Tier 4 (General) visa, you can claim your baby as a dependant. You can find out more about how to claim a baby as a dependant on your visa from the UKVI website. For further information, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
You will need to show that you have the required maintenance for you and each of your dependants. You do not have to show proof of maintenance funds if you are from a low risk country.
If you and your dependants are required to show proof of maintenance funds, the proof of maintenance for you dependant can be held by the dependant or by you. If the dependant is your child, the funds can be held by the dependant child’s other parent. You can only show proof of your dependant’s maintenance through your own funds if you meet all of the following criteria:
- You are studying with a Tier 4 Sponsor – the University of St Andrews.
- Your dependants are applying at the same time as you.
- Your dependants are applying for entry clearance in their country of nationality or for leave to remain in the UK.
- You and your dependants hold the same nationality.
For study at the University of St Andrews, dependants will need to show that they have £680 for each month of your course, up to a maximum of nine months (a maximum of £6120 for each dependant).
The money for dependants must have been held in a bank account for 28 days at the time of application, and the documents used to evidence these funds must not be more than 31 days old when the application is made.
If you have financial sponsorship, and this sponsorship covers your dependants living costs, ask your sponsor to include this information on your sponsorship letter. This will mean that your dependants will not need to meet the financial requirements. If your sponsors are only covering part of the living costs for your dependants, the amount agreed can be deducted from the maintenance that they are required to show in a bank account.
How to apply
In order to apply for a visa for your dependant, you must do the following:
- Apply online and pay the relevant application fees.
- Pay the healthcare surcharge.
- Provide proof that you have enough savings to support your dependants while they’re in the UK.
- Provide a photograph and fingerprints taken at a visa application centre to get a biometric residence permit within 10 days of when they said they’d arrive in the UK.
If you want to extend the visa for dependants already in the UK with immigration permission, you will need to apply for your dependants’ visa at the same time as you extend or switch your visa. If you can’t do it at the same time, your dependants can apply to extend or switch their visas at a later date; applications must be made before their current leave to remain expires.
Dependants will need to provide biometric information and pay the healthcare surcharge again for an extension of their visa.
Complete information on how dependants can apply for a visa are found on the UKVI website.