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Tier 4 dependant visa

Some Tier 4 students can bring family with them to the UK as their dependants. However, eligibility to bring a dependant will depend on your level of study and your relationship to that person. You should read the guidance before making a dependant visa application.

You are eligible to bring dependants with you to the UK if:

  • you are financially sponsored by your government and your course is longer than six months, or
  • you are completing a Postgraduate level course of 12 months or more, or
  • your most recent immigration permission was as a Tier 4 (General) student and you were studying a course for longer than six months. In this case all of the following conditions must apply:
    • your current immigration permission is still valid or did not expire more than three months before the date of your new application and
    • your new immigration application is for a course of study lasting six months or more and
    • your dependant already has immigration permission as a Tier 4 dependant (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.

In general, your partner and your children can be your dependants. Parents, brothers, sisters or any other relatives are not classed as dependants. The definition of who can be classed as your ‘partner’ or ‘child’ for immigration purposes is dependent on a number of factors. For more information, please see here.

Applying outside the UK

If your dependants are applying for entry clearance, i.e. they are applying outside of the UK¸ then each dependant must complete a separate application form and pay the fee online.  Applications can be made online by clicking here.  

If the application is successful, your dependants will receive a temporary visa which will be placed in their passport. The visa will last for 30 days to allow them to enter the UK and then collect a Biometric Residency Permit (BRP) that will cover them for the remainder of their stay. They will also receive a letter that they will need to keep detailing where to collect their BRP.  

Please note: if you make the entry clearance application at the same time as your dependants, you must select a local UK Post Office from which to collect your dependant’s BRPs because they cannot be delivered to the University.

Applying inside the UK

If your dependants are applying from within the UK there are strict regulations surrounding switching from alternative immigration categories into a dependant category. Your dependant can apply to extend their stay from inside the UK, as long as their latest immigration status was not:

  • as a visitor or
  • with a Republic of Ireland (√Čire) visa endorsed ‘BIVS’ or
  • as a short term student or short term student (child) or
  • as a parent of a Tier 4 (child) or
  • given to them by immigration authorities as ‘Temporary Admission’ or ‘Temporary Release’ in the UK.

The application is normally completed online and there are three main routes by which your dependants can apply whilst in the UK:

  • if you are applying at the same time as your dependant then you will need to include your dependant’s details on your Tier 4 application. You can access the online application form by clicking here
  • if your dependant partner is applying later than you then the online application form can be accessed by clicking here
  • if your dependant child is applying later than you then the online application form can be accessed by clicking here.

Each dependant must be able to provide evidence that they are able to maintain themselves (or be maintained by you) during their stay in the UK. As part of either your Tier 4 application or a dependant application (where your dependants are applying separately), evidence of these funds will need to be submitted with the application.

In most cases the evidence you submit will be a bank or building society statement showing that the relevant money has been held for a period of 28 consecutive days. The amounts you are required to show and forms of acceptable documents that can be submitted with the visa application are detailed in the Points Based System (Dependant) Policy Guidance. You can access this information by clicking here.

If you are a Tier 4 visa holder and you are pregnant it is important that you talk to us as soon as possible.  You will need to review the academic options available to you as well as discuss the immigration implications surrounding your pregnancy.

If you need to interrupt your studies you would normally be required to leave the UK with any dependants and then apply for new entry clearance before you return to study. For more information regarding taking a break in study please see here.

A child born in the UK can legally live here without making an immigration application. However, if you leave the UK with a child born in the UK you must apply for entry clearance in order for them to re-enter the UK because birth in the UK does not automatically entitle a child to British Citizenship.  When making a dependant visa application the same rules apply to a child born in the UK as they do to any other dependant children you may have.