Bringing your family
We have rearranged some information to make it easier to find.
Last modified: 20 February 2014
Only some types of Tier 4 (General) student can bring family to the UK as dependants, and only some types of family member count as dependants. We explain below.
Which Tier 4 (General) students can bring family to the UK?
You can bring certain family members to the UK as your Tier 4 dependant if:
You are government-sponsored and your course is longer than six months OR
- You are doing a postgraduate level course of 12 months or longer at a publicly-funded Higher Education Institution or a 'recognised body' (see Definitions) OR
- Your current or most recent immigration permission was as a Tier
4 (General) student or a pre-Tier 4 student on a course longer than six months AND all four bullet points below apply:
- your permission is current or expired no more than three months before this immigration application AND
- your new immigration application is for a course that is longer than six months AND
- your dependants already have Tier 4 dependant or 'student'
dependant immigration permission (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
The other requirement you must meet is that you already have your Tier 4 (General) immigration permission, or you are applying for it in the same country where your dependant is making their application, at the same time as them.
Tier 4 (Child) students cannot bring family members to the UK as their dependants.
Which family members can be a Tier 4 dependant?
- your 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. For information about partnerships in countries outside
the UK that are treated as civil partnerships, see the UK Lesbian and Gay Immigration Group website
- your unmarried partner or same-sex partner. To be unmarried partners 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.
In all cases, you must both be at least 18 years old when you arrive in the UK.
You must intend to live together throughout your partner's stay in the UK.
Your partner must not intend to stay in the UK longer than the period you are given.
They must meet strict financial requirements. See the menu topic 'Financial requirements' on the left of this page for more information.
Your child or children
- If your child is applying to come to the UK as your Tier
4 dependant for the first time, they must be less than 18 years old
when they apply.
- They must not have formed an independent family unit or be leading an independent life, and they must not intend to do so in the UK. Not living an independent life means:
- they do not have a spouse, civil partner or unmarried partner, and
live with their parents, except where they are at boarding school,
college or university as part of their full-time education, and
- they are not employed full-time (unless aged 18 years or over), and
- they are wholly or mainly dependent upon their parents for financial support (unless aged 18 years or over), and
- they are wholly or mainly dependent upon their parents for emotional support
If your child is over 16 years old when they apply, they will have to provide particular documents to demonstrate that they meet this requirement. The documents required are described in paragraphs 111-114 of the Home Office's Points Based System (Dependant) Policy Guidance.
- Both of the child's parents must be coming to the UK. The only acceptable options are:
- both parents are making an immigration application at the same time and in the same country as the child, or
the child makes their immigration application, one parent is physically
present in the UK, and the other parent is making an immigration
application at the same time and in the same country as the child, or
- both parents are already physically present in the UK
This requirement will not be met if both parents
are physically outside the UK but only one of them is going to make an
application at the same time as the child (even if the other parent
already has immigration permission for the UK).
The only exceptions to the requirement that both parents must
be coming to the UK are when the other parent is dead, or you have had
sole responsibility for the child's upbringing, or there are other
serious or compelling considerations that mean the child should be with
you in the UK and you have made suitable arrangements for the child's
care. If you are relying on any of these exceptions, it is important
your child includes evidence of this with their application. This could
include, for example, death certificates or divorce certificates.
- They must not intend to stay in the UK longer than the period you are given.
- They must meet strict financial requirements. See the menu topic 'Financial requirements' on the left of this page for more information.