Dependants

Some people studying on the Student route can have family with them in the UK as their ‘dependants’. The only relationships that qualify as dependants of those on the Student route are your partner and your child. Other family members including your parent, brother, sister or other relative will not be able to join you in the UK as a dependant.

If your family member wishes to come to the UK for a period of up to six months only, they may be eligible to apply as a Visitor.

You might have heard of Tier 4, but the Student route has replaced Tier 4 (General) and the Child Student route has replaced Tier 4 (Child). If you have Tier 4 permission, then this information will still apply to you.

Can I have dependants when I study in the UK?

Last modified: 20 February 2024

If you are studying on the Student route, you can have dependants with you in the UK if any of the situations in the following categories apply to you. Please note that Child Students cannot bring dependants.

Category 1

Category 2

Category 3

Who is a dependant?

Last modified: 20 February 2024

If you are studying on the Student route, your partner and your child can be your dependant. Your parent, brother, sister or other relative cannot.

Partners

Children

Financial requirements

Last modified: 20 February 2024

Your dependants do not need to meet the financial requirements if:

  • They are applying from within the UK.
  • They have been living in the UK with immigration permission for 12 months or longer when they apply.

The immigration permission can have been in any immigration category. 

If they do not meet the criteria above, each dependant must have a certain amount of money, held in a bank or building society account, or an account with an officially regulated financial institution. All dependants will need to have evidence of this, and in many cases, your dependant must produce this evidence with their immigration application.

The Immigration Rules state that funds for your dependants must be in addition to funds you require as a Student:   

"The funds must be in addition to the funds required for the Student to meet the financial requirement, and the funds required to meet the financial requirement for any dependent who is applying at the same time, or is already in the UK as a dependent of the Student."

However, the gov.uk website says:

"If your partner or child is applying at a different time to you (they’re applying separately) they only need to prove they have money to support themselves."

As information can change without warning, it is important to check before you make your application that this sentence is still on the gov.uk website and save a screenshot of it on the day you apply. 

Meeting financial requirements

Financial evidence

How to apply

Last modified: 20 February 2024

Before starting the application, your dependant should read information for family members on the Home Office website and the Student and Child guidance. For fees and information on how to apply and what you need to apply, visit the Home Office website.

If you are eligible to bring dependants they can only make successful applications if they meet the requirements and either of these situations apply:

  • You already have your Student immigration permission (except in the case of category 3 in 'Can I have dependants when I study in the UK?' where both the dependant and Student must be applying at the same time).
  • You are applying at the same time as your dependant(s).

Applying outside the UK

Applying in the UK

Dependants already in the UK as Visitors or Short-term students

Working

Last modified: 20 February 2024

Your dependants will be able to work, except if their eligibility to be in the UK as your dependant is based on you meeting category 3 in ‘Can I have dependants in the UK?’. In this case, your dependants can only work if either of these situations apply:

  • You are applying for Student permission of nine months or more and your full-time course is at degree level or above.
  • You are applying for Student permission of less than nine months to continue studying on the course for which you were previously granted permission of nine 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. 
  • If their permission as a Tier 4 Partner was decided before 9:00 (UK time) on 5 October 2020, they must not work as a doctor or dentist in training (although there are some special exemptions to this, described in the archived Immigration Rules paragraph 319D(b)(iii)).

Schooling for your children

Last modified: 20 February 2024

If your children are aged between five 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 their education. 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.

Find out more about schools admissions (a general guide aimed at UK residents) and the education system in the UK.

Children born while in the UK

Last modified: 20 February 2024

If you are on the Student route and you are pregnant, it is very important that you talk to an immigration adviser as soon as possible. If you find you need to interrupt your studies due to pregnancy, you and any dependants will normally need to leave the UK, then apply for new entry clearance in order to return to the UK and resume studies.

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 child is born in the UK but is not a British citizen, it is lawful for them to remain in the UK without making an immigration application. However, the child will need immigration permission to re-enter the UK after any travel abroad. For children born to those on the Student route, there are limited instances when you can apply for immigration permission, on behalf of a child, as your dependant.

A child, born anywhere, can apply for immigration permission as your dependant if any of these situations apply:

  • You meet the criteria described in categories 1, 2 or 3 in 'Can I have dependants when I study in the UK?'.
  • The child was born during your current permission as a Student, and this permission was granted for a full-time course of at least six months (or, if you have permission for a re-sit or to re-take a module for the same course of at least six months duration, the child was born during the permission for the original course or during the permission for the re-sit or re-take).
  • The child was born no more than three months after the expiry of your most recent permission and the child is making an entry clearance application (an application from their country of residence) within six months of their parent's most recent

If you want the child to make an application from inside the UK, they apply by making an online application through the Home Office website:

Before filling in the form, read the relevant pages of the Student and Child guidance, as the child will need to meet all requirements for dependants. If you wish to make an immigration application from inside the UK for your baby in other circumstances, you should seek legal advice.


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