Dependants

Last modified: 19 June 2018

Some Tier 4 (General) students can have family with them in the UK as their dependants. To find out who counts as a dependant, check 'Who is a dependant?'

You can have dependants with you in the UK if:

  1. You are government-sponsored and your course is full-time and longer than six months OR
  2. You are doing a postgraduate level full-time course of 12 months or longer at a publicly-funded Higher Education Institution or a 'UK recognised body' (see 'Definitions'). Dependants who make immigration applications on or after 6 July 2018, will benefit where this course is at least 9 months OR
  3. Your current or most recent immigration permission was as a Tier 4 (General) student or a pre-Tier 4 student on a full-time 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 full-time course that is longer than six months AND
    • your dependant already has 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

You must already have your Tier 4 (General) immigration permission, or you must be 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 dependants.

If you have, or are applying for, leave under the Doctorate Extension Scheme see the 'Family' section in our Doctorate Extension Scheme information, instead of information on this page.

Who is a dependant?

Last modified: 07 November 2017

Your partner and your child can be your Tier 4 dependant. Your parent, brother, sister or other relative cannot.

Your partner

Your child or children

Financial requirements

Last modified: 21 March 2018

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 most cases, your dependant must produce this evidence with their immigration application.

The money can be held by the dependant or by you. If the dependant is your child, the funds can be held by the child’s other parent, but only if the other parent is present in the UK too. However, if the application for immigration permission is made on or after 11 January 2018, there is no longer the requirement (for the purposes of satisfying the financial requirements only) for this other parent to be present in, or coming to, the UK. All other requirements in relation to both parents of the child being in the UK or coming to the UK (unless exceptions apply) still need to be met. 

The money must have been in the account for a minimum period of 28 consecutive days up to the date of the closing balance. The account must not have dropped below the amount required at any time during the 28 day period. Also, the final date of this 28 day period must not be more than 31 days before the immigration application is made.

There is an exception to this requirement if a government, the British Council, an international organisation, an international company or a university is giving you money to cover your course fees or living costs. In that case, ask if they are prepared to give you a letter stating that they will cover the full maintenance costs of your dependant. If they will, then that letter on its own will mean that your dependant has met the financial requirements. There will be no requirement for them to show that they have any money at all in a bank or building society account, or in an account with an officially regulated financial institution. There are precise instructions about the format the letter must take in the ‘Points Based System (Dependant) Policy Guidance’. Make sure the letter complies with every one of those instructions. If they are not prepared to say in their letter that they will cover the full maintenance costs of your dependant, but they are prepared to promise them a certain amount, they should say in their letter how much they will provide for your dependant. That amount will then be deducted from the total amount of money that your dependant is expected to show in bank or building society accounts or accounts with officially regulated financial institutions.

Each dependant must declare in their application that the money for living costs will remain available to them, unless used for living costs in the UK.

How much money?

Evidence

'Low risk' applicants

How to apply

Last modified: 19 June 2018

Applying outside the UK

Who can apply in the UK?

Making an extension application

If your dependants are already in UK as visitors or short-term students

Working

Last modified: 19 June 2018

Your dependants will be able to work if you are either:

  • a government-sponsored student taking a course that is longer than six months OR
  • taking a postgraduate course of 12 months or longer at a publicly funded Higher Education Institution or a 'UK recognised body' (see 'Definitions'). Dependants who make immigration applications on or after 6 July 2018 will be able to benefit from this if the length of your postgraduate course is 9 months or longer.   

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 12 months or more and your course is at degree level or above. Dependants who make immigration applications on or after 6 July 2018 will be able to benefit from this if you make an immigration application for a period of at least 9 months. 

Dependants who make an immigration application on or after 11 January 2018 will also be able to work if you're applying for Tier 4 (General) permission of less than 12 months to continue study on course for which you were previously granted permission of 12 months or more. Dependants who make an immigration application on or after 6 July 2018 will be able to benefit where you are applying for Tier 4 (General) permission of less that 9 months to continue study on course for which you were previously granted permission of 9 months or more.

Dependants who are allowed to work can take any type of employment or self-employment, except:

  • they must not work as a professional sportsperson, which includes being a sports coach (this only applies to a partner if the application for their current immigration permission was made on or after 6 April 2014, and it only applies to a child if their application for their current immigration permission was made on or after 19 November 2015)
  • a partner must not work as a doctor or dentist in training (although there are some special exemptions to this, described in paragraph 319D(b)(iii) of the Immigration Rules)
Note that paragraph 58 of the PBS Dependants policy guidance does not explain your dependants' work rights accurately. You should check instead that an immigration decision is based on the Immigration Rules paragraphs 319D(iv)-(v) if your partner applied, or on paragraphs 319I(iii)-(iv) if your child applied. 

Schooling for your children

Last modified: 04 February 2016

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.

See also:

Schools admissions - a general guide from the UK government aimed at all UK residents

A guide to schooling in England - for people new to the UK

Babies born in the UK

Last modified: 19 June 2018

This information is about immigration matters for babies born in the UK to a Tier 4 student and their Tier 4 dependant partner. 

If you are a Tier 4 student 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 Tier 4 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 baby is born in the UK but is not a British citizen, it is quite lawful for him or her to remain in the UK without making an immigration application. However, the baby will need immigration permission to re-enter the UK after any travel abroad, and for babies born to Tier 4 students, there are limited instances when the baby can apply for immigration permission as your dependant.

A baby can apply for immigration permission as your dependant from either inside the UK or from your country of residence (where it is called 'entry clearance') if:

  • you are government-sponsored on a course of more than six months OR
  • you are on a postgraduate course of at least 12 months at a publicly-funded Higher Education Institution or a 'recognised body'. Dependants who make immigration applications on or after 6 July 2018, will benefit where this course is at least 9 months

If you want them 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 whole of the Points Based System (Dependant) Policy Guidance, as they will need to meet all the usual 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.

A baby can apply for entry clearance (from your home country) as your dependant in the following circumstances:

  • the baby is born during your most recent period of Tier 4 or pre-Tier 4 student permission granted for a course of more than six months duration (unless the leave was for a re-sit or to re-take a module for the same course of more than six months duration, in which case the baby can have been born during the permission for the course or the resit or retake) OR
  • the baby is born within three months of the expiry of your most recent Tier 4 or pre-Tier 4 student permission.

Family members visiting you

Last modified: 04 February 2016

A member of your family may wish to come to the UK for a short visit.  This may be because, for example:

  • they are your child but are already over 18, your parent, your brother or sister, or another type of relative who is not permitted to come to the UK as your Tier 4 dependant
  • they are your partner or child, but your course is not one that permits you to bring dependants
  • they are your partner or child, but choose not to come to the UK for a longer stay as your dependant
  • they are coming for a specific purpose, such as your graduation or another event, or for tourism, or simply for a short family visit

If your family member wishes to come to the UK for a period of up to six months only, they may qualify to come as a 'visitor (standard)'. It is compulsory for anyone who is a 'visa national' to apply for entry clearance (a visa) from the British authorities before they travel to the UK, even if they are coming for six months or less (use this web tool to see if your family members are 'visa nationals').

Definitions

Last modified: 04 February 2016

UK recognised body

A 'UK recognised body' is an institution that has been granted degree awarding powers by either a Royal Charter, an Act of Parliament or the Privy Council. You will find a list of such institutions here. The immigration authorities also treat the Foundation Programme Office, Health Education South London, Health Education Yorkshire and Humber, and Richmond the American International University in London as though they are 'UK recognised bodies'.

Publicly-funded Higher Education Institution

To check that your institution is a publicly-funded Higher Education Institution, check the list of university or higher education institutions for the appropriate part of the UK:


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