Dependants

Last modified: 13 August 2019

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 9 months or longer at a 'higher education provider' with a 'track record of compliance' (see 'Definitions'). This is abbreviated in the 'status' column of the register of Tier 4 sponsors to "track record". The type of sponsor may be "HEI", "publicly-funded college", "independent school", "embedded college offering pathway courses" or "private provider" - there is no reference to "HEP". ​If your sponsor is described on the register of Tier 4 sponsors as a publicly-funded college, a private provider, an independent school or an embedded college offering pathway courses, your dependant(s) will only be eligible in this category if their permission is granted on or after 1 August 2019 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 at the same time as your dependant.

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: 30 April 2019

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: 30 April 2019

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 who is lawfully present in the UK or being granted immigration permission at the same time as the child. 

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: 13 August 2019

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: 13 August 2019

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

  • a government-sponsored student taking a full-time course that is longer than six months OR
  • taking a full-time postgraduate course of 9 months or longer at a 'higher education provider' with 'a track record of compliance' (see 'Definitions')

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 9 months or more and your full-time course is at degree level or above. 

Dependants will also be able to work if you're applying for Tier 4 (General) permission of less than 9 months to continue study on course for which you were previously granted permission of 9 months or more. 

  • 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)

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: 13 August 2019

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 full-time course of more than six months OR
  • you are on a full-time postgraduate course of at least 9 months at a 'higher education provider' with a 'track record of compliance' OR
  • the baby was born during your most recent grant of permission as a Tier 4 student or pre-Tier 4 student, and this permission was granted for a full-time course of more than six months (or for a re-sit or to re-take a module for the same course of more than six months duration)

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 was born no more than three months after the expiry of your most recent grant of permission as a Tier 4 student or pre-Tier 4 student, and this permission was granted for a full-time course of more than six months (or for a re-sit or to re-take a module for the same course of more than six months duration)

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: 13 August 2019

Higher Education Provider

A 'higher education provider' or 'HEP' is a Tier 4 sponsor which provides higher education in accordance with the criteria of the government of the country in the UK in which it is located. The definition of a HEP (including the criteria of the four governments of the UK) is provided in paragraph 6 of the Immigration Rules.

Track record of compliance

Paragraph 6 of the Immigration Rules says that: A “track record of compliance” means a four-year track record of immigration compliance and Educational Oversight, established by a Tier 4 sponsor in accordance with the requirements set out in the Tier 4 guidance for sponsors which is published on the visa and immigration pages of the GOV.UK website."


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