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Dependants

Last modified: 09 November 2020

Since 5 October 2020, 'Tier 4 (General)' leave has become 'Student' permission and 'Tier 4 (Child)' leave has become 'Child student' permission. 'Student' includes Tier 4 (General) and 'Child student' includes Tier 4 (Child).  Short-term students are not included: see Short-term student visa 

Some 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?'

NOTE Your dependants can only make successful applications if they meet the criteria and requirements detailed in these pages and you either:

  •  already have your Student immigration permission (except in the case of (3) in 'Which Students can have dependants' where both the dependant and Student must be applying at the same time); or
  •  are applying at the same time as your dependant(s) (both/all of you need to be making your applications outside the UK OR both/all of need you making your applications from inside the UK)

Which Students can have dependants?

Last modified: 29 October 2020

You can have dependants with you in the UK if:

  1. You are in receipt of an award from a Government or international sponsorship agency and your course is full-time and at least 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 Register of Student 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" OR
  3. Your current or most recent immigration permission was as a Student on a full-time course lasting at least 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 at least six months AND
    • your dependant:
      • already has 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); or
      • is your child who was born since you were last granted permission AND
    • you apply for immigration permission at the same time as your dependant

There are additional provisions for children born to Students - see babies born in the UK.

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: 14 October 2020

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

Your partner

Your child or children

Financial requirements

Last modified: 09 November 2020

Student dependants who apply for Student dependant permission from within the UK and who have been living in the UK with immigration permission or 12 months or longer when they apply do not need to meet the financial requirements. The immigration permission can have been in any immigration category BUT see our information about those who cannot make a dependant immigration application from within the UK 

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

Since the Rules were updated on 5 October 2020, they have stated that: "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 child who is applying at the same time, or is already in the UK as a dependent child of the Student." It used to clearly say that this was only a requirement when your dependants were applying at the same time as you. We are querying this change with the Home Office.

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 either has, or is being granted, immigration permission (other than as a visitor) 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 a university, or an independent school 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 Student and Child guidance. Make sure the letter complies with every one of those instructions. 

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. 

If in the 12 months before the date of application any of your dependants have been awarded a scholarship or sponsorship by a Government or international sponsorship agency covering both fees and living costs, they must provide written consent to the application from that Government or agency.

How much money?

If your dependant is required to meet the financial requirements (see above for information about dependants who have been in the UK for 12 months or longer) the amount of money that each dependant must show is as follows:

  • If you will study in London, each dependant must show £845 for each month of immigration permission you have been granted (if your dependants are applying after you have received your permission) or will be granted (if your dependants are applying at the same time as you). This is up to a maximum of 9 months (therefore, a maximum figure of £7,605). The definition of 'London' for these purposes is complicated, so check with your college or university whether or not you will be considered to be studying in London.
  • If you will study somewhere other than London, each dependant must show £680 for each month of immigration permission you have been granted (if your dependants are applying after you have received your permission) or will be granted (if your dependants are applying at the same time as you). This is up to a maximum of 9 months (therefore, a maximum figure of £6,120).

The number of months of immigration permission granted to a Student depends on the type, and length, of the course. The Student and Child guidance explains the length of immigration permission a Student will receive.

The Student and Child guidance outlines when you start the calculation from.

'Low risk' applicants

Please see our latest news 'differential evidence and dependants' for changes from 1 December 2020 affecting the information below:

If your dependant counts as a 'low risk' applicant they must have the right amount of money for the right period, but they do not have to provide any evidence of that with their immigration application. The Home Office calls this the 'differentiation arrangement' for 'low risk' applicants. 

Your dependant will count as a 'low risk' applicant if:

  • Your institution is listed as a licensed Student Sponsor on the Home Office's Register of Student Sponsors AND
  • you are both 'low risk' nationals as defined in paragraph ST 22.1 of Appendix ST of the immigration Rules  AND
  • your dependant is applying at the same time and in the same location as you AND
  • your dependant is applying for entry clearance in the country where they are resident, or they are applying for leave to remain inside the UK 

It is very important your dependant should obtain the evidence that they meet the financial requirements, even though they do not need to send it in. This is because the Home Office are entitled to ask them for it at any point while they are processing the application, and if the applicant is unable to produce it within a short period of time then their application will be refused.

How to apply

Last modified: 14 October 2020

The UK Home Office has introduced some temporary measures around visa applications and immigration status in response to Covid-19. Our most up to date guidance about everything that has changed in response to Covid-19 is available in a dedicated section of our website. 

Click to go through to our dedicated COVID-19 page.

 

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: 14 October 2020

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

  • in receipt of an award from a Government or international sponsorship agency and taking a full-time course that is at least 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 Student permission of less than 9 months to continue study on course for which you were previously granted permission of 9 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 (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)
  • if their permission as a Tier 4 partner was decided before 9 a.m. 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 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

Children born while Student in the UK

Last modified: 29 October 2020

This information is about immigration matters for children born to Students and their dependant partners. 

If you are a 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 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 Students, there are limited instances when the baby can apply for immigration permission as your dependant.

A child, born anywhere, can apply for immigration permission as your dependant if:

  • you are in receipt of an award from a Government or international sponsorship agency and on a full-time course of at least 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
  • they meet the criteria described in 3 in Which Students can have dependants?' OR
  • 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) OR
  • 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 permission 

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 relevant pages of the Student and Child 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.

Family members visiting you

Last modified: 14 October 2020

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 Student 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: 14 October 2020

Higher Education Provider

A 'higher education provider' or 'HEP' is a Student 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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