Bringing your family

If you are coming to study in the UK as a Tier 4 student you may wish to bring your family with you. Certain students are permitted to bring family members to the UK as their dependants.

Who can bring dependants?

You can bring dependants to the UK if:

  • You are a government sponsored student who is studying a programme of more than six months in duration; OR
  • You are a postgraduate student studying a programme of more than 12 months in duration

Undergraduate students who are not government-sponsored cannot bring dependants.

What family members can come as my dependants?

You can bring your spouse or civil/unmarried partner, and your children with you to the UK as your dependants.

If you are bringing your children, both parents must intend to live in the UK.

Child dependants must be either:

  • Under 18 years old; OR
  • Already hold permission to live in the UK as your dependant child

You cannot bring other family members, such as parents or siblings.  Other family members may visit you for up to six months using a standard visitor visa.

Standard Visitor Visa

What are the requirements for the visa?

In order for your family to apply for a dependant visa, you must already have a Tier 4 visa, or apply at the same time as them.

They will need:

  • A valid passport
  • A passport-sized photograph
  • Your Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) number
  • Evidence of your relationship (e.g. a marriage or birth certificate)*
  • Financial evidence.  Each dependant must show that they have £680 for each month of your course of study, up to 9 months (maximum amount 6120)

Unmarried partners will need to prove that they have been living in a relationship akin to marriage for at least two years.  You can show this through, for example, tenancy agreements, joint bank statements, utility bills showing that you have been living at the same address.

Find detailed information about making a dependant application in our guide.

UKCISA Website

How do I apply?

Applying in the UK

If you are making a visa application to amend or change your current visa in the UK, your dependants must apply at the same time as you.

1. Make the application online and pay the Immigration Health Surcharge

Immigration Health Surcharge

Tier 4 Family Members

Please note that we offer a visa application checking service - if you decide to attend this, please ensure you have chosen an appointment that is for an applicant with dependants.

To find out more about this service, please visit:

Contact Immigration

2. Post your documents to the Home Office, or bring them to your premium appointment

Premium service centres

3. Provide your biometric information (digital fingerprints and photograph) at the Post Office, or at the Premium Service Centre

Applying outside of the UK

1. Make the application online and pay the Immigration Health Surcharge

Immigration Health Surcharge

Government Visa Website

2. Book an appointment at a Visa Application Centre to provide your biometric information, and attend an interview if necessary

Find a visa application centre

3. Post your documents to the Embassy

Can my dependants work and study in the UK?

Any dependants who are over 16 years old will be able to work full time in the UK.  There are no restrictions on the type of work they can do except:

  • No work as a doctor or dentist in training
  • No work as a professional sportsperson or coach

There are no restrictions on study for Tier 4 dependants.

Are there any other conditions of the dependant visa?

Dependants have no access to public funds, which means that they cannot claim social benefits from the state, such as unemployment benefit or housing benefit.

Certain nationalities who have a visa for more than six months must register with the Police.

Find out more about Police Registration

Where can I find more information about bringing my dependants to the UK?

Find out more about life in the UK for your dependants, including about healthcare and schools, on the International Student Advisory Service website.

International Student Advisory Service