Bringing your family
If you are coming to study in the UK under the Student route you may wish to bring family with you. Certain students are permitted to bring family members to the UK as dependants. This page gives information that you will need before you apply, and information on family members visiting you.
Before you apply
You can bring dependants to the UK if:
- You are a government-sponsored student who is studying a full-time programme of more than six months in duration; or
- You are a postgraduate student studying a full time programme of nine months or more
Undergraduate students who are not government-sponsored or studying a programme of up to 6 months cannot bring dependants.
There also are very specific instances in which your child may be able to apply as your dependant. Please contact us for more information on these.
You can bring the following to the UK as your dependants:
- Your spouse
- Your civil partner
- Your unmarried partner (provided you have been living together for at least 2 consecutive years)
- Your children
Child dependants must be either:
- Under 18 years old; OR
- Already hold permission to live in the UK as your dependant child
Other family members, such as your parents or siblings, cannot come to the UK as your dependants.
Even if born in the UK, your baby does not have automatic rights to British citizenship. To be classed as a British national, he or she must have a parent with British citizenship or settled status in the UK.
Your baby won’t need a visa while he or she remains in the UK. However, if they travel outside the UK they will need a visa to re-enter.
Please note that, if your child is more than 3 months old and you travel outside of Scotland with them before they have a visa, you might be charged for any NHS treatment they receive in other parts of 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 Student route dependants. If you are dependant who intends to study in the UK, you should note that if you are studying on a programme that requires ATAS clearance, you will need to obtain an ATAS certificate before you can commence your programme.
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.
Your dependants must apply for a visa either at the same time as you or once you have already been granted a Student visa.
If your dependants are outside the UK they can apply up to 6 months before your programme start date.
If you are making an application to extend or switch your Student visa in the UK, your dependants must either apply at the same time as you, or wait until your new leave has been granted. They must also apply before their current visa expires.
Please note that if your dependant has immigration permission in one of the following categories, they will not be able to make their application from the UK:
- Standard Visitor
- Short-term Student
- Parent of a Child Student;
- Seasonal Worker
- Domestic Worker in a Private Household
- Leave outside the Immigration Rules
If your dependant holds immigration permission in one of the above categories, or is on immigration bail, they will need to leave the UK and to make their application from their country of nationality or country of ordinary residence outside of the UK.
You can find full details of the evidence your dependants will need to provide in our document checklist:
Differentiation arrangements: financial evidence
In some circumstances your dependants might qualify for “differentiation arrangements” if the Home Office considers them a “low-risk” applicant.
Your dependant will be considered a low-risk applicant if:
- You have immigration permission in the Student category
- They are applying for their visa at the same time and in the same location as you
- You and your dependant are both nationals of one of the countries listed at paragraph ST 22.1 of the UK Immigration Rules
They must still meet the same financial requirements, but they do not have to provide any evidence of this with their application. They will still have to provide all other documents.
We strongly recommend that they still obtain evidence that they meet the financial requirements, even though they do not need to submit it. This is because the Home Office can ask them for it at any point while they are processing the application and usually only allow a short time (a few days) in which to provide it.
How to apply
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.
Follow these steps:
|1. Complete the online application form.||
The form you need to use will depend on whether you are applying as the same time as your dependant or not.
The form will ask if you want to add dependants to the application.
Your dependants are applying separately
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 contact us:
|2. Pay for the visa fee and Immigration Health Surcharge||
You can find information about the different services available and the relevant fees here:
The date of the application is the date the visa application fee is paid online.
|3. Upload your supporting documents to your online application.||
You can do this yourself or pay an additional fee to have them scanned and uploaded during your visa appointment.
|3. Provide your biometric information (digital fingerprints and photograph) at a UKVCAS centre||
You will need to book an appointment at a UK Visas and Citizenship Application Service centre as part of the online application.
You should bring all of your supporting documents to your appointment (even if you have already uploaded them yourself).
Follow these steps:
|1. Make the application online and pay the Immigration Health Surcharge|
|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. In most countries you will submit your supporting documents during your visa appointment.
In the United States you should post them to the Visa Processing Office after you have provided your biometric information.
Your family members (including those not eligible for a dependant visa) can visit you for a short period of time while you’re in the UK. They need to apply for a Standard Visitor visa online.