Dependants - Bringing your Family to the UK

The information below is for those with a Tier 4 Student visa. You may be able to have certain family members with you in the UK for the whole duration of your student visa. Please read the sections below to learn more about bringing dependants to the UK and how they can apply.

You can apply to bring a Tier 4 Dependant to the UK if you’re:

  • on a postgraduate course that lasts 9 months or more; or
  • a Government-sponsored student on a course that lasts 6 months or longer; or
  • a Doctorate Extension Scheme student

If you meet these requirements, you can bring your dependants to the UK. They can apply outside the UK at the same time as you or separately. See below for who can apply as a Tier 4 Dependant.

A family member can only apply for a Tier 4 Dependant visa to join you in the UK if they are either:

  • your husband, wife or civil partner
  • your unmarried or same-sex partner, with whom you have been in a relationship similar to marriage for at least 2 years.
  • your child who will be under 18 years old on the date that they apply for their visa

Please note that parents and other family members are not considered dependants in the immigration rules for students and are therefore not eligible to accompany a student to the UK.

The Tier 4 rules state that you can only bring your child / children with you to the UK if both parents are going to be in the UK. This means that if your partner is going to stay outside the UK, your child /children cannot join you.

The exception to this is if you are:

  • the only parent or
  • you have 'sole responsibility' for your child / children or
  • there are serious compelling reasons which mean you and your partner cannot come to live together in the UK

They would need to include evidence with their visa applications to prove any of the above points. For example if you have sole responsibility for your child/ children then you should show this using official evidence from a court which proves you have been given sole custody or responsiblity for the child/ children.

The rules also state that to qualify as a 'child' they must 'not be living an independent life'. If your child is 16 -18 years old you need to include additional evidence to prove that they have not formed an independent life.

If you are not eligible to have Tier 4 Dependants in the UK then you can still have your family visit you for a short period during your studies. Each family member would need to apply for a Standard Visitor Visa and provide evidence of their reason for visiting, that they can sustain themselves during the visit, and that they will leave the UK at the end of this trip. The Standard Visit visa is valid for up to 6 months.

Please note that a family member cannot use the Visit visa route to come to the UK for to continually visit you if this takes them over 6 months in a year period, and they cannot switch to any other visa type in the UK.

Please see this section on how to invite a visitor to the UK.