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Tier 4 dependants

Information for Tier 4 students who want to bring dependants to the UK

Under the Points-Based System (PBS) you can bring dependants to join you in the UK while you are studying at BU, provided that you meet certain conditions.

What is a dependant?

Dependants are close family members. They could be:

  • Your husband, wife or civil partner
  • Your unmarried partner
  • Your children.

Who can bring dependants to the UK while studying?

  • PhD students
  • Students studying a Master's degree that is more than 12 calendar months long.
  • Government sponsored students who are studying on any full time course that is longer than 6 calendar months.

Who is not entitled to bring dependants to the UK while studying?

  • Bachelor degree students who are not government sponsored.
  • Students studying a Master's degree that is less than 12 calendar months long.

Child dependants

If you want to bring your dependant-child to the UK, the immigration rules require that both parents stay in the UK with the child. This means that your husband/wife/partner must also come to the UK and cannot remain in your home country while you are here with the child.

The only exception to this is, if the other parent is not alive, or you have sole responsibility for your child’s upbringing. You will need to provide evidence of this with the PBS dependant visa application.

Making a PBS Dependant visa application

How to apply

If you would like to bring depandants to the UK during your studies, they will need to apply for a PBS dependant visa before they enter the UK. It is very important that your family member(s) should not enter the UK on a visitor visa, if you would like them to stay with you for the duration of your course. They cannot switch from a visitor visa into a PBS dependant visa inside the UK.

There are strict financial requirements that you must meet before you can bring dependants into the UK. Each dependant must show a certain amount of funds, in addition to the funds you need to show in your visa application.

Each person must make a separate online application – therefore if you are using the same evidence (e.g. bank statements) for more than one dependant, you must get duplicate official documents to submit with each application.

You and each dependant have to pay for the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) as part of the visa application on the form.

You can find detailed information about all the requirements and all the documents that are needed on the GOV.UK website.

If you are applying for your husband, wife or civil partner

Dependants applying for a visa at the same time as you will need to provide the following evidence:

  • a marriage certificate
  • additional evidence that you have been in a committed (subsisting) relationship e.g.: documents showing that you have lived together, for example council tax or other bills with both of your names
  • if you have not been living together you will need to provide as much evidence as possible to show you are in a genuine relationship. Some examples of this are:
    • evidence of telephone contact
    • exchange of cards at important events such as birthdays
    • photographs of the two of you together.

If you are applying for your unmarried partner

Dependants applying for a visa at the same time as you will need to provide the following evidence:

  • evidence that you have been in a committed (subsisting) relationship for at least 2 years e.g.: documents showing that you have lived together, for example council tax or other bills with both of your names
  • if you have not been living together you will need to provide as much evidence as possible to show you have been in a genuine relationship for at least 2 years. Some examples of this are:
    • evidence of telephone contact
    • exchange of cards at important events such as birthdays
    • photographs of the two of you together.

If you are applying for your child

You will need to provide the following evidence:

  • Birth certificate or other legal document (e.g. adoption certificate or legal guardianship court document), proving the relationship of the parent(s) to the child.

After the Dependant visa is granted

Check the visa conditions as the dependant should have the same visa expiry date as you (the Tier 4 student). In addition, dependants should have no restrictions on the number of hours they can work. However, they are not allowed to work as a doctor/dentist in training, or a sportsperson/sports coach. If you think the visa conditions are not correct, contact AskBU.

Study allowance

Dependants can study part-time or full-time.

Change of circumstances

If you leave the UK permanently, your dependants must also leave. They cannot remain in the UK without you. If the relationship ends, this will affect the dependant’s permission to remain in the UK.

Collecting biometric residence permit (BRP)

When you collect the BRP for your dependant partner or child(ren), they must be physically with you, and have their passport with them. You cannot collect the BRP on their behalf.

Further information

There is further information about travelling with dependants on the UKVI website, and UKCISA website. If you would like help with applying for your dependant visa, you can contact AskBU.