Information for Student visa holders 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.

If your postgraduate level course starts on or after 1 January 2024. You can only bring dependants into the UK if you are studying:

  • A PhD (RQF level 8)
  • A research-based higher degree (Masters by Research degree).

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

After the Dependant visa is granted

Check the visa conditions as the dependant should have the same visa expiry date as you (the Student visa holder). 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.