Dependant visas for family

Updated on 5 June 2024

Guidance for current students on applying to allow dependants, who are family or partners, to stay in the UK with the main Student visa holder during their studies.

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Immigration changes from January 2024

The UK government have announced changes regarding which students can bring dependants with them to the UK. 

If you are applying for immigration permission after 15:00 on 17 July 2023 for a postgraduate course that starts on or after 1 January 2024, you can have dependants join you in the UK only if your course is a PhD, doctoral qualification, or a research-based higher degree. This Guide applies to those in this category.

Those applying for taught post graduate courses starting on or after 1 January 2024 will no longer be eligible to bring Dependants.

More details are available on the website.

Who can apply for dependants to remain in the UK?

If you are a current student, you can apply to have dependants remain with  in the UK if:

  1. You have an official financial sponsor (Government), and your course is full-time and at least 6 months long. 
  2. Your current or most recent immigration permission was as a student on a full-time course lasting at least 6 months and all bullet points below apply:
  • your permission is current or expires no more than three months before your new immigration application. 
  • your immigration application is for a full-time course that is at least six months long. 
  • your dependant(s):
    • already has a student dependant visa in the UK. and it expires no more than three months before the application; or
    • is your child who was born since you were last granted your student visa. 

Who is a dependant?

Dependants can only be:

  • your husband, wife or civil partner,
  • your unmarried partner
  • your child under 18 years old - including if they were born in the UK during your stay

You cannot bring other family members (parent, brother, sister or other relative).


A partner is : 

  • your husband or wife
  • your civil partner:
    • 'Civil partners' are same-sex or opposite-sex couples who have formal legal recognition of their partnership. Schedule 20 of the Civil Partnership Act 2004 provides a list of partnerships in countries outside the UK that are automatically treated as civil partnerships by the UK government. 
  • Your unmarried partner. They will have to prove that they have been in a relationship similar to a marriage or civil partnership with you for at least two years before the date of their application.

In all cases, you must both be over 18 years when you receive your extension or when your dependant arrives in the UK. The relationship must be 'genuine and subsisting' and you and your partner must have met in person. 


If your child is applying to come to the UK as your Student dependant they will need to be under the age of 18.

Your dependant can’t be living an independent life. This means:  

  • They are unmarried or don’t have a civil partner. 
  • They live with you, their parents. There is an exception for children attending  boarding school, college or university. 

Both of the child’s parents must be present with the child in the U.K. The parents’ visa permission cannot be as a visitor. The only exceptions to the requirement that both parents must be coming to the UK are when the child's other parent is dead, or if one parent has sole responsibility for the child's upbringing, or if there are other serious or compelling considerations that mean the child should be with you in the U.K.

If your child is 16 or 17

If your child is 16 or 17 on the date you apply, you’ll need to prove they are not living an independent life, for example they’re not married or in a civil partnership.

You’ll need to prove:

  • where they live - if they do not live with you. You’ll need to explain why they live separately from you. 
  • any rent or upkeep they pay you each month
  • that you support them financially if they do not live with you

If your 16 or 17 year old child lives with you, you’ll need to provide 2 of the following documents confirming their address:

  • a bank statement
  • credit card bills
  • driving licence
  • NHS registration document
  • an official letter from their university or college
  • Civil partners

Babies born in the UK

If your baby is born in the UK, you do not need to apply for immigration permission for the baby unless your baby needs to re-enter the UK after travel. If you are in the UK on a Student visa, you can apply inside the UK for your baby if you meet the following requirements described in the section titled “Who Can Bring Dependants to the U.K.” above. 

If your dependants are already in the UK

You can include the details of your dependants when completing the online student visa extension application. Dependants should be given the same length of leave as the main applicant. 

Switching to Dependant visa in the UK

It is possible to switch to a dependant visa from other types of immigration permission within the UK. This means, for example, you can apply as a dependant after having been in the UK with Student visa leave, without having to leave the UK to apply for entry clearance. Those here on valid Dependant visas can now apply to switch to a student visa if they are accepted on a course of study with no more than 28 days between the visa expiry date and course start date.

If you have any questions about this guide contact

If your dependants are currently outside the UK at time of application

They will be eligible to apply as a Dependant on your student visa only if you are studying a Postgraduate Research course.

They will be required to:

  •  apply for entry clearance as PBS Student dependants from the in which they are legally residing before they travel to the UK
  • apply online under Dependants applying outside the UK. Each dependant must complete a separate online application form
  • book appointments during the application process to have their fingerprints and photograph taken at a visa application centre (where relevant)
  • pay online for the visa fee and Immigration Health Surcharge as part of the application process, where possible.
  • know your course details and CAS number in order to complete the online application form

If they do not submit their visa application at the same time as you, they should make sure that they include in their application a copy of your Student visa and passport. Their application form should state clearly that they are accompanying the main applicant who will be in the UK as a student.

Evidence of maintenance

If you are applying for dependants you or your dependants will need to show an additional £680 per month per dependant up to a maximum of nine months (depending on the length of leave you applied for). For example:

  •  If applying for four months leave, dependants will be required to show maintenance/living costs of eight months leave.
  • If applying for six months leave, dependants will be required to show maintenance/living costs of nine months leave.

Funds must be held for 28 days in your bank account or your dependants bank account (dated within one month of application).

For an explanation of the application process, choose the country they are living in from the list on the UKVI website and look at the information displayed there and PBS dependant guidance.

Immigration healthcare surcharge

Each dependant will be required to pay the healthcare surcharge as part of the visa application process. The charge will be calculated at £776 per year plus £388 for the extra 4 months wrap up period. 


International Advice Service

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