Find out who qualifies as a dependant, how you can make a Tier 4 dependant application in the UK or abroad and what documents you'll need to provide.
Only some types of Tier 4 (General) students can bring family to the UK as dependants, and only some types of family member count as dependants.
Who qualifies as a Tier 4 dependant?
The following categories of people qualify as a Tier 4 dependant:
- Your husband or wife.
- Your civil partner civil partners are same sex couples who have registered their partnership to gain formal legal recognition of their relationship.
- Your unmarried or same-sex partner (to be unmarried or same sex partners, you will need to have been living together in a relationship similar to marriage or civil partnership for a period of at least two years; you will be expected to provide evidence of this).
- Your child or children aged under 18 (if applying overseas).
- Your child or children aged over 18 only if applying within the UK and only if they are already your dependant under Tier 4.
If your husband, wife or partner is applying as your dependant you must both be at least 18 years old when your partner receives their visa; or when they arrive in the UK, if they have not yet come to the UK.
You can only bring your child / children with you to the UK if your partner is also coming with you to the UK. The exceptions 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
Who can apply as a Tier 4 dependant?
The above-stated categories of people can apply to be a Tier 4 dependant if:
- You are a government sponsored student on a course of longer than 6 months or
- You are studying at the University of Leeds on a course of 9 months or longer at postgraduate level or
- You have a Tier 4 visa for a course of longer than 6 months; and your visa is current or expired less than 3 months before making this immigration application; and you are applying for a visa extension for a course of more than 6 months; and your dependants already have Tier 4 dependant visas; and you and your dependants are making your immigration applications at the same time.
Dependants who do not currently hold a Points Based System visa must apply for entry clearance from UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) in their home country before they come to the UK. Each dependant must complete a separate application form, and pay a fee which is the equivalent of £335 in local currency. You can find out how to apply for a visa for your dependants on the UKCISA website.
Dependants who hold a visa in a Points Based System category such as Tier 4 or Tier 2 can apply to become a dependant in the UK without having to return home to do so. You must include evidence to prove your relationship to the applicant.
- Marriage or civil partnership certificates
- Bank statements in joint names
- Council tax/utility bills in joint names
- Full birth certificate showing both parents names
If you are a child dependant over the age of 16 you will also need to include two of the following documents:
- Bank statements; and/or
- Credit card bills; and/or
- Driving licence; and/or
- NHS Registration document; and/or
- Letter from your current school, college or university confirming your address. This must be on official headed paper bearing the official stamp of that organisation. It must have been issued by an authorised official of that organisation.
If your child has recently been born in the UK please see further guidance regarding the eligibility for your child's entitlement to free NHS treatment.
Applying in the UK
If your dependant is applying with you, the application form should be completed online at the UKVI website. You should stop completing the form at the check application stage to ensure that any amendments needed can be made when you have an appointment with an adviser at the International Student Office.
If your dependant spouse/partner is applying without you, please complete the Dependant partner application form. If your dependant child is applying without you (for example if they were born in the UK) please complete the Dependant child application form.
The standard cost of applying for a dependant visa in the UK is £494.20. The process for submitting your documents following payment for the online application is detailed at Step 7 of our webpage about extending your visa in the UK.
Applying outside the UK
What documents do I need to provide?
If your family members are applying from overseas to join you as your dependants, you will need to provide the following documents to support their applications:
- A letter inviting your family to live with you as your dependants.
- Your University Registration Certificate available from the Student Services Centre on Level 9 of the Marjorie and Arnold Ziff Building.
- A copy of your tenancy agreement/accommodation contract.
- A copy of your current visa either in your passport or your Biometric Residence Permit.
- Evidence of funds to maintain your dependants financially this will be your original bank statement and/or sponsor letter. You will need to show that you have a minimum of £680 per month per dependant for the duration of your course up to a maximum of 9 months.
- If you are self funded and applying to extend your visa with your dependants in the UK, you will need to show that you have a minimum of £680 per month per dependant for the course extension period and the additional 4 months which is added to the end of the extension period to the Tier 4 leave by UKVI, up to a maximum of 9 months.
- If using a bank statement, the required funds need to be held for 28 consecutive days, with the bank statement used being no more than 31 days old on the date of application.
- Evidence of your relationship to your dependants original marriage/birth certificate.
Length of leave granted
Your dependant's visa will expire at the same time as your visa. Should you need to apply for more time as a student in the UK, your dependant will be able to make an application to extend their leave at the same time as you. If your child is aged 18 or over, they are permitted to make an application to extend their leave in the UK provided that they have previously been granted a visa as your dependant.
If you're studying a course of six months or less, your family members cannot apply to come to the UK as Tier 4 dependants. However, they would be permitted to apply for a Standard Visitor visa, in which case they would be granted a visa for a maximum of six months and must return home again before the visa expires. It is not permitted to switch from a Standard Visitor visa to any other kind of visa in the UK. Dependants with a Standard Visitor must return home in order to apply for a different type of visa. Please refer to our Family and friends visits page for further guidance to apply for a Standard Visitor visa.
Check your understanding by looking at the UKCISA Dependants webpage to help you find out if you can bring your family to the UK.