Bringing your family

Find out whether you are entitled to bring your family members with you to the UK.


Can I bring my dependants? 

You can bring dependants to the UK if:

  • You are a Tier 4 student; and
  • You are a postgraduate student studying a full-time course of 12 months or more; and
  • You are a government sponsored student who is studying a full-time programme of more than six months in duration;

Undergraduate students who are not government-sponsored or students who are studying on a part time basis cannot bring dependants.

Which family members can come as my dependants? 

You can bring the following to the UK as your dependants:

  • Your spouse
  • Your civil partner
  • Your unmarried partner (provided you have been living together for at least 2 consecutive years)
  • Your children

Child dependants must be either:

  • Under 18 years old; OR
  • Already hold permission to live in the UK as your dependant child

Other family members, such as your parents or siblings, cannot come to the UK as your dependants.

Can my dependants study and work in the UK? 

There are no restrictions on study for Tier 4 dependants.

Any dependants who are over 16 years old will be able to work full time in the UK. There are no restrictions on the type of work they can do except:

  • No work as a doctor or dentist in training
  • No work as a professional sportsperson or coach

Are there any other conditions of the dependant visa? 

Dependants have no access to public funds, which means that they cannot claim social benefits from the state, such as unemployment benefit or housing benefit.

Certain nationalities who have a visa for more than six months must register with the Police.

Find out more about Police Registration (link to our own page)

Your dependants’ visas will be linked to yours, so their visas will expire at the same time as your visa.

Advice for EEA Family Members 

If you are not an EEA or Swiss national but you are a family member of an EEA or Swiss national, then you may wish to consider obtaining an EEA Family Permit to allow you to come to the UK.

What are the requirements for a Tier 4 dependant visa?

In order for your family member to apply for a dependant visa, you must already have a Tier 4 visa, or apply at the same time as them.

Unmarried partners will need to prove that they have been living in a relationship akin to marriage for at least two years. You can show this through, for example, tenancy agreements, joint bank statements, utility bills showing that you have been living at the same address.

If you would like your child to come to the UK as your dependant, you should note that the Immigration Rules state that both of the child’s parents must be present in the UK, unless:

  • You are the sole surviving parent; or
  • You have and have had sole responsibility for the child's upbringing; or
  • There are serious or compelling family or other reasons which would make it desirable not to refuse the application and suitable arrangements have been made in the UK for the child’s care

How do I apply?

Applying inside the UK

If you are making a visa application to amend or change your current visa in the UK, your dependants must apply at the same time as you.

Follow these steps:

  1. Make the application online and pay the Immigration Health Surcharge
  2. Post your documents to the Home Office, or bring them to your premium appointment
  3. Provide your biometric information (digital fingerprints and photograph) at the Post Office, or at the Premium Service Centre.  Please note that if your dependant has immigration permission to be in the UK as a visitor or short-term student they will need to return home to apply for their Tier 4 dependant visa.

Applying outside the UK

Follow these steps:

  1. Make the application online and pay the Immigration Health Surcharge
  2. Book an appointment at a Visa Application Centre to provide your biometric information, and attend an interview if necessary
  3. Post your documents to the Embassy. What documents do I need for a Tier 4 visa dependant application? Checklist – create checklist

Family Members Visiting You

Your family members can visit you for a short period of time while you’re in the UK.

They will need to apply for a Standard Visitor visa online: