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My Tier 4 visa was issued on or after 31 March 2009

Can my family live with me in the UK during my studies?

Some members of your family can live with you in the UK. These are known as your dependants
Only your spouse (husband or wife), civil partner, unmarried partner and children under the age of 18 are regarded as dependants. A civil partner is a same-sex partner who you have entered into a legally recognized relationship with. An unmarried partner is someone with whom you have been in a relationship with akin to marriage, usually for 2 years or more.

Your dependants can only join you in the UK if:

  • You are doing a postgraduate level course of 12 months or longer OR you are government sponsored and your course is longer than 6 months;
  • They have a visa for this purpose;
  • You can support them without any help from public funds.

How can they apply to come to the UK?

Each dependant must complete application form VAF10– PBS Dependant. This can be downloaded from the UKBA website. They should refer to the ‘VAF10 Guidance Notes’ that are available on the same website, when completing the form, and also the PBS - Dependant Policy Guidance


Select your country on the UKBA country finder website to find out:

  • How to apply in your country;
  • The location of visa application centres;
  • How long it takes to process visa applications;
  • How documents will be returned.

What are the maintenance requirements for dependants?

Dependants of students living outside London must be able to show evidence that they have access to living costs of £450 per month for up to 9 months (£4,050) depending on the length of the student’s course. Evidence normally provided is bank statements. The funds must have been held for 28 consecutive days prior to the application being submitted. The statements must not be dated more than 1 calendar month before the application is submitted.

If you are financially sponsored by an official sponsor (such as a government) and they are also providing funds for your dependants then you will need a letter from them confirming this.

It is advised that you study the PBS - Dependant Policy Guidance carefully to ensure that the maintenance requirement is met. The UKBA is very specific about the format of documents. Please ensure that you read the section on maintenance to ensure that your documents are acceptable.

What documents will be required?

  • Dependants’ passport(s);
  • One recent passport sized photograph that meets the UKBA requirements;
  • Visa fee of £289
  • Evidence that your dependant can meet the maintenance requirement as detailed above;
  • Supporting documents relevant to their application. As a guide, your dependants should
    include:
    • Evidence of their relationship to you e.g. marriage or birth certificate;
    • A photocopy of your own passport details page and your UK visa, either in the form of a sticker in your passport or a Biometric Residence Permit;
    • A personal letter inviting your dependants to join you;
    • A student status letter (available on request from Registry);

A photocopy of each document in addition to the original should be submitted

Dependant visa conditions

  • Your dependants’ visas will be granted until your own visa expires. If you need to extend your visa then they will also need to extend theirs;
  • Adult dependants may be required to register with the Police;
  • They can only work if you have been granted a student visa for 12 months or longer;
  • They will be prohibited from working if you applied for your student visa on or after 3rd March 2010 and your course is below degree level (except for foundation degrees);
  • Dependants over 16 will be able to study but will not be able to switch to student status from within the UK;
  • Children of compulsory school age (5-16) are eligible to attend state funded schools;
  • They will not be able to access public funds including Child Benefit, Working Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit.

Where can I get further information and advice?

UKCISA (the UK Council for International Student Affairs) have very useful information available on their web site.

If you have further queries then you can discuss your situation with an International Student Adviser. To arrange an appointment please contact International Student Support.