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My student visa was issued before 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 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

How can they apply to come to the UK?

Each dependant must complete application form VAF3B. This can be downloaded from the UKBA website. They should refer to the VAF guidance notes that are available on the same web page, when completing the form.

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 documents will be required?

  • Dependants’ passport(s);
  • One recent passport sized photograph that meets the UKBA requirements;
  • Visa fee of £255;
  • Evidence that sufficient funds are available to support your family. The evidence must be in the form of your own or your dependants bank statements, or a letter and bank statements from a financial sponsor. The bank statements should cover the 3 month period prior to the application being submitted. Unlike Tier 4 dependants, there is no set amount of money that must be shown in order to be granted immigration permission as your dependants. However, it is sensible to show an amount that is similar to the requirement for Tier 4 dependants because this is based on average living costs in the UK and UKBA decision makers are used to checking that families can meet these requirements. The figures are £450 per month, up to a maximum of £4,050 if you are studying outside London;
  • Supporting documents relevant to their application. As a guide, your dependants should
    • 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;
    • Evidence that suitable accommodation is available in the UK e.g. a tenancy agreement or a letter from your landlord in the UK.

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;
  • 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 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.