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International Students


You will need to obtain the consent of your College, and supply evidence of additional financial support, if you wish to bring dependants. Graduate Admissions provides more information.

Am I eligible to bring Tier 4 dependants?

Only the following non EEA students can bring their family members to the UK as a Tier 4 dependant:

  • Studying at NQF level 7 or above and your course is longer than 12 months
  • A new government sponsored student on a course that is 6 months or longer
  • On the Doctorate Extension Scheme

If you are from within the EEA or Switzerland then you may be able to bring your family by obtaining an EEA family permit.

If you do not fit into any of these categories, then your family must look to obtain their own visas.

Who can come to the UK as a Tier 4 dependant?

A dependant is either:

  • Your husband, wife or civil partner (you must submit a marriage certificate or civil partnership document) If you are newly married it is recommended that your dependant submits additional official documentation to prove that you have been in a subsisting relationship
  • Your unmarried or same-sex partner (you must be able to submit official documentation such as rent agreements or joint bills  to prove to the UKVI that you have lived together in a relationship similar to marriage or civil partnership for a period of at least 2 years)
  • Your child under 18 years old. (you must provide a birth certificate which includes the names of both parents)

If your partner is not coming to the UK with you, but you wish to bring your child/children as your dependants, the Government only allows this in exceptional circumstances. In the dependant visa application you will have to evidence the 'serious and compelling' reasons why the child should be with you in the UK and that you have made suitable arrangements for the child's care. Examples of 'serious and compelling' reasons include having sole custody of the child due to divorce or the death of your partner.

When and how can my family members apply for a Tier 4 dependant visa?

Your dependants must have Tier 4 dependant immigration permission before they come to the UK. They can either apply at the same time as you or, if this is not possible, they can submit an application after you have received your visa.

Supporting documents

In addition to the evidence proving the relationship to the main Tier 4 visa holder, a dependant will need to submit their passport, two passport sized photographs and the financial evidence to prove that they can cover their living costs whilst in the UK. Each dependant must prove that they have 680GBP in living costs for each month of the visa up to a maximum of 9 months. Therefore the maximum amount required is 6120GBP. This can be evidenced through the applicants funds, the main applicants funds or, if the terms and conditions allow, the main applicants official financial sponsorship. If you are relying on your own or the main applicants bank account, the funds must have been available for a 28 day consecutive period ending on the date of the closing balance of a bank statement that is no older than 31 days before the date of the visa application.

The Home Office's Guidance for Dependants provides further information on how to apply for a Tier 4 dependant visa and the documents you need to provide with the application including the very specific requirements of the financial evidence.

With a successful visa application, you will be issued a 30 day entry permit which will enable you to enter the UK. Your actual visa, in the form of a Biometric Residence Permit (BRP), will need to be collected on arrival in the UK. If the entry permit is no longer valid on the date of travel to the UK, a replacement will need to be applied for at an additional cost. If your dependants are not going to be joining you when you first start at Cambridge, you may wish to consider for them to apply for their visas separately at a later stage.

Family members who can apply from within the UK

Family members with current entry clearance are able to apply to switch to a Tier 4 dependant visa or extend their existing dependant visa from within the UK. Babies born in the UK are also able to apply for entry clearance from within the UK.

Family members in the UK as visitors cannot switch into Tier 4 without leaving the country first

Already here as a Tier 4 dependant?

If you are in the UK as a dependant of another person with immigration permission, then your right to be here remains whilst that person's permission holds.

If that person's circumstances change, for example their permission expires or they permanently leave the UK or your relationship ends, this will affect your permission to remain in the UK. You may wish to contact the International Student Team if you are concerned about your immigration status.

EEA family member

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. The permit is similar to a visa.

Family visiting you

If your family wish to visit you in the UK for a short visit (that is less than six months), which may include attending graduation, then they will require a visitor visa. Your family is responsible for determining and obtaining the correct visa. The University will not normally provide a letter, you can do this or you may wish to submit evidence of your student status.

Sources of further information


Home Office

Contact us

The University's International Student Team provides a Visa Advice Service and can assist with queries in relation to Tier 4 dependant visa applications. However, it is the applicant's responsibility to make sure they understand and meet the UK immigration requirements.