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International Students

 

Some Tier 4 students are eligible to bring family to the UK as a visa dependant. The following provides guidance on which students are eligible to bring dependants, who can come as a dependant and how to apply for the visa.

Am I eligible to bring Tier 4 dependants?

The Home Office permits a Tier 4 student to bring dependant family members in certain circumstances. Family members are eligible to apply for a dependant visa if:

  • Your course is at postgraduate level and at least 9 months long OR
  • You are a government sponsored student on a course that is 6 months or longer. This means you are being financially sponsored for your studies by the UK government or an overseas government.

If you currently have a Tier 4 visa, or you recently had immigration permission as a Tier 4 student, your family members will be eligible to apply for a dependant visa in the following circumstances:

  • your immigration permission is current or it expired no more than 3 month before the new visa application AND
  • your new course is over 6 months long AND
  • your family members already have Tier 4 dependant immigration permission (or it expired no more than 3 months before the new visa application) AND
  • your family members make the application for a dependant visa at the same time as your new Tier 4 application.

 

 

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

A dependant for Tier 4 purposes is:

  • A husband, wife or civil partner.
  • An unmarried partner if you have been living together in a relationship similar to marriage or civil partnership for a period of at least 2 years.
  • A child under 18 years old.

If you are extending your leave as a Tier 4 student and have children over the age of 18, they may be able to apply for Leave to Remain as a Tier 4 Dependant. Please contact the International Student Office for further advice.

If your husband, wife, civil partner or unmarried parter is applying as your dependant the relationship must be genuine and subsisting at the time of application and you must intend to live together throughout your stay in the UK.

If your partner is not coming to the UK with you, but you wish to bring your child/children as your dependants, the Home Office 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, or that you have 'sole responsibility' of the child, and that you have made suitable arrangements for the child's care. It is recommended that you contact the International Student Office if this is relevant to your circumstances.

Applying from overseas as a Tier 4 dependant

When to apply

A dependant can apply at the same time as the Tier 4 student or after the student has received the outcome of their visa application.

How much does it cost?

The application fees is £348 in local currency for each dependant application. Dependants are also required to pay the immgration health surcharge which is charged at £150 per year for the duration the visa will be valid.

Where to apply

Similar to a Tier 4 student, dependants should apply in their country of nationality or country of residence (where you have permission to live). The application is made online. A separate application needs to be completed for each dependant.

In most countries, as part of the online application an appointment is booked to attend the visa application centre to enrol biometrics (have your fingerprints and facial image taken) and submit supporting documents.

Applicants in the USA, New Zealand and some cities in Australia attend a biometrics appointment and, following this, must send their supporting documents to UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI).

Financial requirements

As part of the visa application dependants must have sufficient funds to cover living costs in the UK. This is £680 for each month the visa will be valid, up to a maximum of 9 months. This is a total of £6120 per dependant if the visa will be granted for 9 months or more (9 x £680).

A bank statement or bank letter can be used to fulfil this requirement and the funds can be held in the student's name or the spouse / partner's name. The financial documentation must show that the required level of funds have been held for a minimum consecutive 28 day period (finishing on the date of the closing balance), ending no more than 31 days before the date of application.

If the student has official financial sponsorship which covers the living costs of any dependants, a letter from the sponsor confirming this can be submitted to fulfil the financial requirements. The letter would need to confirm the amount they are providing to cover the living costs for any dependants. If it does not cover the full amount required, additional financial docuemtnation would need to be provided.

Financial requirements - differentiation arrangements

Nationals of the following countries qualify for differentiation arrangements if the dependant holds the same nationality as the student and both are applying for their visas at the same time:

Argentina, Australia, Bahrain, Barbados, Botswana, Brunei, Cambodia, Canada, Chile, China, The Dominican Republic, Hong Kong*, Indonesia, Japan, Kuwait, Macau SAR*, Malaysia, The Maldives, Mexico, New Zealand, Qatar, Serbia, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan**, Thailand, Trinidad and Tobago, United Arab Emirates, United States of America, British National Overseas*

* Where the applicant is a rightful holder of a passport which has been issued by the relevant competent authority.

**Those who hold a passport issued by Taiwan that includes the number of the identification card issued by the competent authority in Taiwan

If you qualify for differentiation arrangements, financial documents will not need to be submitted with the visa application. However it is possible for these documents to be requested during the consideration process so you should make sure you have them in the manner required under Tier 4 at the point of making your visa application.

Financial requirements - Tier 4 pilot

As the University of Cambridge is participating in a Tier 4 visa pilot scheme, all dependants applying for a visa at the same time as a student who is undertaking a Masters course of 13 months or less are also subject to differentiation arrangements. This means dependants in these circumstances will not need to provide financial evidence with their visa application. They are required to hold the funds in the manner specified, as outlined above, and could be asked to provide evidence of this during the visa application process.

Other supporting documents

The following documents also need to be provided in support of a dependant application:

  • Passport
  • TB test certificate if applicable - check on the gov.uk website
  • Evidence of relationship to main applicant:
    • If you are married or in a civil partnership, you would provide the marriage certificate or civil partnership certificate. If you have been recently married or been married for some time but not living together, it may be advisable to provide additional evidence of a subsisting relationship. In these circumstances, contact the International Student Office for further guidance.  
    • If you are not married, you will need to provide evidence that you have been living together in a relationship similar to marriage for at least two years. Documents will only be considered where they are from official sources. They will need to cover the minimum two year period in full. Documents you may use to evidence this could include bank statements, utility bills, tenancy agreements and medical registration certificates.
    • For dependant children, a birth certificate should be used to demonstrate the relationship. For children over 16 years old when they apply, documentation confirming their residential address from two separate sources will need to be provided to prove they are not leading an independent life. Contact the International Student Office for further guidance on children over 16 years old.
  • The outcome of the main applicant's decision (if applying separately to the main applicant). The dependant would need access to the main applicant's decision letter OR a copy of their BRP.

Documents submitted with a visa application should be originals. Any documents not in English must be accompanied by official certified translations.

Obtaining the visa and collecting the BRP

A 30 day permit is issued in the passport which enables travel to the UK.The actual visa, in the form of a Biometric Residence Permit (BRP), will need to be collected within 10 days of arriving in the UK. The BRP can be collected from the University or Post Office.

Applying from inside the UK as a Tier 4 dependant

When to apply

The Home Office advises dependants to apply at the same time the student is extending, or switching into, their Tier 4 visa. A dependant application can be added to a Tier 4 student application.

A family member cannot switch to be on a dependant visa if they are in the UK as a visitor or short-term student.

How much does it cost?

The application fee is £477 for the standard service, which takes up to 8 weeks. There are prioirty and premium services available. Dependants are also required to pay the immigration health surcharge which is charged at £150 per year for the duration the visa will be valid.

Financial requirements

As part of the visa application dependants must be able to prove sufficient funds to cover living costs in the UK. This is £680 for each month the visa will be valid, up to a maximum of 9 months. 

The additional time granted on the end of the visa from the student's course end date is included in calculating the financial requirement for a dependant if the course length is less than 9 months. For example, PhD students will be granted an additional 4 months on the end of their visa from the course end date.   

A bank statement or bank letter can be used to fulfil this requirement and the funds can be held in the student's name or the spouse / partner's name. The financial documentation must show that  the required level of funds have been held for a minimum consecutive 28 day period (finishing on the date of the closing balance), ending no more than 31 days before the date of application.

If the student has official financial sponsorship which covers the living costs of any dependants, a letter from the sponsor confirming this can be submitted to fulfil the financial requirements. The letter would need to confirm the amount they are providing to cover the living costs for any dependants. If it does not cover the full amount required, additional financial docuemtnation would need to be provided.

Financial requirements - differentiation arrangements

Nationals of the following countries qualify for differentiation arrangements if the dependant holds the same nationality as the student and both are applying for their visas at the same time:

Argentina, Australia, Bahrain, Barbados, Botswana, Brunei, Cambodia, Canada, Chile, China, The Dominican Republic, Hong Kong*, Indonesia, Japan, Kuwait, Macau SAR*, Malaysia, The Maldives, Mexico, New Zealand, Qatar, Serbia, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan**, Thailand, Trinidad and Tobago, United Arab Emirates, United States of America, British National Overseas*

* Where the applicant is a rightful holder of a passport which has been issued by the relevant competent authority and where the applicant is applying for entry clearance in the territory related to that passport

**Those who hold a passport issued by Taiwan that includes the number of the identification card issued by the competent authority in Taiwan

If you qualify for differentation arrangements, financial documents will not need to be submitted with the visa application. However it is possible for these documents to be requested during the consideration process so you should make sure you have them in the manner required under Tier 4 at the point of making your visa application.

Financial requirements - Tier 4 pilot

As the University of Cambridge is participating in a Tier 4 visa pilot scheme, all dependants applying for a visa at the same time as a student who is undertaking a Masters course of 13 months or less are also subject to differentiation arrangements. This means dependants in these circumstances will not need to provide financial evidence with their visa application. They are required to hold the funds in the manner specified, as outlined above, and could be asked to provide evidence of this during the visa application process.

Other supporting documents

The following documents also need to be provided in support of a dependant application:

  • Passport
  • Two passport photographs
  • Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) if you have one for your current visa
  • Police registration certificate if required.
  • Evidence of relationship to main applicant:
    • If you are married or in a civil partnership, you would provide the marriage certificate or civil partnership certificate. If you have been recently married or been married for some time but not living together, it may be advisable to provide additional evidence of a subsisting relationship. In these circumstances, contact the International Student Office for further guidance.  
    • If you are not married, you will need to provide evidence that you have been living together in a relationship similar to marriage for at least two years. Documents will only be considered where they are from official sources. They will need to cover the minimum two year period in full. Documents you may use to evidence this could include bank statements, utility bills, tenancy agreements and medical registration certificates.
    • For dependant children, a birth certificate should be used to demonstrate the relationship. For children over 16 years old when they apply, documentation confirming their residential address from two separate sources will need to be provided to prove they are not leading an independent life. Contact the International Student Office for further guidance on children over 16 years old.

All documents submitted with a visa application should be originals. Any documents not in English must be accompanied by official certified translations.

 

 

Working as a Tier 4 dependant

A Tier 4 dependant is able to work in the UK except:

  • they cannot work as a professional sportsperson, which includes a sports coach.
  • they cannot work as a doctor or dentist in training unless they have a degree in medicine or dentistry from a UK institution or have previously been granted a UK visa that did not restrict their employment as a doctor or dentist in training and were employed as such during that period.
Children born in the UK

It is not necessary to apply for a Tier 4 dependant visa for a child born in the UK. However, if the child leaves the UK they will require immigration permission to re-enter. In addition, children born in the UK are able to use the NHS free of charge until they are 3 months old. After this, charges can apply for NHS treatment unless a Tier 4 dependant visa has been obtained for the child as the immigration health surcharge would be paid as part of this application.

When applying for a Tier 4 dependant visa for children born in the UK, both parents are required to be in the UK. Unless the Tier 4 student has 'sole responsibility' for the child or there are 'serious and compelling' reasons this is not possible.

Sources of further information

It is your responsibility to ensure you understand and meet the UK immigration requirements..

You are advised to read the information on the Home Office website and the PBS Dependant Guidance before applying for a Tier 4 dependant visa.

UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) provides information on dependant visas.

Contact us

The University's International Student Office provides a visa advice service and can assist with queries in relation to Tier 4 dependant visa applications.

Coming to the UK as a visitor

If your family members will not be based in the UK, or they are not eligible to apply for a dependant visa, they could visit you in the UK under the standard visitor route. A visitor can normally stay in the UK for up to 6 months. The Home Office provides further information on what you can and can't do as a visitor to the UK. Nationals from certain countries, i.e. a visa national, are required to apply for, and obtain, a standard visitor visa before travelling to the UK. If you are not a visa national, you may request entry as a visitor at immigration control on arrival in the UK.