Applying for a dependant visa

City collage

If your course is six months or longer, you may be able to apply for your family to join you in the UK. 

If you are a new student to the UK you can only bring your family to the UK if:

  • you are studying a course at postgraduate level which is 12 months or longer, or 
  • you are a Government-sponsored student and your course is over 6 months long 

In addition you must be 18 or older, and the members of your family must be classified as your dependants under UK immigration rules.

If you are applying for a course which does not meet the requirements (for example, a presessional English course), your family will not be able to join you; but if you move on to a course which does meet the requirements (for example, a 12 months masters course) they can then apply to join you.

Who is classified as a dependant?

The following people can come into the UK as your dependants:

  • Your husband or wife (age 18 or over)
  • Your civil partner, same-sex partner, or unmarried partner (age 18 or over). Please check UKCISA guidance for the UK definitions of these terms
  • Your children (age under 18)

Child dependants if only one parent is applying to be in the UK

The immigration rules state that both parents must be legally present in the UK . The only exceptions listed by the UKVI are:

  1.  That the other parent is dead or
  2. That you have and have had sole responsibility for the child's upbringing, or
  3. 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.

 You will need to provide supporting evidence that you meet one of the above criteria.  If you need advice on documents to provide please contact the IST

Can my family work in the UK?

Whether your family can work in the UK depends on your course and your visa. In general, if your course is at degree level or higher and your visa is granted for 12 months or longer, your family should be given permission to work in the UK. The only circumstance in which you will be able to work in the UK if the main applicant’s course is below degree level and less than 12 months is if the main applicant is a Government sponsored student’

How to apply

This page has basic information on applying for a student dependant visa if you are also applying for a student visa at the same time.  If your dependants are applying separately from you, you should contact the IST for advice. For detailed information on immigration requirements, you should always read the UKVI student dependant policy guidance (PDF - 350KB).

You can check the visa application process for your country on the UK Visas site.This will tell you where you can make your application, and will give you links to your options for applying.If you have a choice of information, you will need to look at the information for student dependant visas. 

If you are completing a paper application, you will need form VAF10 (PDF - 88KB), and the VAF 10 guidance notes (PFD -64KB).

To support your application, you will also need to provide the documents below.

Documents you need for evidence

Documents list

In addition to the documents you submit for your own visa application, you will need to submit further documents for each dependant. The UKVI are very strict about the documents they will accept as evidence. If your documents do not meet the UKVI requirements exactly, the application will be refused. It is very important that you check your documents carefully. 

We have listed the main types of document you will need. You will need to submit the following original documents for each dependant:

  • Proof that you have the amount of money required by UKVI for their maintenance (see money requirements)
  • 2 passport-sized photographs, which must meet the UKVI photo guidance
  • Current passport
  • Any other passports or visas that they have used to come to the UK in the past. 
  • Proof that they are your dependant - for example, marriage certificate for your husband or wife, birth certificate for children
  • Translation of any documents that are not in English (see translation requirements)
  • If your children are 16 or over, you will need extra evidence, please see paragraph 95 onwards of the UKVI PBS Dependants policy guidance
  • All the documents must be originals.

Low-risk countries and documents to submit

If you are from a low-risk country you should still collect all the evidence listed above. However, you won't need to submit financial evidence with your application. Instead, the UKVI can ask for it when it is processing your visa application.

If you are asked for this evidence while your application is being processed, you will be given a deadline by which to provide it.  If you fail to provide the documents when they are asked for, your visa application will be refused. If you have an appointment with the UKVI you must take all the documents with you.

Which countries are low-risk?

Low risk countries list and information

Further information

You can find more detailed information on the UKCISA guide for dependants' visas.

You can also contact the University's International Student Team for further immigration help.