Applying for a dependant visa

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

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, you generally can have dependants apply with you in the UK on the Student Route if:

  • You are a government-sponsored student, and your course is full-time and at least 6 months long;  or
  • You are studying a course at postgraduate level which is 9 months or longer

In addition you must be 18 or older, and the members of your family must be eligible dependants as defined under the UK Immigration Rules. Please note, that 'Child Students' can not bring dependants under their visa route. There are full details on the UKCISA guidance webpage.

If you are applying for a course which does not meet the requirements (for example, a Presessional English course), your dependants will not be able to join you through the Student Route; but if you move on to a course which does meet the requirements (for example, a 12-month Masters course) they you may be able to consider this.

There are additional provisions for children born to students who are already in the UK on a Student Route visa - see Children born while Student in the UK.

Who is classified as a dependant under the Student Route?

The following persons 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 if lived together for at least 2 years akin to a marriage (age 18 or over). Please check UKCISA guidance for further information.
  • Your children (aged under 18 in their first visa application)

Dependant child - 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 where there is shared parental responsibility. For a single parent with sole parental responsibility for the child you should be able to apply for your dependant child. See the visa requirements below for a dependant child:

  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.

 If the above applies to your dependant, you will need to provide supporting evidence to the UKVI to satisfy that the dependant is eligible and evidence your parental relationship under the UK Immigration Rules.  If you need advice on the type of documents a dependant may need to provide, please check the UKCISA guidance before contacting the IST for advice. 

Can my dependants work in the UK?

Whether your family can work in the UK depends on your course and the type of visa.

Your dependents will be able to work under the Student Route if:

  • You are a government-sponsored student, and your course is full-time and at least 6 months long; OR 
  • You are studying a course at postgraduate level which is 9 months or longer

Please check UKCISA guidance for more information on dependants working.  

How to apply

You can find out about other possible visa options on the GOV online guide that can give you basic information with the relevant GOV visa webpages. 

If you are applying for a Student visa at the same time as your dependant (dependant visa), then please make sure to contact the IST for help if you are unsure. If your dependants are applying separately from you, the IST will not be checking your dependant's documents as this will be your own responsbility. You can contact the IST for advice and guidance if you are still unsure after checking the relevant UKCISA advice webpage. For detailed information, please read the section for dependants on page 98 on the UKVI Student and Child Student caseworker guidance.

Student Dependant Visa Application - Your partner and children must apply online as dependants:

Apply online as your partner
Apply online as your child

To support a dependant visa application, you will need to prepare and submit supporting documents (evidence) for each of them.

As part of their application, they’ll need to have their fingerprints and photograph taken at a visa application centre (to get a biometric residence permit).

Documents you need for evidence

Documents list

In addition to the documents you submit for your own Student visa application, you will also be required to submit the required supporting evidence for each dependant applicant. The UKVI are strict about the types of documents they will accept as valid evidence. If your documents do not meet the UKVI requirements, the application may be refused. It is very important that you check your prepared evidence carefully before you make a visa application for a dependant. 

We have listed the main types of supporting documents you may need. You may need to submit the following for each dependnat applicant:

  • Proof that you have the amount of money required by UKVI for their maintenance (see money requirements)
  • Valid passport
  • Copy of any other passports or previous visas that the applicant may have used to enter the UK in the past - may be required
  • Relationship proof for dependant eligiblity (for example, original marriage certificate for your husband or wife; birth certificate for child)
  • Certified translation document for any visa documents that are not in English (see translation requirements)

Low-risk nationality

If your dependant is from a 'low-risk' country you should still prepare all the evidence as listed above. However, you won't need to submit financial evidence with the visa application if they are deemed as a 'low risk' national and are applying from the UK or their home country/country of residence. Instead, the UKVI can ask for this later, so you are advised to hold these documents.

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 financial visa documents when they are asked for, your visa application will be refused. 

Which countries are low-risk?

You can check if you or your dependants hold a nationality that is deemed as 'low risk' in the 'Differential Agreement' section under the Student Route visa: Student visa : Money you need - GOV.UK (



What are some of the reasons for Dependant partner visa application refusals?

  • Insufficient funds.
  • Missing or incomplete documents, in particular financial documents.
  • Not sending in documents when requested by UKVI.
  • A live immigration ban preventing the student or the dependant from entering the UK.
  • A warning from a previous refusal for deception or where fraudulent documents were submitted.
  • Long unexplained study gaps.
  • Incomplete employment record where the periods between study have been spent in employment but you have presented a timeline which still has large gaps that are not satisfactorily explained.

What can you do to minimise the risk of a Dependant visa refusal?

  • Ensure you correctly calculate the necessary funding required to cover both the student and any dependant spouse or partner and children, where applicable.
  • Check the rules on proof of finance for a dependant visa application.  The same funds cannot be used more than once as proof of finance. 
  • Submit all mandatory documents in support of your application to conclusively evidence that you meet the funds requirement.
  • Ensure that your contact email address is active and you regularly check your main inbox and spam or junk folders to ensure that you are aware of communications from UKVI.
  • You could provide a supporting letter stating why you left or did not continue in formal education and what you have been doing in the interim period for example, working.
  • You could provide a supporting letter explaining periods between employment(s).

What are the main reasons for refusals of Dependant child visa applications?

  • Both parents are not travelling to the UK with the child.
  • Only one parent is in the child’s life and the other parent has no impact or input but his has not been satisfactorily evidenced.  

What kind of evidence is acceptable as proof of sole responsibility of a child?


  • Court order awarding sole custody following a parents’ divorce.
  • Death Certificate of a deceased parent.

What kind of documents are submitted but do not meet the requirements?


  • A letter from a Solicitor or a self-attested/Affidavit document stating that one parent is content for the other parent to travel with a child or children.
  • A parent travelling to the UK on a visitor visa.
  • Reasons for the other parent not travelling are not deemed to be serious and compelling.

The decision maker will decide each application on its individual merits, also considering whether there are sufficient compelling and compassionate reasons why the child is unable to remain with the non-travelling parent. 

Where can I find guidance on Dependant visas?

Further details on Dependant visa criteria can be found here:

Student visa – Your partner and children 

What happens if documents do not meet the requirements?

When applications and their supporting documents do not initially meet the requirements, the UKVI may contact you for additional information before making a decision on your visa application.  This will delay your visa application.  Your visa application could be refused.