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To be able to have dependants with you (partner and children), you will need to be a postgraduate student (this doesn't include premasters) and your course has to be at least 9 months long, or you will need to be a government-sponsored student and then your course has to be at least six months long. If you do not meet these requirements then your family will only be able to visit you for short periods of time with a visitor visa.
If you have a child dependant then the other parent must also be with you in the UK unless:
When here with child dependants, the other parent cannot be here with a visitor visa.
More details from UKCISA
It is possible to switch from a Tier 4 visa to a dependant visa in the UK, but if you want to switch from a dependant visa to a Tier 4 visa, then you have to leave the UK and apply from your home country.
It is not possible to switch from a visitor visa to a dependant visa in the UK.
Check with ISAT for details if you and/or your partner are switching between Tier 4 and dependant visas.
Use the UKVI Dependant online application form to apply outside the UK.
If you are applying in North Korea, download and print the latest VAF 10 (PDF) dependants' form.
Each dependant needs to show £680 a month for living costs but only up to a maximum of nine months.
The living costs for a dependant partner can be shown by the Tier 4 student or the dependant. The UKVI guidance for the living costs for a dependant child are not clear but it should be possible for either parent to have the money. The dependant cannot show evidence of money to cover the living costs of the Tier 4 student.
Unlike for Tier 4 students, the living costs for dependants are calculated on the duration of their visa (not the length of the course of study). This means that dependants sometimes have to show living costs for more months than the Tier 4 student.
The start of the period
The UKVI provide the following guidance for the start date for the period of time a dependant needs to cover for their living costs:
The end of the period
The end date for the period of time a dependant needs to cover for their living costs will either be nine months from the start of the period above or the end of the Tier 4 student's visa, whichever is earliest.
You can calculate the end date of the Tier 4 student's visa if they are applying at the same time as the dependant by referring to the information at the bottom of our page on 'After applying'.
Home Office information for student dependants
UKCISA advice for dependants
You can also contact ISAT for advice
We also have information about staying in the UK with your family.