Dependant visas

Who can apply as a dependant?

To be able to have dependants with you (partner and children), you will need to be one of the below:

  • a postgraduate student (this doesn't include premasters) and your course is at least 9 months long
  • 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.

Your partner

Your partner can be:

  • your husband or wife
  • your civil partner (civil partners are same or opposite sex couples who have registered their partnership therefore have gained formal, legal recognition of their relationship)
  • your unmarried partner or same-sex partner. You would need to be in a relationship with your partner and had a period of cohabitation of at least 2 years prior to applying for the dependant visa. You will need to evidence this as part of your application.

In all these cases, you must be both 18 years old (or older) at the time you apply for the immigration status and you both must intend to live together in the UK. 

Your child/children

If you have a child dependant then the other parent must also be with you in the UK unless:

  • you are the sole surviving parent, or
  • you have had sole responsibility for the child's upbringing, or
  • there are other serious or compelling reasons and suitable arrangements have been made in the UK for the child's care.

When here with child dependants, the other parent cannot be here with a visitor visa. 

Applying for a Student dependant visa

When to apply

A dependant can apply at the same time as the student or after. The dependant visa end date should match the end date of the Student visa. If applying in the UK, then the dependant must apply before their current visa end date.

How to apply in the UK

Your dependant cannot apply in the UK if they are on immigration bail or if their latest immigration permission was one of the following:

  • as a visitor; or
  • as a short-term student; or
  • as a parent of a Student/Tier 4 (Child); or
  • as a Seasonal Worker; or
  • as a Domestic Worker in a Private Household; or
  • outside the Immigration Rules.

How to apply outside the UK

Frequently asked questions