If you are considering bringing your family members to join you in the UK whilst you study, you should first read about the visa application they will need to make.

If you are applying for a Tier 4 visa (or already hold one) and you have dependants, they may be able to apply for PBS dependant visa to join you in the UK. You may want them to apply for their visa(s) at the same time as you, or you may prefer them to apply for their visa at a later date.

For Tier 4 students, dependants are defined by UKVI as:

  • A husband or wife
  • A civil partner
  • An unmarried partner who has been in a relationship with you similar to marriage for at least two years
  • A child (children must be aged under 18 to apply for a dependant visa)

You can usually bring dependants to join you in the following circumstances:

  • If your course is a postgraduate course and it at least 9 months long
  • If you are studying below postgraduate level, but you receive official financial sponsorship from a government for your study. Your course must be at least 6 months long 

Detailed information

We strongly recommend you or your dependant to read the PBS Dependant Policy Guidance for full information of the requirements of the dependant visa.

You can also view UKVI's overview of the Tier 4 dependant visa.

The International Student Advice Service can advise you on dependant visa applications, if you need it.

Making the dependant visa application

If your dependant (or dependants) are applying for a visa outside of the UK, they will need to complete an online application form.  Each dependant needs to complete a separate application form.  At the time of writing the application fee is £348 per dependant.

If your dependant/s are applying for a visa inside the UK, they will need to complete an online application form.  If they are making the application at the same time that you are making your Tier 4 visa application, you should indicate in your answers that you have a dependant/s applying with you.  The application form will then generate extra sections for each dependant which you then fill in with their details.

At the time of writing, the PBS dependant application fee inside the UK is £475 for a standard application. There are also other services available such as the priority service. Once you pay your application fee, you will be taken to another screen to book your biometrics appointment.

Please note, that depending on where you attend your appointment there can be a fee for this. The appointment service is provided by a third-party company called Sopra Steria and may include additional charges. The application form will explain how to book this appointment and attend it. To find out more information on this please visit the UKCISA website.

Funds in the bank

For each dependant, there is a fixed amount of money that must be held in a bank account for a 28 day period.  These funds can be held in a bank account belonging to the dependant, or to you.  See the PBS Dependant Policy Guidance for confirmation of the amounts that apply and contact the International Student Advisers for advice on the application if you need it.

Conditions of the Dependant visa

If you have been issued a visa which is longer than 9 months and for postgraduate level study, your dependants should have the right to work in the UK.  Their visa will confirm this. Check the wording on it carefully and seek advice if unsure. It is very important to be sure of the restrictions to working in the UK to avoid breaching any conditions.

These regulations are reasonably complex, so seek advice where necessary. The International Student Advice Service can advise you on dependant visas if you need it.

Visit visas

If your dependant/s wants to join you for a visit only, or they cannot apply for a dependant visa, they could apply for a visit visa instead. The visit visa is an option for family members other than partners and children and also for friends. See our information on inviting a visitor to the UK for more guidance on this.

The information on this page is correct at the time of writing. Whilst we try to make sure the information we provide is accurate, immigration policy changes frequently. You should therefore always refer to the official gov.uk website to ensure that you have up-to-date information: https://www.gov.uk/browse/visas-immigration