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Student Dependant Visas: What You Need to Know

Jun 05, 2023
Last Updated on May 21, 2024

As an international student studying in the UK, you may be able to bring your dependants (i.e. your partner and children) to live with you. Student dependant visa holders can live, work, and study in the UK while you remain here on your student visa. In this article, we will explain everything you need to know about the UK’s student dependant visa scheme including the possible changes in policy recently announced by the government.

Student Dependant Visas Requirements

In order to apply as a dependant, the main student visa holder be studying on a course to a sufficiently high level. This means that must be a full-time student on a postgraduate level course (i.e. a course at or above RQF level 7) of 9 months or longer. The main visa holder can also be government-sponsored student on a course of longer than 6 months or a Doctorate Extension Scheme student.

Applicants must be a dependant of a current student visa holder. Eligible dependants include the civil partner, wife, or husband of the main student visa holder, unmarried partners, and children under the age of 18.

In addition, each dependant must have sufficient funds to support themselves while in the UK, as follows:

  • Courses based in London: £845 a month for up to 9 months
  • Courses based outside London £680 a month for up to 9 months

The sufficient support funds requirement does not apply, apply if they dependant has already been in the UK for 12 months or more.

Student Dependant Visa application costs

At the time writing, the application fee for a student dependant visa is £363 for applications made outside the UK and £490 for applications made inside the UK. In addition, student dependant visa applicants must pay the healthcare surcharge allowing access to the National Health Service (NHS). The current healthcare surcharge is £470 per year per person, hence for 2 dependans, the fee will be £940 per year.

How to apply for a Student Dependant Visa

To apply to a student dependant visa, you will first need to complete the online visa application form. This can be done at the same time as applying for your student visa, or at a later date when you are in the UK. The application form you need to complete will depend on whether you are applying from outside of the UK for a child or partner, or from inside the UK for a child or partner. It is not, possible, however, to apply for a student dependant visa for dependants who are in the UK on a visit visa, a short-term student visa, a Parent of a Child Student visa, a seasonal worker visa, or a domestic worker in a private household visa.

You may be required to provide the Global Web Form (GWF) or Unique Application Number (UAN) for the main student visa application to ensure that all of your applications are linked together.

Once you have completed and submitted the application for, you will need to pay the application fees and healthcare surcharges. An appointment will also need to be made with a UKVCAS office or visa application centre to have a photo taken and fingerprints scanned for each dependant. And finally, you will need to upload or supply any documents required by UK Visas and Immigration to support the visa application. The documents required may include:

  • Evidence of relationship to the main visa holder – marriage or civil partnership certificate for your partner and a birth certificate for your child
  • For children aged 16 or 17 – details of where they live (including why they do not live with you if applicable), any rent or other costs you pay on their behalf, and proof of address (i.e.  bank, statement, credit card bills, driving licence, NHS registration document, or official letter from their university or college)

You will also need to provide evidence that your dependant has sufficient funds to support themselves while in the UK (as outlined above) – i.e. a bank statement. If you are applying for a student visa and student dependant visas at the same time, you will need to provide evidence of sufficient funds to pay for your course and support funds for all applicants. Any funds must have been held for at least 28 consecutive days before applying.

If approved, your dependants will be able to travel to and enter the UK to join you. On arrival in the UK, they will then have 10 days to collect their biometric residence permit. Their visa will have the same expiry date as shown on your student visa.

Recent changes to policy on Student Visas and Student Dependant visas

On 23rd May 2023, the Home Office announced new restrictions on student visa and student dependant visa routes. Announcing the changes, the Home Secretary Suella Braverman stated:

“The UK is a top destination for the brightest students to learn at some of the world’s best universities. But we have seen an unprecedented rise in the number of student dependents being brought into the country with visas.

It is time for us to tighten up this route to ensure we can cut migration numbers and meet the government’s pledge to the British people to cut net migration. This is the fair thing to do to allow us to better protect our public services, while supporting the economy by allowing the students who contribute the most to keep coming here”.

The proposed changes which are estimated to come into force in January 2024 include:

  • The removal of the right for international students to bring dependants to the UK  unless on a research postgraduate programme
  • The removal of the ability for international students to switch to a work visa before their studies have been completed.
  • A review of the maintenance requirements for students and student dependants
  • Increased efforts to prevent unscrupulous education agents supporting inappropriate applications to sell immigration not education.
  • Better communicating immigration rules to the higher education sector and to international students.
  • Improved and more targeted enforcement activity.

We will continue to keep you updated with the progress of these proposed changes to the student visa and student dependant visa routes in the coming months.

A Y & J Solicitors is a specialist immigration law firm with extensive experience with points-based dependant visa applications. We have an in-depth understanding of immigration law and are professional and results-focused. For assistance with your visa application or any other UK immigration law concerns, please contact us on +44 20 7404 7933 or at contact us today. We’re here to help!

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A Y & J Solicitors is a multi-award winning, 14+ years experienced, recommended by Legal 500, boutique UK immigration law firm based in Central London. Having assisted 5000+ clients, we are well equipped to help you with our ‘In It To Win It’ approach. For your assurance and confidence, we are pleased to share our trust rating of 4.9/5 based on 1000+ reviews on Trustpilot & Google.

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