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The University of Southampton
Student Services

FAQ Family and dependants

This page features frequently asked questions about family and dependants of students on a Tier 4 visa.

It is important that you carefully read the questions on this page before contacting the University's Visas and Immigration Student Advice Service. However, if your question has not been answered then please contact us through our online enquiry form.

Can I bring my family with me?

If your programme of study is 12 months or longer in duration and at QCF/NQF level 7 and above then you are permitted to bring dependants (partners and/or children) with you. New government sponsored students following a course longer than 6 months are also permitted to bring dependants.

Who can come to the UK as a dependant of a Tier 4 (General) Student?

 Your family members can only come to the UK if:

• You hold (or are applying for) a Tier 4 (General) visa in order to study a course at Masters level or above for 12 months or more.

• You are a new government-sponsored student who holds (or is applying for) a Tier 4 (General) visa and you are coming to the UK to follow a course of more than six months.



Which of my family members can come to the UK as my dependants?

 Only certain family members can apply to come to the UK as your dependants. These are:

• Your husband or wife (also called your 'spouse').

• Your partner (including same-sex partner) if you have been living together for at least two years before you apply to come to the UK.

• Your children if they are under 18.



I am applying for leave to remain under the Doctorate Extension Scheme. Can I apply for dependants to stay with me?

Yes. When you make an appointment to see one of our visa advisors please make sure that you mention that you have dependants, as your appointment slot will need to be longer.

Can my family or friends visit me whilst I am studying in the United Kingdom?

Yes, if your family or friends are visiting then they will have to apply for a Standard Visitor Visa. If your family members are applying as visitors, it would be helpful if you can provide a letter of invitation. Remember to include details of your immigration status, for example, Tier 4 General student at the University of Southampton and include a photocopy of your current visa and the photo page of your passport. More information is available on our webpage about inviting visitors to the UK.

If the visit is for graduation, it is a good idea for your guests to explain the reason for their visit in their visa application and explain if you will be providing accommodation for them during their visit. When you apply for your graduation online, you will have the option to request a letter from the Graduation Team to support your guests' visa applications. You can find more information on the webpage for your graduation day

Please note that family or friends who hold a passport for a nation within the European Union or Switzerland, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway do NOT have to apply for a visa to enter the United Kingdom.

What do my dependants need to do to get a visa?

All family members applying to come to the UK as dependants will need to apply for Entry Clearance from outside the UK. For more information, please go to the Tier 4 (General) dependants webpage.

What documents will my dependants need to provide in support of their application?

 They will need to provide evidence which must show their relationship to the main applicant. This will normally be either their marriage certificate (spouse) or birth certificate (children).

All evidence must be accompanied by certified translations.

If you are not married to your partner then you will need to provide documents which prove you have been living together in a relationship similar to marriage for a minimum of two years.



Maintenance requirement: How much money is required for each dependant?

Maintenance means the amount of money that a dependant has to show to prove they have enough money to support themselves in the UK. There are different amounts, depending on whether the Tier 4 student is studying in inner London or elsewhere in the UK. The University of Southampton is outside of London. 

For applications made on or after 24 November 2016, each dependant applying for a visa from outside the UK or extending in country will need to show that they have £680 per month for the duration of the Tier 4 students leave up to a maximum of 9 months (£6120) in a bank account in their name [or that of the Tier 4 (General) student] for 28 days before applying for their visa.  Dependants that are extending in the UK for a period of less than 9 months will need to take into account the additional time given by the Home Office after the main applicants course end date.  In most cases this is an additional 4 months leave.

Example: if a PhD student is extending their visa for 2 months, the visa duration given would be 6 months.  Dependants will therefore need to show 6 months of maintenance (i.e. the duration of the visa); the student (main applicant) would only be required to show money for 2 months only.

Established presence is no longer available.



Will my dependants be able to work in the UK?

 Your dependants will not be able to take employment as a doctor or dentist in training. However, they will be able to work full-time without restrictions (including self-employment), if:

- You hold (or are applying for) a Tier 4 (General) visa in order to study a course at Masters level or above for 12 months or more.

- You are a government-sponsored student currently studying or applying to study a course of more than 6 months.



Can my dependants study in the UK?

There are currently no restrictions on dependants studying in the UK. There are no restrictions on the level or type of study, but dependants are advised to obtain ATAS clearance if they are studying a course that would normally require this.

Will my children be able to attend school in the UK?

Provided your children are admitted to the UK as your dependants, they will normally be able to attend state (government funded) schools in the UK free of charge if they are aged between 5 and 16. Please see our childcare page for information on childcare and schooling options in the UK.

Will my newborn baby need a dependant visa?


If your baby is born in the UK and is not a British citizen, he or she is permitted to remain in the UK without making an immigration application. However, your baby will need immigration permission to re-enter the UK after any travel outside of the country.

You can apply for immigration permission for your baby, as your dependant, from either inside the UK or from your home country.

Should you need to suspend your studies due to pregnancy, you and any dependants will normally need to leave the UK then apply for new Tier 4 entry clearance in order to return to the UK and continue your studies. Please see our Maternity leave frequently asked questions (FAQs) for more information. 

If you are making a Visa application from inside the UK, we recommend you speak to one of our Visa Advisors who will be able to offer you guidance and support.



Will I need to pay the Immigration Healthcare Surcharge (IHS) for my baby?

 From April 2015, babies who are born in the UK, after the age of 3 months are not entitled to free healthcare, except where emergency treatment is required. Therefore, if you require healthcare services for your baby, you must pay for private healthcare or make an immigration application within the first 3 months of your baby’s life and pay the Immigration Healthcare Surcharge; please see UK visas and Immigration (UKVI). For more information, please visit UKVI Healthcare .




Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

If you are uncertain about anything or you have a query, then our comprehensive frequently asked questions (FAQs) page may have the answer.

Visa Drop-in and Appointments

Visa Drop-in and Appointments

You can talk to one of our visa advisors by coming to a visa drop-in session, or you can book an appointment for an in-depth discussion.

Enquiry Form

Enquiry Form

You can contact us through our online enquiry form. We strongly encourage people to contact us through the online enquiry form rather than to email us directly.

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