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Student Visa Dependants

Information on who can bring dependants to the UK

New international students with a Student Visa can only bring their dependants with them if the student is government sponsored and studying a course over 6 months long or the student is studying a postgraduate course which is at least 9 months long at a Higher Education Institution. PhD students who are on the Doctorate Extension Scheme and Start-up visa holders can also have dependants with them in the UK. 

Full guidance on bringing family members to the UK as your dependant can be found on the UKCISA and Home Office website.

Who can be my ‘dependant?’

Spouse (husband/wife): Your spouse is a person to whom you are legally married.

Civil Partner: Your civil partner is your same-sex partner with whom you have either registered a civil partnership in the UK, or entered into a similar form of legally recognized relationship in a different country. 

Partner: Your unmarried partner or same-sex partner. To be unmarried partners or same-sex partners, you need to have been living together in a relationship similar to marriage or civil partnership for a period of at least two years. 

Children: Children must be under the age of 18 when they first enter the UK as your children.

Any other family member therefore cannot be classed as a dependant under the Immigration Rules for students and so they must apply for immigration permission in some other category, for example, as a visitor, under Skilled Worker, or as a student in their own right.

Immigration requirements for dependants

Spouse or civil partner

To come to the UK as spouse/civil partner of a student, your spouse or civil partner must show the immigration authorities that s/he meets all of the following requirements:

  1. S/he is married to or has entered into a civil partnership with you that is recognized by the UK Government (evidence of this is your marriage certificate or proof of civil partnership)
  2. S/he intends to live together with you and your marriage or civil partnership is continuing.
  3. You can adequately accommodate and maintain yourselves without recourse to public funds (you need to provide evidence of suitable accommodation and funds)
  4. S/he does not intend to work in the UK unless permitted to do so.
  5. S/he intends to leave the UK at the end of the permitted stay.

Partner

To come to the UK as a partner of a student you must show the immigration authorities that s/he meets all of the following requirements:

  1. Evidence of 2 years or more of cohabitation.
  2. S/he intends to live together with you and your relationship is continuing.
  3. You can adequately accommodate and maintain yourselves without recourse to public funds (you need to provide evidence of suitable accommodation and funds)
  4. S/he does not intend to work in the UK unless permitted to do so.
  5. S/he intends to leave the UK at the end of the permitted stay.

Children

To bring your children to the UK, you must show the immigration authorities that your children meet all of the following requirements:

  1. They are your children (evidence of this is a birth certificate or adoption papers)
  2. They are under the age of 18 or have entered the UK when they were under the age of 18 and have current immigration permission (leave to enter or leave to remain) to be in the UK as the children of a student.
  3. They are not married or in a civil partnership and they do not lead independent family lives.
  4. They will be adequately accommodated and maintained without recourse to public funds (you need to provide evidence of suitable accommodation and funds)
  5. They will not stay in the UK beyond the period granted to you.
  6. Both of the child's parents must be coming to the UK (although neither parent can be coming with immigration permission as a 'visitor'). The only exceptions to the requirement that both parents must be coming to the UK are when their other parent is dead, or if you have had sole responsibility for the child's upbringing, or if there are other serious or compelling considerations that mean the child should be with you in the UK.

Accommodation
The University of Hertfordshire does not have family/married couple accommodation. For advice when looking for suitable accommodation see Renting Privately Off Campus or see the University website for details.

Health care
Your spouse and children are entitled to the same medical care as yourself. For more information about health care provision for international students and whether you are eligible for free NHS (National Health Service) see the UKCISA website. Please note that your spouse or dependant will not be permitted to register with the University Medical Centre on campus – they will need to find another doctors surgery off campus.

Childcare and education
Free schooling is only available for children after they are five years old. You will therefore either have to care for your young children yourself or arrange care for them. The University’s Hatfield Day Nursery takes children between the ages of 3 months and 5 years. If you would like your child to go to our nursery, apply as soon as possible before they arrive. Because you are a student at the University, it does not automatically mean that you will get a place at the nursery as places are limited. More information about our nursery and its costs is available from our website.

UK law says that children from 5 to 16 years of age must go to school. State education for this age group is free. Although it is easiest for them to settle in if they start at the beginning of a new term, children can usually join their school whenever they arrive in the UK. Your choice of school will depend on where you are living, the age of your child and the number of places.

If your spouse or children are here as your dependants and they wish to study at Higher Education level then they can study full-time or part-time. They would be assessed for fees, under the same rules as you. Remember if a dependant starts a course of study which they need to finish after you have completed your studies and time in the UK then they may need to return home in order to apply for a visa to continue their studies in the UK.

You can find more information about childcare and schools in Hertfordshire and how to apply for a place from the Hertfordshire County Council website.

Dependants and work
If you have been granted leave to be in the UK for 12 months or more, your family members should automatically be given permission to work. It is, therefore, important that any family member who is making an immigration application separately from you has evidence of how long you are allowed to be in the UK as a student.

Before starting work in the UK, your dependant should check what conditions are attached to the immigration permission. If s/he is allowed to work, the only condition will be: “No recourse to public funds”. This means that your family member can take up full-time or part-time employment, be self-employed or set up a business. If the words 'No work' or 'Work prohibited' appear on their immigration permission, then your dependant is not allowed to undertake any work, paid or unpaid.

Contact Us

Student Immigration Team (Advice)

Student Immigration Team (Advice & Compliance)

Today 2pm - 3:30pm
Drop-in sessions held every Wednesday & Thursday from 2pm to 3:30pm in Ask Herts (Hutton Hub).
Ask Herts (Hutton Hub), College Lane