Your family’s immigration
16 May 2013
The information in this Information Sheet is based on the Immigration Rules [www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/policyandlaw/immigrationlaw/immigrationrules/] and the Points Based System – Dependants Policy Guidance as at 16 May 2013 (on the website of the Home Office at www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/visas-immigration/studying/adult-students/family/). Please ensure that you are referring to the latest versions of the Policy Guidance and the Immigration Rules.
Who is this information for?
This information is for you if you have, or are applying for, Tier 4 immigration permission.
If you applied for your immigration permission before 31 March 2009, and you are not applying for further permission, please do not read this Information Sheet. See instead Your family's immigration if you do not have Tier 4 leave.
If you are a European Economic Area (EEA) or Swiss national, or if you are in the UK as the family member of such a person, this Information Sheet does not apply to you. Please see instead EEA and Swiss Students.
The application fees have changed. The UK Border Agency has been replaced by 'the Home Office'. We have added a special note to the bottom of the list of 'Who can apply'. References to mistakes in the Immigration Rules that were corrected in December 2012 have been deleted. The list of countries where evidence from certain financial institutions will or will not be accepted by the Home Office has changed.
Who can be a Tier 4 dependant?
The only family members who can make applications as your 'dependants' are:
- Partners - the following are described collectively as 'partners', in the information that the UK immigration authorities provide about the Points Based System (PBS), and in this Information Sheet. Your must both be at least 18 years old when you arrive in the UK (if you have not yet come to the UK), or when you receive an extension of your immigration permission (if you are already in the UK). Partners are:
- your husband or wife
- your civil partner. This means you are a same-sex couple who has registered your partnership to gain formal legal recognition of your relationship. For information about partnerships in countries outside the UK that are treated as civil partnerships, see the UK Lesbian and Gay Immigration Group website [www.uklgig.org.uk/partnership.htm].
- your unmarried or same-sex partner. To be unmarried 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. You will be expected to provide evidence of this.
- Your child or children
- children must be less than 18 years old, or
- 18 years old or more, but already in the UK with immigration permission as a dependant child. If your current immigration permission is not permission granted under the Points Based System, you must be applying at the same time as your child for permission under the Points Based System.
Only Tier 4 (General) Students are entitled to have 'dependants' with them in the UK. Tier 4 (Child) Students cannot have 'dependants'.
Who can apply
Your dependants (as described above), can apply for immigration permission to join or remain with you only if:
- You are government-sponsored and your course is over six months long OR
- You are doing a postgraduate level course of 12 months or longer at a Higher Education Institution OR
- You had Tier 4 or pre-Tier 4 student leave for your previous course where the course was over six months long AND
- your permission is current or expired no more than three months before this immigration application AND
- your new immigration application is for a course over six months long AND
- your dependants already have Tier 4 dependant or "student" dependant leave AND
- you apply for immigration permission at the same time as your dependant
Special note: the official Immigration Rules currently give a different list from the one above. However, the immigration authorities have confirmed to UKCISA that that is a mistake, and that the list above is the correct one. Contact the International Student Adviser at your college or university straightaway if you are told anything different by the immigration authorities.
How to apply
If your dependants are currently outside the UK, or are in the UK, but not as your dependants
- Your dependants must apply for 'entry clearance' from the British authorities in their home country before they travel to the UK.
- Each dependant must complete a separate application form, and pay a fee which is the equivalent of £298 in local currency.
- They need to complete application form VAF10 from the Home Office website [www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/visas-immigration/partners-families/migrant-workers-students/]. They should also refer to the Points Based System Dependant Form Guidance Notes (labelled 'VAF10 guidance notes'), and the Points Based System - Dependants Policy Guidance, which are available on the same web page.
If your dependants are already in the UK, with immigration permission as your dependants
- Your dependant can apply to extend their stay from inside the UK. They should make their application to the Home Office before their current immigration permission expires on form PBS (Dependant). [www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/sitecontent/applicationforms/pbs/visas-immigration/studying/adult-students/family/].
- If you are using the 'print and send' method for your own application (see Making a Tier 4 (General) application for an explanation of how this works), then you might want to generate the form by filling in details for your dependant's application at the same time as you fill in your own application.
- The application will be refused if made more than 28 days from the day after the applicant's visa expires, unless there are exceptional circumstances (accepted by the UKBA) as to why the application could not have been made in time.
- They need to read the ‘Points Based System Dependants – Policy Guidance’, which they can download from the same web page. Each dependant needs to fill in a separate form.
- The fee is different, depending on whether your dependants are applying at the same time as you or separately.
- If your dependants (except for children aged 18 or over) apply at the same time as you make a Tier 4 application, they will each have to pay £305 if they apply by post or £680 if they apply in person.
- If your dependants apply at a time when you are not making an application (or are children aged 18 or over whether or not they apply at the same time as you), they each have to pay £406 if they apply by post or £781 if they apply in person.
- If they apply by post you should note that the safest way to make sure that payment of the fee is accepted is to pay using postal orders or banker's drafts. This is because payments using cards and cheques often fail, with the result that the application is treated as though you never made it.
Further requirements your dependants need to meet
- You must already have Tier 4 student immigration permission, or you must be applying for Tier 4 student immigration permission in the same country where your dependant is making their application, at the same time as them.
- You intend to live together, and in the case of children, they are not married or in a civil partnership and have not formed an independent family unit or started leading an independent life. The definition of someone who is not living an independent life is someone who:
- does not have a partner;
- is living with their parents (except where they are at boarding school, college or university as part of their full-time education);
- is not employed full-time (unless aged 18 years or over);
- is wholly or mainly dependent upon their parents for financial support (unless aged 18 years or over); and
- is wholly or mainly dependent upon their parents for emotional support
- Your dependants do not intend to stay in the UK longer than the period you are given.
- In the case of children, both parents will be lawfully living in the UK. The only exceptions are when the other parent is dead, or you have had sole responsibility for the child’s upbringing, or there are other serious and compelling considerations that mean the child should be with you in the UK and you have made suitable arrangements for the child’s care. If you are relying on any of these exceptions, it is important that your dependants include evidence of this with their application. This could include, for example, death certificates and divorce certificates.
- They meet strict the financial requirements - see below.
The financial requirements that your dependants must meet
- It is important that you show that you have the required maintenance funds for you and all dependants who are applying for immigration permission as your dependants. If not, all applications, including yours, will be refused.
- The general principle is that each dependant must have a certain amount of money, held in a bank or building society account, or an account with an officially regulated financial institution. All dependants will need to have evidence of this, and in most cases, your dependants must produce this evidence with their immigration application. However, those who meet the following criteria do not have to produce these documents with their immigration application:
- you are studying with a Highly Trusted Sponsor, listed on UKBA's Register of Tier 4 Sponsors [www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/sitecontent/documents/employersandsponsors/pointsbasedsystem/registerofsponsorseducation] AND
- you are all "low risk" nationals, as defined in Appendix H of the Immigration Rules [www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/policyandlaw/immigrationlaw/immigrationrules/appendixh/] AND
- your dependants are applying at the same time as you AND
- your dependants are applying for entry clearance in their country of nationality or for leave to remain inside the UK AND
- you and your dependants hold the same nationality
- The money can be held by the dependant or by you. If the dependant is your child, the funds can be held by the child’s other parent, but only if the other parent will come to the UK too.
- There is an exception to this requirement if a government, the British Council, an international organisation, a company or a university is giving you money to cover your course fees or living costs. In that case, ask if they are prepared to give you a letter stating that they will cover the full maintenance costs of your dependants. If they will, then that letter on its own will mean that your dependants have met the financial requirements. There will be no requirement for them to show that they have any money at all in a bank or building society account, or in an account with an officially regulated financial institution. There are precise instructions about the format the letter must take in the 'Points Based System Dependants – Policy Guidance'. Make sure the letter complies with every one of those instructions. If they are not prepared to say in their letter that they will cover the full maintenance costs of your dependants, but they are prepared to promise them a certain amount, they should say in their letter how much they will provide for your dependants. That amount will then be deducted from the total amount of money that your dependants are expected to show in bank or building society accounts or accounts with officially regulated financial institutions.
- Each dependant must sign a declaration in the application form to say that the money for living costs will remain available to them, unless used for living costs in the UK.
The amount of money that each dependant must show is as follows:
- If you will study in Inner London, £600 for each month of your course, up to a maximum of 9 months (and so a maximum figure of £5,400). The London boroughs that make up "Inner London" are listed in Appendix C, paragraph 12 of the Immigration Rules [www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/policyandlaw/immigrationlaw/immigrationrules/appendixc/]
- If you will study somewhere other than inner London, £450 for each month of your course, up to a maximum of 9 months (and so a maximum figure of £4,050).
- These are the figures that apply in most cases. However, if you have student-related immigration permission, which has not expired and
- are applying for immigration permission to continue to study a course of which you have completed six months OR
- have completed a course of study in the UK and that course was six months or more in length within your most recent period of immigration permission
The Policy Guidance is worded unclearly in respect of this. Dependants, who wish to rely on this, are advised to apply at the same time as the main applicant to benefit from being able to show the reduced amount of maintenance funds.
Evidence of funds
If your dependant is providing evidence of funds from banks in the following countries, you will need to check if the bank appears on the Home Office's list of 'unverifiable' financial institutions. Funds held in these bank accounts will not be deemed to be available to your dependant, if used to support an immigration application, because the Home Office says it cannot satisfactorily verify the statements:
- Sri Lanka
The lists of acceptable and unverifiable accounts can be found in Appendix P of the Immigration Rules [www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/policyandlaw/immigrationlaw/immigrationrules/appendixp/]
- The money must have been in the account for a minimum period of 28 days, and that 28-day period must not have ended more than 31 days before they apply. The Home Office has confirmed that the date of the closing balance on any financial statement used in a Tier 4 application will be counted as the 28th day of the 28-day period for which the funds must have been held. They have also clarified that this day must be no more than 31 days before the date of application.
Will my dependants be entitled to work?
This will depend on whether you made your application under the old immigration system or under Tier 4. Please see our Information Sheet Working during your studies [www.ukcisa.org.uk/student/info_sheets/working_during_studies.php].
My baby has just been born here in the UK. Do I need to make an immigration application for the baby?
Birth in the UK does not automatically make a baby a British citizen. The baby needs to have a parent with British citizenship or settled status in the UK in order to be born British.
If your baby is not a British citizen, it is quite lawful for him or her to remain in the UK without making an immigration application. The baby will need immigration permission to re-enter the UK after any travel abroad and for babies born to Tier 4 students, there are limited instances when the baby can apply for immigration permission as your dependant.
Babies can apply for immigration permission as your dependant from either inside the UK or as entry clearance from your country of residence if:
- you are government-sponsored on a course of more than six months OR
- you are on a postgraduate course of at least 12 months at an HEI.
The UKBA has confirmed that babies born in the UK who are eligible to make an immigration application as your dependant from inside the UK can apply using Form PBS (Dependant) [www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/sitecontent/applicationforms/pbs/visas-immigration/studying/adult-students/family/].
Babies can apply for entry clearance as your dependant in the following circumstances:
- the baby is born during your most recent period of Tier 4 or pre-Tier 4 student permission granted for a course of more than six months duration (unless the leave was for a re-sit or to re-take a module for the same course of more than six months duration, in which case the baby does not have to have been born during your most recent period of student-related permission) OR
- the baby is born within three months of the expiry of your most recent Tier 4 or pre-Tier 4 student permission.
If you do wish to make an immigration application from inside the UK for your baby in other circumstances, you are advised to seek legal advice.
I have Tier 1 (Post Study Work) permission. Will my family be able to apply for immigration permission to join me, or stay here, as my dependants from 6 April 2012?
It will be possible for family to join you or apply as your dependants in the UK after Tier 1 (Post-Study Work) has been abolished on 5 April 2012.
Maintenance (funds) for dependants applying before 14 June 2012
If you have been in the UK for 12 months or more, each of your family members who is applying to come to, or to stay in, the UK as your dependant must have £533 in funds.
If you are outside the UK or if you have been in the UK for under 12 months, this sum is £1,600 per person.
Maintenance (funds) for dependants applying on or after 14 June 2012
If you have been in the UK for 12 months or more, each of your family members who is applying to come to, or to stay in, the UK as your dependant must have £600 in funds.
If you are outside the UK or if you have been in the UK for under 12 months, this sum is £1,800 per person.
Maintenance (funds) for dependants - general information
The money for maintenance must have been held for a period of 90 consecutive days and their documents must not be more than one month old on the date of application.
Dependants coming to the UK as visitors
If your dependants wish to come to visit for a period of up to six months only, they may wish to come as a visitor. It is compulsory for anyone who is a 'visa national' to apply for entry clearance, even if they are coming for six months or less (look at the list on the Home Office website [www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/policyandlaw/immigrationlaw/immigrationrules/appendix1/] to see if your family members are 'visa nationals').↑ Back to top
A higher education institution (HEI)is defined by the Home Office as an institution with degree awarding powers; or an institution in receipt of funding as a higher education institute from the Department of Employment and Learning in Northern Ireland, the Higher Education Funding Council of England, the Higher Education Funding Council of Wales, or the Scottish Funding Council; or Richmond, the American International University in London which is recognised in The Education Order 2006.
post-graduate level studymeans a course at level 7 or above of the revised National Qualifications Framework or Qualifications and Credit Framework, or level 11 or above of the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework, which leads to a recognised United Kingdom postgraduate degree at Master's level or above, or an equivalent qualification at the same level.
Further information and contacts
Home OfficeWebsite: www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk
Information about the immigration system of the UK. Forms for applications are available on the website.
UK Council for International Student AffairsWebsite: www.ukcisa.org.uk
Telephone advice line: Mon-Fri 1300-1600 hours (UK time)
Tel (from within the UK): 020 3131 3576
Tel (from outside the UK): +44 20 3131 3576
We regret that we cannot advise personal callers at our offices. Please use the telephone advice line or write to us at: UKCISA, 9-17 St Albans Place, London N1 0NX, UK.
This information sheet may be printed and reproduced provided it is copied unaltered and in its entirety, including UKCISA's logo, disclaimer, copyright statement and the reference to UKCISA's website as a source of further updates, and provided that no charge is made to any persons for copies. NO PART OF IT MAY BE REPRODUCED IN ANY OTHER CIRCUMSTANCES.
The information in this Information Sheet is given in good faith and has been carefully checked. UKCISA, however, accepts no legal responsibility for its accuracy.