Studying In The UK And Your Dependants


Many persons wanting to take advantage of the study opportunities in the UK are often well-informed about the rules of the Tier 4 Visa but are often unsure and confused about the rules regarding their dependants.

We have subsequently compiled some answers to the most Frequently Asked Questions on the issue. 

Can my spouse and children accompany me to the UK when I start my studies in the UK as Tier 4 Student Visa holder?

Whether or not a dependant qualifies under the Points Based System (PBS) Dependant immigration category, will depend on the type of course that the Tier 4 Student Visa holder is studying, or will be studying.

The general rule of thumb is that immediate family members will be allowed to join or accompany the student. But only if the student is studying a course of twelve months or more at postgraduate level (above degree level); or is a student on the doctorate extension scheme, or a government sponsored student who is undertaking a course of study for longer than six months.

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Unfortunately, Tier 4 General Students who will be studying in the UK for six months or less cannot bring their partners and or children with them.

There are very strict rules in this regards, so we strongly advise that you speak to your BIC consultant for further advice and clarification regarding your situation.

My wife will accompany me to the UK as a dependant when I start my studies later this year. Will she be allowed to work while in the UK?

The general rule of thumb is that the dependant will be allowed to work, provided that the course study is for longer than 12 months, and the course of study is above degree level. There are of course exceptions to this rule, and other conditions of stay, so please contact your BIC consultant for advice in your unique circumstances.

Who qualifies to accompany me to the UK as dependent on my Tier 4 Student Visa?

The following persons qualify as dependants:

  • The spouse of the main applicant, i.e. the husband or wife in a subsisting marriage, or the unmarried partner of the main applicant, i.e. a person that has been living together in a relationship akin to marriage with the main applicant, in a homosexual or heterosexual relationship, which has subsisted for 2 years or more
  • Civil partners
  • Children under the age of 18 may also accompany the parents to the UK as dependants, provided that they are not living an independent life. It is also sometimes possible for a child to accompany one parent to the UK, but special rules apply, and you are advised to contact BIC in this regard.

Are there additional requirements I have to meet to bring my dependants with me to the UK?

Yes, there are additional maintenance requirements that need to be fulfilled. This maintenance requirement will differ, depending on; the length of the course; where the main applicant will be studying in the United Kingdom; and whether the main applicant already has an established presence studying in the UK.

Source: The South African

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