Bringing your family to live with you

If you're on a Tier 4 student visa, your family members (dependants) might be able to apply to join or remain with you in the UK.

Read the detailed guidance for dependants to find out how much money you'll need and which documents you need to provide.

Family members who can live with you

A dependant family member is either:

  • your husband, wife or civil partner
  • your unmarried or same-sex partner
  • your child under 18 years old
  • your child over 18 years old who is not leading an independent life.

You can apply to bring a dependant family member to the UK if you are:

  • on a postgraduate course that lasts 12 months or more
  • a government-sponsored student on a course that lasts 6 months or longer
  • a Doctorate Extension Scheme student.

You and your partner/civil partner/husband or wife must be aged 18 or over on the date you are due to arrive in the United Kingdom.

Where your family can apply

If your course meets the requirements permitting Tier 4 dependants, you can apply overseas together. Alternatively, you can come to the UK and your family can apply from overseas once you have a visa that allows you to bring your family as dependants.

If your family are already in the UK with you, they can apply at the same time or separately from the main applicant.

Family members with different types of visas

If your family have a dependant visa status, they can apply to stay with you in the UK. Please speak to an adviser if they are switching from one immigration status to another.

Changing visas

A family member can change from a dependant visa into a Tier 4 visa. To do this, they must return home.

Children born in the UK

If your child is born in the UK you do not need to apply for a visa straight away. If you need to leave and re-enter the UK they will need a visa. You can apply for the visa in the UK. You must include a birth certificate. Please speak to an adviser for further information.


Children born in the UK are exempt from healthcare charges until they turn 3 months old. You will need to apply for a visa for your child, or obtain private medical insurance to cover healthcare costs after their first 3 months.

How to apply

Applying overseas

  • Your family can apply online in most countries.
  • If they can't apply online, they will need to fill in form VAF 10.

Applying in the UK

  • Apply online using the same application form as for the Tier 4 student visa.

Evidence needed to apply

For all applications you must provide:

  • a current passport or other valid travel documentation
  • 2 passport-sized colour photographs with your name written on the reverse side
  • proof that you can support yourself and your family - the amount will vary depending on your circumstances
  • proof that you can pay for your course
  • your tuberculosis test results if you’re from a country where you have to take the test (overseas applications only)
  • Police Registration Certificates for the family members (if this is a requirement stated on their visa and you are applying in the UK).

All documents must be originals, with relevant official translations in English. 

Evidence of money available for your family

To meet living costs requirements, your family members will need to have £680 per family member per month, for a maximum of 9 months. They must be able to show that they have had this amount in their account for 28 days before the date of the application.

If you're coming from a place that's considered a 'low risk country', you don't need to include the following documents. You must, however, confirm that you have this money available. The International Student Advice Team will ask to see this evidence when you apply in the UK.

The amount that you will need to show per dependant will depend on the length of the course. 

Read the policy guidance for more details.

You must have proof that the required amount of money has been in your bank account or your dependant’s bank account for at least 28 days before you or they apply.

Financial sponsorship for your family

If your sponsor is paying for your dependant family members to live in the UK, the letter must have:
  • the official stamp or letter head of the organisation
  • the name and contact details of the official financial sponsor
  • the date of the letter
  • the length of the sponsorship
  • the names of your family dependants
  • the amount of money they are providing or a statement confirming that they will cover the full maintenance.

If the official financial sponsorship only covers part of your living costs, documentation must be provided to show the remaining maintenance.

If you're applying at the same time as your family, the funds that you provide evidence of must be in addition to the funds for the Tier 4 (General) student. The same money cannot be counted twice.

Evidence of your Relationship

Partners (including spouses and civil partners)

  • Marriage or civil partnership certificates*
  • Bank statements
  • Council tax bills
  • Medical registration
  • Utility bills

*Not required once your family has already been granted a Tier 4 dependant's visa as their previous visa application.

Relationships akin to marriage/civil partnership for a period of at least two years

You must provide documents to show that you have been in a relationship akin to marriage/civil partnership for a period of at least two years*. The documents should cover the whole of this period and must be official.

*Not required once your family has already been granted a Tier 4 dependant's visa as their previous visa application.


If both parents are responsible for looking after a child, then they must both come with the child to the UK.

  • Full birth certificate showing both parents' names.*
  • Proof of adequate care arrangements while you're studying (overseas applications only).
  • Proof of adequate accommodation (overseas applications only).

*Not required once your family has already been granted a Tier 4 dependant's visa as their previous visa application.

If you have 'sole responsibility' for your child

  • You must provide evidence that you have 'sole responsibility' for the child (for example a divorce or death certificate, a letter from an employer, or evidence that returning home would have a disproportionate effect on the child).
  • You are strongly advised to apply for their visa(s) at the same time as your own before leaving home. Contact a student immigration adviser on if you need more advice.

Children over the age of 16 

Please contact a student immigration adviser on for further advice if your child is over the age of 16.

Children over the age of 18 

You will need to provide proof that any children over the age of 18 are not living in an independent family unit (and not with you). Contact a student immigration adviser on if you need more advice. 

Studying on a dependant’s visa

If you're on a dependant's visa yourself, you'll be able to study as long as the main visa holder has permission to be in the UK. If your visa doesn't cover your entire course, you may need to switch to a Tier 4 visa. You will need to return home to do this. Contact a student immigrant adviser on if you need more advice.

Schooling for children

Schooling will be available to your children, but you can only apply for a place once you've arranged your UK accommodation. The school year starts about a month earlier than the University academic year.

Pre-school age children

Westwood Nursery on campus is for children from six months to four years. The nursery also offers playschemes during vacation time. The nursery is not free, and there are limited places, so please make enquiries about fees and availability before you arrive in Bath.

Useful links