Under the points based system, you can bring certain family members with you to the UK as your Student visa dependant, provided you meet the following criteria:

  1. You are doing a postgraduate level course (RQF level seven or above) for nine months or longer at a Higher Education Institution with a track record of compliance, OR
  2. You are financially sponsored by the government and your course is full-time and longer than six months, OR
  3. Your current or most recent immigration permission was as a student on a full-time course lasting at least six months long AND all four bullet points below apply:
    • Your permission is current or expired no more than three months before this immigration application AND
    • Your new immigration application is for a full-time course that is at least six months long AND
    • Your family members already have dependant immigration permission (or it expired no more than three months before the new visa application or is your child who was born since you were last granted permission) AND
    • Your family members make the application for a dependant visa at the same time as your new Student visa application.

Who are dependants?

  • Your husband, wife or civil partner
  • Your unmarried or same-sex partner
  • Your child under the age of 18-years-old, including if they were born in the UK during your stay

Dependants' right to work

Dependants who are allowed to work can take any type of employment or self-employment, except:

  • Working as a professional sportsperson, such as a sports coach.
  • Working as a doctor or dentist in training, unless they have a degree in medicine or dentistry from a UK institution or have previously been granted a UK visa that did not restrict their employment as a doctor or dentist in training and were employed as such during that period.

Children aged under 18

If you wish to bring a child aged under 18 to the UK as a dependant, both parents are required to be lawfully living in the UK. If for any reason you will not be joined by the other parent then you need to show that you have sole responsibility for the child. You would need to show that:

  • You are the sole surviving parent.
  • You have sole responsibility for your child’s upbringing.
  • There are serious or compelling family or other considerations.

Babies born in the UK

If your child was born in the UK then you do not need to make an immigration application. It does not make your child a British citizen but it is legal for your child to remain in the UK. If your child needs to leave the UK, an entry clearance application must be submitted to be allowed to re-enter the UK. From 6 April 2015, babies born in the UK are not entitled to free healthcare from the age of three months old, unless it is emergency treatment.

If you are eligible to bring your family with you to the UK as your dependants, the UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) publish more information on how to apply

Changes in the immigration rules

The UK Government recently announced that international students starting from 1 January 2024 onwards, will no longer be able to bring dependants to the UK unless you are coming to study Research courses or you are financially sponsored by the UK or an Overseas Government.

If a baby is born in the UK after 1 January 2024, students are able to regularise the status of their child as their dependant where the child is born in the UK during the last/current grant of permission, in line with the current rules.