Bringing your family

Can I invite a family member to continue to be or join me in the UK?

Only Tier 4 (General) Students are permitted to ask their dependants to join them in the UK. Tier 4 (Child) Students cannot bring their family members to the UK.

Your dependents 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

Which family members can join me in the UK?

You can check which family members can join you in the UK during your studies on the Home Office website.

Babies born in the UK

At present, it is not necessary for a baby born in the UK to regularise their immigration permission in the UK unless they intend to leave the UK and re-enter, in which case the baby must have valid immigration permission to re-enter the UK. Therefore, a successful visa application must be made either in the UK prior to leaving, or from the baby’s home country before returning to the UK.

Is it mandatory for a dependant to apply for a visa through entry clearance from overseas?

Yes, if the dependant wishes to apply under the Points Based system as a Tier 4 dependant for the first time. Non visa nationals are permitted to attempt to enter the UK for up to 6 months under the visitor category without having obtained Entry Clearance. Please note that if a dependant enters the UK under the visitor category, it will not be possible to apply to switch to Tier 4 dependant or extend current leave from within the UK.

All visa nationals or anyone wishing to enter the UK for more than 6 months are required to apply for a visa through Entry Clearance.

Family members who want to come to the UK for six months or less, including family members other than those who can apply under these provisions, for example, unmarried partners, siblings, grandparents, can apply as Standard Visitors.

Switching - can a dependant apply if they are currently in the UK under another visa category?

It is only possible to switch to the 'Tier 4 Dependant' category if you are currently in the UK under another dependant category under the Points Based System i.e. 'Tier 1 Post Study Work Dependant', or alternatively, 'Student Dependant' under the old rules.

Changes to the Immigration Rules on 1 October 2013

Points Based System dependants who apply for leave to remain in the UK on or after 1 October 2013 will be able to 'switch' into that category from other types of other immigration permission, though not from visitor leave, temporary admission or temporary release. This affects the dependants of Tier 1, Tier 2 and Tier 5 migrants. It also affects the dependants of Tier 4 migrants who are:

  • government-sponsored and studying a course over six months long, OR
  • studying a postgraduate level course at least 12 months long and sponsored by a recognised body or a body in receipt of public funding as a higher education institution (Edinburgh Napier University is an HEI)

It means, for example, that it will be possible to apply as a Tier 4 dependant after having been in the UK with Tier 4 or other types of leave, without having to leave the UK to apply for entry clearance. This is as a result of a judgment of the High Court.