Can my family be with me while I study in the UK?
Certain members of your family can apply to be in the UK as your ‘dependants’. Please click on the appropriate link below according to the immigration system under which the 'student' applied for his or her visa:
- the ‘old’ immigration system for students (before 31 March 2009); or
- ‘Tier 4’ of the Points Based System which came into effect on 31 March 2009
If you are a European Economic Area (EEA) or Swiss national, or if you are in the UK as a family member of such a person, please refer to the following webpage on EEA and Swiss Nationals.
How about if I wish to study as a Student Dependant (or dependant of another category)?
If you wish to enrol on a course of study (part-time or full-time) this is possible on any Dependant visa. However, you need to be aware of the risks and restrictions of doing so which are as follows:
Change in circumstances
You need to be aware that should your circumstances change (for example, your visa expires and it is not possible to extend it, or the person to whom your visa is tied is no longer in the UK, or your relationship breaks down and you no longer have the right to remain in the UK as a 'Dependant') then it will a) not be possible to switch to a Tier 4 General Student visa from within the UK, and b) not be possible to apply for a Tier 4 General Student visa, from outside or within the UK, if the course is 'part-time'. The University cannot issue a CAS to a part time student in order to make a Tier 4 application. Please do be aware of these restrictions when making the decision to enrol with a visa in the Dependant category.
Switching into and out of the Student Dependant Visa category (or any dependant category)
Please be aware that, under the new Points Based System, it is not possible to switch from another visa category (such as 'Tier 4 Student') to the 'Student Dependant' category, or vice versa, from inside the UK. You will need to make a visa application through Entry Clearance from your home country. This rule regarding the restriction on switching visa category does not apply to those who wish to become the Student Dependant of a student who was granted their visa under the 'old' immigration rules, i.e those in operation before 31 March 2009.
The only exception to the above is if you wish to switch from 'Tier 4 Dependant' to 'Tier 2' which is currently possible from within the UK (according to Tier 2 Policy Guidance from 19th July 2011).
Consult an Adviser
As you will probably realise the dependant category can be a complicated immigration category. You are advised to discuss your individual situation with an Immigration Adviser, either by email or in person at an appointment if you have queries about this category.