Dependant family members

Making the decision whether or not to bring dependants to Northampton may be a difficult one. You may benefit from the support of your family and you can experience the UK culture together. There are many practicalities to consider including:

  • Do my dependants meet the eligibility criteria?
  • Do my dependants need a visa to come to the UK?
  • Do my dependants speak English?
  • Do I have sufficient funds to support myself and my dependants?

Family accommodation can be difficult to find. Please note, there is no family accommodation in the University of Northampton’s halls of residence. Please note that private sector family accommodation is more expensive than single occupancy accommodation.

It may prove difficult looking after family members while studying, especially if they do not speak English. If your children are young, you may have to look after them yourself as childcare for pre-schoolers is very expensive.

Consider if you have sufficient funds to support yourself and your family while living in the UK. If you are sponsored and your sponsor is paying for your dependants to live in the UK, they must provide written confirmation stating the amount they are providing for your dependants, which you must submit with your visa application.

If you do decide to bring your family, it’s advisable that you travel to the UK by yourself initially to organise appropriate accommodation. You can then arrange for your family to join you once you have settled in.

Thorough planning and preparation is important to avoid experiencing problems which could affect the success of your studies.

What is a dependant?

A dependant can be a spouse, civil partner, same-sex partner, a child who is either under 18 years of age, or over 18 or already in the UK as a PBS dependant. Please note if your dependant is a child, the child will not be granted a dependant visa unless both parents are applying for visas to stay in the UK at the same time. The exception to this is where one parent is applying for leave and the other is already in the UK.

You cannot bring other family members such as parents or siblings to the UK with you as your dependants, although they can come for short visits on a Standard Visitor Visa.

Tier 4 – Eligibility for bringing dependants to UK

You must meet the following criteria:

If you have never studied in the UK before with a student visa, you can bring your spouse/children with you if you are:

  • a government sponsored student on a course which lasts longer than six months, OR
  • a postgraduate student on a course which lasts longer than 12 months

If your course is less than 12 months or below postgraduate level, you will not be able bring your dependents to the UK with you.

For further information about who you can bring to the UK as your dependants and how to apply, visit the UKCISA website.

If your family are not eligible to come to the UK as your dependant they can apply to come to the UK as a visitor for up to six months.

Applying for a Tier 4 Dependant Visa

Dependants must apply either at the same time as the lead applicant or after the student’s visa has been granted. The dependant must intend to live in the UK with the student for the duration of the student’s studies.

Finances

The dependants of international students are normally given permission to remain in the UK for the same period as the student, on the basis they can be maintained and accommodated without recourse to any public funds, which means that dependants will not be able to claim social benefits from the state, such as unemployment benefit or housing benefit.

Dependants must demonstrate they have sufficient funds to meet the maintenance requirements. Details of the required funds can be found on the UKCISA website.

Please note, all dependants will also be required to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge.

Accommodation

If you decide to secure accommodation for yourself and your dependants before you depart for the UK, please be aware that you will not have the opportunity to view the property before taking a tenancy agreement. If you later find the property to be unsuitable for your requirements you may still be liable for any payments until the contract expires.

If you are applying for a visa from outside the UK we recommend that you provide evidence of any accommodation that you have booked for you and your family, for example a tenancy agreement. Please note, if you and your family are all applying for your visa from outside the UK, this is not a requirement to apply for the dependant visas.

If you require further guidance you can contact Accommodation Services. Staff will be happy to check your contract for you before you make a firm commitment.

Education for dependants

If you have children of school age they will be required to attend full-time education.

In the UK, children must be in full-time education from the beginning of the term after their fifth birthday, until the age of 16. Schooling for children aged 16 and under who are in the UK as the dependants of international students is free. Where your child goes to school can depend on where you live and you will not be able to finalise a school place until you know exactly where you will be living. The local education authority has a duty to provide your child with a place at a school. For further information about School Admissions, please visit the Northamptonshire council website.

Childcare

Childcare for pre-schoolers aged 0-5 years in the UK can be quite expensive. Once you have been offered an unconditional place it would be advisable to start looking to secure a place at a childcare setting, as many nurseries are popular and there may be a waiting list. For further details please visit the Northamptonshire council website.

If you are experiencing difficulty with organising childcare, please get in touch with International Student Support Services via email iss@northampton.ac.uk.

We will be happy to provide you with further assistance and guidance.

Please note, you should not leave your children alone under any circumstances. This is considered to be a criminal offence in the UK.

What happens to my dependants when I finish my studies?

A spouse or civil partner should intend to leave the UK at the end of the time granted to them to be in the UK as your dependant. Your children should intend to leave the UK at the end of the time granted to you to enter or remain in the UK as a student. UK immigration law does not allow for student dependants to change into the Tier 4 Student/Child Student immigration categories within the UK.

This means that they would need to leave the UK and apply from a British Embassy or High Commission in their home country before re-entering the UK. If your child is attending a state school they will not be considered as a ‘student’ under the immigration rules and therefore could not apply for a Tier 4 student visa. If your child is studying at a public school they may be able to return to their home country and make an application for a student visa at a British High Commission or Embassy.

Children Born in the UK

Birth in the UK does not automatically make a baby a British citizen. The baby needs to have a parent with British citizenship or settled status in the UK in order to be born British.

If your baby is born in the UK but is not a British citizen, it is lawful for him or her to remain in the UK without making an immigration application. However, your child will need immigration permission to re-enter the UK after any travel abroad. For babies born to Tier 4 students, there are limited instances when you can apply for immigration permission for your child as your dependant.

If you are required to take a study break due to maternity leave this may affect your visa. Please email iss@northampton.ac.uk for further advice and guidance.

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