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Advice and Counselling Service

Bringing your family members as dependants

Here we explain what is meant by a Student Dependant and the application process and requirements

Your partner and/or child can come to the UK as your Student Dependant, extend their stay as your Student Dependant, or switch from their current status to Student Dependant, if: 

  • you are studying a postgraduate programme at Queen Mary which is nine months or longer and your course start date is before 1st January 2024; or 
  • you are studying a full-time PhD or research postgraduate programme (see the list of eligible courses below) at Queen Mary; or
  • you are financially sponsored by a government and you are studying a full-time programme which is at least six months long; or
  • you are applying for a child who was born during your current Student visa permission that was to study a full-time programme of 6 months or more; or
  • within the last 3 months you have had a Student visa to study a full-time course of 6 months or more and are now applying for a new Student visa to study a new full-time course of 6 months or more and either:
    • your partner or child already has, or had within the last 3 months before the date of application, permission as your dependent partner or dependent child; or 
    • your child was born since you were last granted a Student visa, where you and partner or child are applying at the same time

Below is the list Queen Mary courses that meet the requirements for Student visa applicants to be eligible to apply to have dependants join them in the UK: 

  • Master by Research (ResM) - RQF level 7
  • Master of Philosophy (MPhil) - RQF level 7
  • Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) - RQF level 8
  • Doctor of Engineering (EngD) - RQF level 8
  • Doctor of Medicine (Research) (MD (Res)) - RQF level 8
  • Doctor in Clinical Dentistry (DClinDent) - RQF level 8

Please note that Queen Mary also offers MRes courses, which do not meet the requirements for Student visa applicants to have dependants. 

Your partner or child can apply for Student Dependant permission from inside the UK if they have been valid UK immigration permission in any category except the categories listed below: 

(a) as a Visitor; or 

(b) as a Short-term Student; or 

(c) as a Parent of a Child Student; or 

(d) as a Seasonal Worker; or 

(e) as a Domestic Worker in a Private Household; or 

(f) outside the Immigration Rules. 

Who can be your dependant?

Your Dependant can be your partner or child. 

In this context, partner means: 

  • Husband or wife 
  • Civil partner 
  • A partner who you have been living with for at least two years in a relationship similar to marriage or civil partnership. 

The relationship with your partner must be genuine and subsisting and you must intend to live together throughout your stay in the UK.  

You and your partner must be 18 or older on the date when you arrive in the UK. 

Your child must either be: 

  • under 18; or 
  • in the UK as your dependant and not living an ‘independent life’. 

Both child’s parents must also be in the UK or plan to travel to the UK with them, unless 

  • the other parent has died, or 
  • they are not and have never been involved in the child’s life, or 
  • there are other serious and compelling reasons for only one parent being in the UK, and there are arrangements in place for childcare. If you think this applies to you and your family, you should get further advice to see if you would have a strong case before you apply. 

You can submit your and your dependants’ applications at the same time, or separately, depending on your circumstances. 

Supporting documents for Dependants 

  • Valid passport and previous passport(s) used to travel to the UK 
  • Application fee 
  • Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) fee 
  • Current valid UK immigration permission if extending in the UK 
  • Evidence of relationship to student
  • Evidence of status of student 
  • Evidence of sufficient funds 
  • A copy of student’s passport and UK immigration permission if dependant is applying separately from student 
  • TB test certificate if dependant is applying from overseas and is resident in an applicable country. 
  • Any other evidence relevant to the application (eg Police Reference Number for lost/ stolen passport) 
  • Official translations if any documents not in English or Welsh 

Application fee

If your dependant is applying from overseas, the fee is currently £363 

If your dependant is extending or switching to Student Dependant immigration permission in the UK, the fees are as follows: 

Standard applications

Usually decided within 8 weeks and cost £490 per person 

Priority applications

Usually decided within 5 days of appointment and cost £490 + £500 per person

Super Priority applications

Usually decided 2 days after biometrics provided and cost £490 + £800 per person

Evidence of relationship to student

Evidence of relationship to partner 

  • If you are married or in a civil partnership, you should provide evidence of this, for example a marriage/civil partnership certificate. 
  • If you are not married, you should provide evidence that you have been living together in a relationship similar to marriage for at least two years. Evidence of this could be: 
  • documents showingjoint commitments, (such as joint bank accounts, investments, rent agreements, mortgage etc.); 
  • official records of your joint address (e.g. medical registration, utility bills, bank statements, letter from employer or educational institution) 
  • Evidence that your relationship is subsisting if you are married/in a civil partnership and not living together (eg explanation of how you have keep in contact, phone records, a printed record of messages you have sent, photos of occasions when you have met) 
  • It would also be a good idea to include an explanation of your relationship in a cover letter, including how you were matched and why it was considered a good match or how you met and the relationship developed. 
  • Evidence of suitable accommodation for you and your dependants to live together, especially if you are already in the UK, for example a tenancy agreement. If the dependant is applying to join the student who is already in the UK, then a cover letter from the student with details of where you will live together can be used. 

Evidence of relationship to child 

  • Child's birth certificate or adoption certificate 
  • Evidence that both parents will be in the UK with the child. 

Evidence of status of student

If you have already started your course, you can download a Student Status Letter from your Gradintelligence account. If you have not yet started studying, your dependant can submit a copy of your CAS statement. 

How much money does your dependant need to show? 

If your dependant is applying for permission to stay from within the UK and has been in the UK for at least 12 months with valid permission, they will meet the financial requirement and do not need to show funds.  

If they are applying from outside the UK, or from inside the UK but have been in the UK for less than 12 months, each dependant will need to show a minimum of £845 for every month of the immigration permission they are applying for, up to a maximum of 9 months (£7605). 

The funds should be in addition to the funds that are required for you, the student. 

Who can show the funds?

The funds can be shown in the student's name or the dependant's name. If your child is your dependant, the funds can also be shown in the child's other parent's account. 

Evidence of available funds 

The funds must be shown for a minimum of 28 consecutive days, the evidence should be in the format which meets the Student requirements.

Financial sponsorship 

If your dependant's living expenses are also being covered by your financial sponsor, they can provide an official financial sponsorship letter containing all the required details. 

We are aware that the Student Dependant application form does not currently provide the option for your dependant to say that they are financially sponsored by your official financial sponsor. We therefore recommend that your dependant explains this in the 'additional information' section of the application form and includes an explanatory cover letter with their supporting documents.  

Babies 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 acquire British nationality. 

Your baby can stay with you lawfully in the UK without making a Student Dependant application. However, your baby will need immigration permission (and a passport) if they need to re-enter the UK after any travel. 

A baby who is born in the UK is exempt from paying charges for NHS hospital treatment while they are aged three months or less. Therefore, if you would like your baby to be able to get free hospital treatment after three months, you can make a Student Dependant application for them. Alternatively, you may decide to pay for private medical insurance for your baby. There is information about how to apply for immigration permission for babies born in the UK on the UKCISA website. 

Whilst you are pregnant, you are eligible for free NHS prescriptions and free dental care. You might also qualify for Healthy Start food vouchers. If you are pregnant but have also been working, you might also qualify for Statutory Maternity Pay or Maternity Allowance. If your partner is pregnant, you may qualify for Paternity Pay. See the Money Helper webpage for more information. Maternity Action provides guidance about your entitlements if you are pregnant and have no recourse to public funds as a condition of your immigration permission- this will be the case if you have Student immigration permission.  

You might also qualify for Maternity/Paternity Pay if you are a postgraduate student getting Research Council funding or Queen Mary funding. If you have specific questions, please contact the Research Degrees Office directly. There is general information on interrupting your studies including due to maternity/paternity on the Research Degrees Office web pages.  

You may like to look at the Advice and Counselling Service Students with children guidance . This explains how much pre-school childcare may cost and who is eligible for free schooling in the UK.

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