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Visa and immigration

Family life in the UK

Studying abroad can be one of the most memorable, exciting times of your life. You may be able to bring your family members to the UK on your Student visa to share in this experience with you, or you may even find yourself in the position of starting a family in the UK.

Dependant Family Members

If you wish to bring your family members to the UK with you, you must be one of the following: 

  • studying full time at postgraduate level for nine months or more.
  • fully sponsored by your government for a programme of study longer than six months.
  • a Doctorate Extension Scheme student.

You or your dependants can apply outside the UK, either at the same time as you or separately.

If all dependants apply for Entry Clearance together, you will share the same CAS number that is issued to the Student (the "main applicant"). If family members apply to join someone on a Student Visa later on, the CAS number of the Student will still be required. You are not allowed to bring your family members with you if you are on a part-time Student visa.

Who is a dependant?

You can not bring other family members (parent, brother, sister or other relative). Dependants can only be:

  • your husband, wife your civil partner
  • your unmarried or same-sex partner. You need to have been living together in a relationship similar to marriage or civil partnership for a period of at least two years and provide evidence of this.
  • child(ren) under 18 at the time of application. Both parents must be coming to the UK except in exceptional circumstances. If only one parent is applying to come to the UK, please speak to an International Student Adviser at the University because there are very limited exceptions to this requirement.
  • child(ren) aged over 18 if permission to be in the UK already granted or as the child of a Tier 1, 2, 4 or 5 person

If your child(ren) is over 16 years when they apply, they will need to provide particular documents. Documents required are described in UKVI PBS (Dependant) Policy guidance.

Civil partners

Civil Partner information states:

  • your unmarried or same-sex partner. You need to have been living together in a relationship similar to marriage or civil partnership for a period of at least two years and provide evidence of this.
  • a current passport or other valid travel document

In all cases, you must both be over 18 years when you receive your extension or when your dependant arrives in the UK.

Documents your dependants must provide

For Student dependant visa applications, you must provide:

Read the UK government's detailed guidance for dependants to find out how much money you will need, and which other documents you must provide.

  • Financial evidence for dependant applications
  • your name and your dependant's name
  • the name and contact details of your official financial sponsor
  • date
  • the length of sponsorship
  • the amount of money the sponsor is giving to you or a statement that your official financial sponsor will cover all of your fees and livings costs and the living costs for your dependants

For a dependant visa application, you will need to show £680 per person per month, for up to nine months (maximum of £6,120 per dependant). This amount must be held in the account for 28 days before the date of the application. For example, if you are applying for two dependants to join you, and your course is one year or longer in length you will need to show £680 x 9 for each dependant: £12,240 in total.

If you are applying at the same time as your dependant, you need to show this financial requirement on top of the financial requirements for your own Student / Tier 4 visa application.

If you are financially sponsored for your studies, and your sponsor is also paying for your dependant family members to live in the UK, the sponsorship letter must be on official letter headed paper or stationery of the organisation of the official financial sponsor which must have the official stamp of that organisation and contain the following details:

If the financial sponsorship only covers part of your dependant's living costs, you must provide documents to show the remaining maintenance requirement.

Evidence of your relationship

If you are applying to extend your Student dependant visa, you do not need to provide any evidence of your relationship to the main visa holder.

If you are applying for a dependant visa for the first time, you will need to provide one of the following forms of evidence to prove your relationship to the main visa holder.

Partners (including spouses and civil partners)

You must provide a marriage or civil partner certificate.

Relationship akin to marriage/civil partnership for a period of at least two years

Where you are applying as a Student dependant where you are not married or in a civil partnership with them, you will need to provide documents to show that you have been living in a relationship akin to marriage/civil partnership for a period of at least two years – documents should therefore cover the whole of this period. Documents will only be accepted where they are from official sources such as utility bills or NHS registration.

Children - aged under 18 including those who were born in the UK while you’re were residing there.

You must provide a full birth certificate showing both parents' names.

If you have ‘sole responsibility’ for your child, you must provide evidence of this (for example a divorce or death certificate, a letter from an employer, or evidence that returning home would have a disproportionate effect on the child). You are strongly advised to apply for their visa(s) at the same time as your own before leaving home.

If your child is 16 or over, they also need to show that they are not living an independent life in the UK. In order to apply as a child of a Student / Tier 4 visa holder, you must normally be under the age of 18 on the date of application. Please speak to an adviser if you have a dependant who is over the age of 16 or 18.

If your dependants are already in the UK

You can include the details of your dependants when completing the online student visa extension application . Dependants should be given the same time of leave as the main applicant. All family members will be required to attend a visa centre to enrol their biometrics.

  • If your dependant (partner) is applying later than you
  • If your dependant (child) is applying later than you

If your dependants are currently outside the UK at time of application

They need to:

  • apply for entry clearance as PBS Student dependants from the British authorities in which they are legally residing before they travel to the UK
  • apply online under Dependants applying outside the UK. Each dependant must complete a separate online application form
  • book appointments during the application process to have their fingerprints and photograph taken at a visa application centre (where relevant)
  • pay online for the visa fee and Immigration Health Surcharge as part of the application process, where possible.
  • know your course details and CAS number in order to complete the online application form

If they do not submit their visa application at the same time as you, they should make sure that they include in their application a copy of your Student visa and passport. Their application form should state clearly that they are accompanying the main applicant who will be in the UK as a student.

Evidence of maintenance

If you are applying for dependants you will need to show an additional £680 per month per dependant up to a maximum of nine months (depending on the length of leave you applied for). For example:

  • If applying for four months leave, dependants will be required to show maintenance/living costs of eight months leave.
  • If applying for six months leave, dependants will be required to show maintenance/living costs of nine months leave.

Funds must be held for 28 days in your bank account (dated within one month of application).

For an explanation of the application process, choose the country they are living in from the list on the UKVI website and look at the information displayed there and PBS dependant guidance.

Immigration Healthcare Surcharge (IHS)

Each dependant will be required to pay the healthcare surcharge as part of the visa application process. The charge will be calculated at £470 per year plus £235 for the extra 4 months.

Switching to Dependant visa in the UK

It is now possible to 'switch' to a dependant visa from other types of immigration permission within the UK. This means, for example, that it is now possible to apply as a PBS dependant after having been in the UK with Student visa (formally Tier 4) leave, without having to leave the UK to apply for entry clearance. 

Children born in the UK

Children born in the UK are not automatically British citizens. 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, the baby will need immigration permission to re-enter the UK after any travel abroad, and for babies born to Student/Tier 4 visa holders, you can only apply for a dependant visa for them if you are eligible to apply for a dependant visa (see "Bringing your family to live with you in the UK (dependant visa)" paragraph above).

Please note, if you are a Student visa holder, and you have a baby born in the UK, your baby will only have healthcare cover for the first 3 months on the NHS. After this point, you will either need to obtain private medical insurance, or apply for a Student dependant visa for your baby.

If your baby is born in the UK, you do not need to apply for immigration permission for the baby unless your baby needs to re-enter the UK after travel. If you are in the UK as a Student visa (formerly Tier 4), you can apply inside the UK for your baby if you meet the following requirements:

  • you are sponsored by your government to study on a programme longer than six months
  • you are studying full time on a programme at postgraduate level and for twelve months or more

Maternity and Parental Leave

The University recognises its obligations under the Equality Act 2010 and its staff will take a flexible approach to facilitating the continued learning of – and maintaining a high-quality and safe student experience for – a pregnant student, a student who is the parent of a very young child or a student whose partner is in either of these positions.

The York St John University believes that being or becoming pregnant, terminating a pregnancy or having a very young child (including through adoption) should not, in itself, be a barrier to a student starting, succeeding in, or completing a programme of study at the University. The University is committed to being as flexible as possible. The special arrangements which can and should be made for a student in these circumstances will vary between Schools and programmes. However, the general approach to be taken in these circumstances is consistent across the University – as is the legal framework in which the University operates.

Students are responsible for informing the University at an early stage of a pregnancy where there is a potential risk to the health and safety of the student and/or their child (see below). The University should then carry out a risk assessment as soon as possible to minimise any potential risk.

If you are a Student and you are pregnant, it is very important that you talk to your Academic Leader and the Visa & Compliance Team to confirm the pregnancy as soon as possible. As a minimum, students must take two weeks’ compulsory maternity-related absence, or four weeks if they are on placement in a factory.

Please complete and return the Maternity Leave Application Form Word document to as soon as possible, but at least 28 days before you wish to start your maternity leave.When submitting this application form, you must attach medical evidence of the date of expected childbirth. This will normally be the original MAT B1 certificate, which will be available from your Doctor or Midwife, from the 14th week before the week in which your baby is due.

We can allow a leave of absence (short suspension) for maternity under exceptional circumstances for a maximum of 60 days without the need to report this to UKVI and thus not affecting your student visa in any way. This is in line with Home Office regulations and procedures. However, if you need longer than 60 days, then you need to suspend studies and return during a different semester.

Paternal Related Absence 

Students whose partners are pregnant or in their maternity period, or who are partners of a primary adopter/foster parent, are permitted to take 2 weeks (10 working days) leave either directly following the birth/adoption/foster date or within 3 months of this. A Student who wishes to take time away from their studies to support their partner through paternal leave provisions should speak with their Academic Leader and agree a study plan for this period.

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