Tier 4 - Dependants

We know that international students will be worried by the Covid-19 situation and what it means for their immigration status and their studies in the UK.

We are hosting live webinars throughout the summer to help students understand the latest visa advice and to assist them with preparing their visa applications. Check out our schedule of events HERE.

Key updates (09 July):

Visa Application Centres are re-opening with reduced services, check VFS or TLS Contact for information specific to your country or UKVCAS for UK information.

Tier 4 Pilot Scheme closes later this year.  Masters students starting in October 2020 still qualify.

The UK Government has announced some updates on the Graduate Route.

Read the latest information on travellng to the UK (England) and self-isolating.

Useful links: 

Full Home Office concessions for students is outlined here: Coronavirus (COVID-19): Tier 4 sponsors, migrants and short-term students.

UKCISA regularly updates their advice for students here: Coronavirus (Covid-19): info for international students.

The University’s response to Covid-19 is available to read here: University of Exeter – Coronavirus (Covid-19) Information and Advice.

Finally, the trained immigration advisers in International Student Support are here to help with any questions or concerns you have during this difficult time. Please email us at visaadvice@exeter.ac.uk and one of our advisers will respond as soon as possible.

Family members of some students can apply for a visa known as a PBS Dependant visa to allow them to accompany the student (referred to as 'main applicant'). We have put together general information relevant to our students and their families. Please do contact us for individual advice and guidance before submitting an application. 

Key facts


 To join a student as a dependant: 

  • You must be an immediate family member such as spouse (husband or wife), unmarried partner or child and
  • The student must be studying a postgraduate course of 9 months or longer.  This includes the Tier 4 Doctorate Extension Scheme. Or
  • The student must be a Government sponsored student on a course that is longer than 6 months.

Outside UK: £348 per person. Some countries will add extra administrative charges and premium applications optional. 

Inside UK: £494.20 (standard), £994.20 (priority), £1,294.20 (super priority)

Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS), this is compulsory and entitles you to use the National Health Service (NHS): £300 per person, per year of visa to be granted. 

Payable by credit or debit card online.  

Duration Same length as the student's Tier 4 visa.*
  • No employment as a professional sportsperson. 
  • No employment as a doctor or dentist in training though there are exceptions.
Study No restrictions on study, except where you require an ATAS certificate.

Children can accompany a student parent to the UK only if both parents are lawfully present in the UK or are applying with the child (you are not considered "lawfully present" if you have a Visitor or Short Term Study visa). A lone parent can apply for their child to accompany them only in exceptional circumstances, contact us for further guidance if you are considering this.

*If one parent's visa expires earlier than the other, the earlier date will apply to the child's visa.

Children aged 18 or over can only extend their existing dependant visa, they cannot apply to join you for the first time. 

To apply from outside the UK you will need to complete an online application for each applicant before attending an appointment at a Visa Application Centre (VAC) where you can submit documents and biometrics.   

To apply from inside the UK we would strongly recommend that you use our service as we will check and submit your application and supporting documents. The application form you complete depends on your situation:  

  1. If you are applying at the same time as the 'main applicant' (Tier 4 Student), you apply together on the main applicant’s online form.

  1. If you are applying for your baby, child or children only, at some time after the main applicant has been granted Tier 4 leave, complete the PBS Dependant – Child online application form.  

  1. If you are applying as a spouse or partner, with or without children, at some time after the main applicant has been granted Tier 4 leave, complete the PBS Dependant – Partner online application form. 

UK Visas and Immigration need to see that you have enough money to support yourself while you are accompanying a student in the UK.  

Tier 4 Dependant money calculation 

Living expenses

£680 per month for the length of leave the main applicant has been granted, or the leave he or she is expected to be granted, or 9 months if this is shorter.

*Dependants of students applying for the Doctorate Extension Scheme should show 2 months' living expenses


Example 1 

The main applicant has been / is expected to be granted a 16 month visa for a 12 month programmeDependant needs 9 X £680 = £6120. 

Example 2 

The main applicant has been / is expected to be granted 7 months leave (for a 6 month course + 1 month is added at the end) 7 X £680 = £4760. 

Example 3: A family of 4 applying together for a 4 year PhD programme 

Main applicant: (9 X £1015 =) £9135 + Dependants: (9 X £680 X 3 =) £18,360 = Sub-total: £27,495 + outstanding tuition fee: £15,950 = Total: £43,445. 

Evidence of money 

How you show evidence of your money depends whether you pay your own expenses or you have an official financial sponsor. 

If you qualify under the UK Visas and Immigration differentiation arrangements you do not have to submit evidence of money. Check whether this applies to you in the Differentiation section below.

Money in the bank

Unless you are fully funded by the main applicant’s official financial sponsor (see below), in addition to the student’s money calculationsyou will need to hold the required living expenses in your bank account or the main applicant’s bank account.  The money must be cash funds in a current account or savings account in your name or your partner’s name.  Joint accounts are acceptable. You must hold the money in the account for 28 days before you submit your PBS Dependant application. You can use your bank account during the 28 days but the balance must not fall below the required amount.  

Your bank document must show the transactions and balance during the 28 day period. The date on your bank document may be up to 31 days before the date of application but the money must remain in your account until the date of application. 

Date of application  

Applications made inside the UK: The date of submit your online form  

Applications made outside the UK: The date you pay the application fee (online or at a visa application centre) 

Bank statements 

Your bank statement needs to meet the following rules: 

  • It must cover the whole 28 day period 
  • It must be dated within no more than 31 days before the date of application.  
  • It must include at least your name, account number, all transactions, and the logo of the bank 
  • It must be original – you cannot use a print-out or copy unless it has been certified by the bank 
  • It must be in English – you will need an official translation in addition to the original if it is not 
  • If the currency is not in British Pounds (GBP), you should check the conversion of the final balance on the Oandawebsite on the date of application and write this on the bank statement  

Print-outs and electronic bank statements:

If your statement has been printed at the bank or you have printed it yourself online, it must have the bank’s official stamp on every page in addition to all of the above requirements. We advise that there is not a gap of more than 3 days between the date of the last transaction and the date the statement is stamped.

Bank Letters 

If your bank statement does not meet the above rules you can request a letter from the bank instead. A bank letter needs to meet the following rules: 
  • It must include your name and account number 
  • It must include the date of letter (no more than 1 month old) 
  • It must include the bank’s name and logo 
  • It must clearly state the amount of money in the account 
  • It must confirm that the required amount has been there for at least 28 days 

Official financial sponsorship

You are officially sponsored if your government, an international company, or a scholarship provider pays for the main applicant’s studies which also covers living expenses for family members. If the sponsor is going to pay all of the tuition fees and maintenance costs for both the student and their dependants, you will only need a letter confirming this.  

Sponsor letter 

The letter must meet the following rules: 

  • List the names of the family members who will be included in the funding
  • Printed on official letterhead paper and include the name and contact details of the sponsor 
  • It must be stamped by the official sponsor and dated 
  • It must describe the length of the sponsorship or give a clear description of the course/s covered and their duration. 
  • It must describe the amount of money provided or state that the sponsor will cover all the tuition fees and living costs for the programme specified. If a specific amount is given, it must equal at least £1015 per month for the student and £680 per month for each dependant. 

If the official sponsor pays for only part of the costs you must supplement the letter with a bank statement or letter. You cannot rely on the same money twice and so it must be clear that this money has been received from a source other than your sponsorship. 

Passports and visas

Dependants should provide a current passport. It is acceptable for children to be on a parent’s passport. In exceptional circumstances a passport may not be required, ask us about this if providing a passport is a problem for your dependant(s). 

If the dependant(s) has a current or previous UK visa issued on a Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) card, they must include it with their application.  

Evidence of money

A bank statement and / or a letter from your official financial sponsor, depending on whether you are self-financed, sponsored, or a combination of both. These documents evidence that your dependant(s) meet the financial requirements described above. The format and content must meet the rules described in the Money section. 

If the main applicant (the Tier 4 student), qualifies for differentiation arrangements and: 

  • the dependant(s) are applying at the same time 

  • in the dependant(s) country of nationality or in the UK 

you do not need to provide proof of finances with your dependant(s) visa application. However, your dependant(s) must still meet the financial requirement at the point that they submit their visa application online (for example, they must have had the required money in the correct type of account for at least the past 28 days). UK Visas and Immigration can request that they submit full documents proving that they qualified on the date of application at any point during the application process. 

CAS Statement

This is the statement issued to the Tier 4 student your dependant(s) are reliant on. They will need this for the CAS number, sponsor license number and course dates (if applying separately from the main applicant).

A Student Status letter

This is advisable if the main applicant (the Tier 4 student) is already in the UK and enrolled on their course. This is to show that the main applicant continues to attend their course at the time of the PBS Dependant application. Students can request this from SID. 

Evidence of relationship

If your dependant(s) are applying for the first time, they will need to provide proof of your relationship 

  • For a child the birth certificate is required. 
  • For a spouse the marriage certificate is required. If you have married recently or do not yet live together we recommend including additional papers to further evidence that your relationship is long term and subsisting. Contact us, what we advise you to provide will depend on your individual circumstances. 
  • An unmarried partner is required to provide substantial evidence from official sources that show you have been living together for at least two years. For example housing contract, household bills in joint names, joint bank statements. This requirement can be difficult to meet and we recommend you contact us for detailed advice.

Evidence of same address 

Your dependant(s) will need a document to evidence that you are living with or intend to live with your partner, husband or wife. This could be an official document such as a bill or housing contract that lists both your names and address. If your dependant(s) are in the UK you could also use a council tax statement. 

If you have nothing in joint names, your dependant(s) could use individual bills, bank statements or NHS registration letters that are sent to each of you at the same address. 

If you are recently married or live separately at the moment but plan to live together once you are in the UK, then you will need to write a letter explaining how you have maintained the relationship during this time (visits, phone calls etc.). Ask us for advice on what to provide in your individual circumstances. 

Evidence of both parents lawfully present in the UK

If the child or children submit their applications separately from one or both parents, include a copy of the parents’ passports and UK visas. 

Children aged 16 or over

Two documents to evidence residential addressThe example documents suggested in the UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) guidance are bank statements, credit card bills, driving license, NHS registration document, a letter from school or college (headed paper and stamped). Both documents must be dated within one month of the application. If the applicant is living away from the family home, evidence is required to show why (enrolment at a university for example) and to show that they continue to be financially supported by their parents (see the UKVI guidance – useful websites below).


If any of your documents are not in English you will also need to provide a fully certified translation by a professional translator or translation company. 

Any translations you submit with your application must include the following: 

  • Confirmation that it is an accurate translation of the original document 
  • The date of the translation 
  • The full name and signature of the translator or an official from the translation company 
  • The contact details of the translator / translation company 
  • Translations for applications submitted in the UK must also include the translator’s credentials (translation qualification) 


Full details on how to apply are on the UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) website. 

Advice and guidance can also be found on UKCISA and in UKVI's Policy Guidance document.