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Student Dependants


Students who have a Student visa for their studies at Exeter, or will be applying for one, may be able to bring their partner and children to the UK with them. These family members will need to apply for a Student Dependant visa to allow them to accompany the student to the UK and to live here throughout the student's course. Not all students are eligible to bring their dependants, and there are strict requirements for those who can, so it's important to read the information below carefully and contact International Student Support for individual advice if you need it.

Please note that the information below is only a guide. UK Visas and Immigration can ask for additional documents if they have any concerns. Please contact International Student Support if UKVI request additional documents and you would like advice on submitting these.

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 hold or be applying for a Student visa AND
  • The student must be studying a postgraduate research-based* course of 9 months or longer (unless your course started before 01/Jan/2024) 
  • The student must be a Government sponsored student on a course that is longer than 6 months.

* Research courses at Exeter are: PhD/MPhil/MbyRes. MRES programmes, including Pathway to PhD, are taught programmes and therefore not eligible for dependants unless the main student is Government sponsored.


Outside UK: £490 per person. Some countries will add extra administrative charges and premium applications optional. 

Inside UK: £490 (standard), £990 (priority), £1,490 (super priority) 

Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS), this is compulsory and entitles you to use the National Health Service (NHS): £776 per person, per year of visa to be granted.

Payable by credit or debit card online.  

Duration Same length as the student's Student visa (see exception for Children below).

Dependants can work in the UK without restriction except:

  • No employment as a professional sportsperson.
Study Dependants can study in the UK without restriction. If required for their programme, dependants will need to apply for 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 dependant 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 student, you apply together on the student'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 Student 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 Student leave, complete the PBS Dependant – Partner online application form. 

In most cases, UK Visas and Immigration needs to see that you have enough money to support yourself in the UK. This is in addition to the cost of applying for a Dependant visa.


In the same way as a Student, a Dependant is exempt from the Finance requirement if they have lived in the UK with a valid visa for the 12 months before they submit their visa application and are making their visa application from inside the UK. If you are in this situation, you do not need to deposit money or provide evidence of your finances for your visa application. This is because UK Visas and Immigration consider that you have already proved that you can support yourself in the UK.

All other Dependants, including all applicants applying outside the UK, must meet the Finance requirement.

Differentiation arrangements

Even if the Dependant is not exempt from the Finance requirement, they may qualify for differentiation arrangements based on nationality, meaning they do not need to submit Finance documents with their visa application. They must still meet the Finance requirement but do not have to submit evidence to prove it unless requested later by UK Visas and Immigration. Dependants should check the differentiation arrangements page to see if they qualify.

Dependant Finance Calculation

Living expenses

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

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 £1023 =) £9207 + Dependants: (9 X £680 X 3 =) £18,360 = Sub-total: £27,567 + outstanding tuition fee: £15,950 = Total: £43,517. 

Evidence of money 

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

Remember, if you qualify for differentiation arrangements, you do not have to submit evidence of money. Check whether this applies to you in the Differentiation section of our website.

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 either in:

  • your own (the dependant's) bank account and/or
  • your spouse's (the student) bank account.  
  • For child dependants: money can be held in their own bank account, and/or the student's bank account, and/or the other parent's bank account. If the money is in the other parent's account, the other parent must already have immigration permission (not as a visitor) or be applying at the same time as the child.

The money must be cash funds held in an account that allows immediate access. The money can be held in a personal account including a current, savings, deposit or investment account in the account holder's name (see above).  Joint accounts are acceptable. The money must be held in the account for 28 days before you submit your PBS Dependant application. The bank account can be used during the 28 days but the balance must not fall below the required amount.  

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

  • show the date it was issued. This must be no more than 31 days before the date of application
  • show the money has been held for 28 days
  • include at least your name or account holder's name, account number and transactions over the 28 day period
  • be on official stationary or electronic record and show the name of the bank
  • be in English – you will need an official translation in addition to the original if it is not
Example bank statement

Bank Letters 

If your bank statement does not meet the above rules you can request a letter from the bank instead. A bank letter should:

  • include your name or account holder's name and account number
  • include the date of letter (no more than 1 month old)
  • include the bank’s name
  • clearly state the amount of money in the account
  • confirm that the required amount has been in the account for at least 28 days

Official financial sponsorship

You are officially sponsored if your government or an international scholarship agency pays for the Student's studies and 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 should: 

  • be dated and printed on official letterheaded paper
  • include the name and contact details of the sponsor
  • confirm the duration of the sponsorship or give a clear description of the course/s covered and their duration
  • confirm the amount of money provided or state that the sponsor will cover all the tuition fees and living costs for the programme (if specified)
  • list the name of the student and all family members covered by the funding

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. 

Evidence of relationship

Spouses or civil partners will need to provide:

  • Marriage certificate or civil partnership certificate

Unmarried partners are required to provide substantial evidence from official sources that show you have been living together for at least two years. For example a 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 

You do not need to submit evidence of your relationship again if you are applying to extend your dependant visa. You will, however, need:

  • Evidence that you continue to live with the Student. This could be an official document such as a bill, housing contract or council tax statement that lists both your names and address. If you have nothing in joint names, students and dependants could use multiple individual bills, bank statements or NHS registration letters that are sent to each of you at the same address.  

Evidence of relationship

Each child must provide:

  • a birth or adoption certificate  

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.

Consent from parent(s) or legal guardian(s)

Each dependant child will need a consent letter from their parents. The letter should confirm:

  • The relationship between the parents and the child
  • That the parents consent to the visa application and living arrangements in the UK
  • The address where the children will be staying
  • Whether one or both parent(s) or legal guardian(s) have responsibility for the children

Both parents/legal guardians must sign the letter of consent, except where only one parent/legal guardian has sole responsibility for the child(ren).

Children aged 16 or over

Each child over 16 will need:

  • 2 documents proving that they are living with their parents. Suggested documents include 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 child 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.

Children aged 18 or over

Children over 18 can only apply for a Student dependant visa if they already have a dependant visa, are making their application in the UK, and are still dependent on their parents. We recommend that you contact us for further advice if you are preparing an application for a dependant child over 18.

Babies born in the UK

A baby born in the UK does not need to immediately apply for a visa, but if you take your baby out of the UK, they will need a visa to return. Your baby will also no longer be exempt from NHS charges once they are over 3 months old until they have paid the Immigration Health Surcharge as part of their dependant visa application. You can apply for their visa either inside or outside the UK. You and your baby will need to meet all of the requirements outlined above. If your baby is applying at the same time as you, they will use the same application form detailed above. If you and your other dependants already have your visas and you are just applying for the baby, you will need to use this application form: PBS Dependant Child

If you would not usually qualify to have dependants on your Student visa (because you are studying an undergraduate course, for example), please seek further advice from International Student Support.

If your Student visa has already been granted and your dependants are applying separately from you, they will need to include additional documents related to your visa and study.

Copy of Student visa

They should include a copy of your Student entry visa and/or BRP.

CAS Statement

This is the statement issued to you to apply for your Student visa. If your dependants are applying separately from you, they will need to refer to your CAS Statement for the CAS number, sponsor license number and course dates as these need to be included on their application form.

A Student Status letter

This is advisable if you are already in the UK on your Student visa and enrolled on your course. This is to show that you continue to attend your course at the time of the PBS Dependant application. You can download this letter from Self-Service Letters on iExeter.


Each dependant will need a valid passport. Some children are included on a parent's passport which may be acceptable.


If your dependants already have dependant visas issued as BRP cards, these will need to be included.

TB Certificate (outside the UK only)

If your dependant is from a country listed in Appendix T making an application for entry clearance to come to the UK for more than six months, they must present a valid medical certificate confirming that they have been tested for TB.

They won’t need a TB test if any of the following apply:

they're a diplomat accredited to the UKthey're a returning UK resident and haven’t been away for more than 2 yearsthey lived for at least 6 months in a country where TB screening is not required by the UK, and they've been away from that country for no more than 6 months

All children must see a clinician who will decide if they need a chest x-ray. Children under 11 will not normally have a chest x-ray. If the clinician decides your child doesn’t have TB they’ll give you a certificate. Include this certificate with your child’s UK visa application.

For more information click here

Dependants applying outside the UK will need the following documents which are explained in more detail above:

  • Passport(s)
  • Proof of finances (e.g. bank statement or sponsor letter) unless they qualify for differentiation arrangements
  • Evidence of relationship (e.g. marriage or birth certificate, see above)
  • TB certificates if required

As well as the above, you will need these additional documents for children:

  • Evidence that both parents will be in the UK (see above for exceptional circumstances), if both parents are not applying at the same time as the child
  • Consent letter from parents
  • If aged 16 or 17, 2 documents proving that they are living with their parents

If applying separately from the Student, dependants will also need:

  • Copy of student's Student visa and CAS statement
  • Student Status letter from the University if student is already enrolled

Dependants applying to extend their visas with the Student in the UK will need the following documents which are explained in more detail above:

  • Passport(s)
  • BRPs (if previous visa was granted on a BRP)
  • Proof of finances (e.g. bank statement or sponsor letter) unless they are exempt from the requirement or qualify for differentiation arrangements

Spouses/civil partners will also require:

  • Evidence that you are living with the Student (see above). You are not required to submit your marriage/civil partnership certificate againif you have submitted it before.

Children will also require:

  • Evidence that both parents are in the UK, if both parents are not applying at the same time as the child
  • Consent letter from parents
  • If aged 16 or 17, 2 documents proving that they are living with their parents
  • If aged 18+, additional documents as described above

If applying separately from the Student, dependants will also need:

  • Copy of student's Student visa and CAS statement
  • Student Status letter from the University

If any of your documents are not in English you will 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

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 Student route caseworker guidance - GOV.UK (