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Family members of individuals with a Points-Based System visa

Eligibility

University employees with a Tier 1, Tier 2 or Tier 5 visa may apply to bring their family to the UK as their dependants. For applications under the Points-Based System (PBS), the Immigration Rules define ‘dependants’ as being:

  • Husband, wife or civil partner;
  • Unmarried or same-sex partner;
  • Child aged under 18 at the time of application.

No other family members are eligible to be dependants.

Applying for a visa

A dependant visa can be obtained from either inside or outside the UK. If an individual is applying from inside the UK, they must not be holding a visitor visa of any kind. If they are, they must leave and apply from outside the UK. If the individual is inside the UK and holds any other type of visa, they are eligible to switch to a dependant visa. There are a number of requirements that must be met in order for an individual to be eligible for a dependant visa:

Spouses/Partners

Individuals who wish to apply for a dependant visa must be the spouse or civil partner, unmarried or same-sex partner of a person who is either:

  • Present in the UK and holds valid leave as a relevant Points-Based System Migrant; or
  • Is, at the same time, applying for leave (either inside or outside the UK) as a relevant Points-Based System Migrant.

For unmarried and same-sex partners, the couple must have been living together in a relationship akin to marriage/civil partnership for a period of at least two years. Please speak to the Compliance Team for further advice if required.

Children

In order for children to be granted a dependant visa, the following Rules must be met:

  • The whole family is applying for visas at the same time (and if applying from abroad will all enter the UK at the same time); or
  • Both parents are present in the UK with the children applying to join them from abroad; or
  • One parent is present in the UK and the other parent is applying for a visa from abroad at the same time as the children.

The exception to this is where there is only one parent in the family. In these circumstances, the following conditions must be met:

  • They are the sole surviving parent of the child(ren); or
  • They hold ‘sole responsibility’ for the child(ren); or
  • There are serious or compelling family considerations which must be taken into account.

In these circumstances, it is essential to provide UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) with clear documentary evidence that one of these criteria are met, otherwise the application is likely to be refused. Please contact the Compliance Team if you require further guidance on any of these issues.

To apply for a dependant visa, and for full guidance on how to do this, please visit the UKVI Points-based System (dependant) policy guidance.

Maintenance Requirements

UKVI requires family members of sponsored individuals to be able to support themselves for the entire duration of their stay in the UK without needing help from public funds. To prove this, when the dependant application is made, a certain level of funds must be held by either the main applicant or the dependant themselves to demonstrate that this requirement has been met. Please see the UKVI maintenance criteria for further guidance.

However, as the University is a Premium sponsor, individual departments are, at their own discretion, able to ‘certify’ the maintenance of sponsored individuals and their families. This applies to both Tier 2 and Tier 5. What this means is that the University provides a guarantee that the individual and their dependants will have enough money to support themselves for the first month of employment and that the department will assist them in the event that this is not the case. If the department agree to this undertaking, then the employee's dependants will not be required to submit any evidence of funds as part of the visa application. In these circumstances, the department must provide the applicant with a dependant maintenance letter which must be submitted with their dependant visa application.

Note: the family members of individuals holding a Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) visa are not obliged to meet the maintenance requirements.

English Language Requirements

There are currently no English language requirements for dependants of individuals holding a points-based visa.

Conditions of Leave

Dependent visas, once issued, are valid for the same length of time as the main applicant’s visa, and allow multiple entry into and exit from the UK. Dependant visa holders will have the following conditions attached to their leave:

  • The right to work in the UK in any job, at any skill level, except as a Doctor or Dentist in training; and
  • No recourse to public funds; and
  • Registration with the police (only required if you are a national of these countries).

The only possible exception relates to Tier 4 dependant visas. If the main applicant’s Tier 4 visa is valid for less than 12 months, they will not be permitted to work whilst in the UK, unless the main applicant is a government sponsored student. Please refer to the Compliance Team for further guidance.

Please note that the ability to live and work in the UK on a dependant visa is tied to the validity of the main applicant’s visa. Once their visa expires, the dependant’s visa also expires. Any department employing an individual who holds a dependant visa will be contacted by the Compliance Team three months before the visa expires, in line with the procedure documented on the visa expiry pages.