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Dependency Visa

T Non-EEA nationals who enter and remain in the UK are entitled to have their direct family members accompany them for the length of their own stay in the UK provided the main applicant can support their dependants without recourse to public funds. Dependants may apply for a visa at the same time as the main applicant. If this happens, the success of the application is conditional upon the success of the main applicant’s own application as well as certain requirements specific to the dependant’s application. Dependants may also apply to join the main visa holder in the UK later. In this case, dependants may still need to demonstrate that the main visa holder is satisfying the conditions of their visa, as well as other specific requirements.

A dependant is the partner and child of the main applicant. A partner must fall into one of the following categories in order to be eligible for the dependant visa:

  • Spouse;
  • Civil Partner;
  • Unmarried Partner (dependants must generally have lived with the main applicant for at least two years prior to the visa application in order to qualify under this provision);

Children (including adoptive children) will generally need to be under the age of 18, although the overriding principle is that dependant children must be financially and emotionally dependant upon the main applicant, and must not have formed an adult life away from the family home (i.e. the child should not be married, living away from home or working full time).

In some instances children under 18 may be refused the dependant visa if they are deemed to have formed an adult life. Conversely, it may be possible for children over the age of 18 to accompany their parents if they are deemed still to be totally dependant on their parent(s). The normal situation where the latter is applicable would be where the child is studying for a further or higher education course.

General requirements

As a general principle, dependants must meet the following requirements in order to qualify for a visa:

  • The dependant must demonstrate the relationship on which the application is based and provide documentary evidence of this relationship; and
  • The dependant must provide evidence either that the main applicant has enough funds/income to support the dependant or that the dependant has sufficient funds to support themselves, without access to public funds.

Conditions of a dependant visa

The vast majority of dependant visas allow the holder to work without restriction in the UK, even where the main applicant is restricted as to their employment, i.e. with a work permit / Tier 2 visa. Dependants are also normally free to enter self-employment. The main exceptions are as follows:

  • Visitor Visas. Dependants of main applicants with visitor visas may not work in the UK;
  • •Student visas issued for less than 12 months. Dependants of these visa holders are not permitted to work in the UK. Dependants are also generally subject to the following conditions:
  • No Access to Public Funds;


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