Guide to UK Dependant Visa

Ultimate Guide to UK Dependant Visa: New Rules, Requirements, and Process 2024

The UK Dependant Visa enables the partners and children of certain UK visa holders to come and live legally in the United Kingdom. This guide is designed to provide you with a clear understanding of everything you need to know about applying for a UK Dependent Visa, including the new rules for 2024, the application requirements, and the detailed process. 

What Is the UK Dependant Visa?

The UK Dependent Visa is a route for immediate family members of particular visa holders to relocate and live in the UK. It applies to various visa categories, including work, study, business, and ancestry. 

One of the significant benefits of holding a dependent visa is the flexibility it offers. With relatively few restrictions, dependent visa holders are permitted to live, work, study, and travel in the UK. Unlike some other visa types, dependents are not required to have a sponsor to work in the UK.

They can also seek employment, change jobs, and switch employers without needing approval from the Home Office. However, while residing in the UK, they are not eligible to apply for public funds, such as benefits. 

The duration of the dependent visa is typically aligned with that of the main visa holder. For instance, if a primary applicant is granted a two-year visa, their dependents will also receive permission to stay for the same period. This ensures families can plan their stay in the UK without worrying about separate expiration dates for each member.

Who Can Apply for the Dependant Visa?

Determining eligibility for a UK Dependant Visa is essential for those looking to bring their family members to the United Kingdom. This visa category is open to the dependants of individuals who are in the UK on eligible visas, such as student, business, ancestry, or work visas. 

However, it’s important to note that not all work or student visa categories allow the holder to bring dependents to the UK. As such, seeking professional advice is advisable if you’re unsure about your specific visa category’s eligibility requirements.

In the context of UK immigration, a ‘dependant’ refers primarily to the main visa holder’s spouse, civil partner, or child. Partners must either be legally married or in a civil partnership with the main visa holder to be eligible. Alternatively, they might be eligible if they have lived together in a relationship equivalent to marriage or a civil union for at least two years.

Children under 18 are eligible for a dependent visa. Those 16 or older can also apply if they are still financially and socially reliant on the main visa holder. These older children should not be leading an independent life to be considered dependent. This means they are unmarried, in a civil partnership, or have any children.

Furthermore, children under 18 should live with the main visa holder. The exception to this is if they are financially supported and attend boarding school or university.

Beyond the immediate family, there is also a provision under the Adult Dependant Relative visa for bringing other close family members to the UK. This is applicable if the UK resident holds Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) or is a British citizen. To qualify, applicants must meet specific requirements proving their need for care that can only be provided by their UK-based family member.

Also Read: UK Student Dependent Visa New Rules 2024

Dependant Visa UK Requirements

Applicants must meet specific eligibility criteria when applying for a UK Dependant Visa. The requirements ensure that dependents can adequately support themselves during their stay in the UK and maintain the integrity of the family unit. Below are the general prerequisites for a UK Dependent Visa:

  • Prove the Relationship: Applicants must demonstrate their relationship to the main visa holder, confirming they are either a partner/spouse or child of the individual with the UK visa.
  • Identity and Relationship Proof: Applicants must provide relevant documents to prove their identity and relationship with the visa holder.
  • Co-habitation Intentions: There should be a clear intention to live with the sponsor during your stay in the UK, indicating that family unity will be maintained.
  • Financial Stability: It’s essential to prove that you have sufficient funds to support your life in the UK, ensuring you can cover living expenses without relying on public funds.

It’s important to note that the financial requirements for a dependent visa vary based on the main visa holder’s status. Specifically, for dependants of Skilled Worker Visa holders, the following financial thresholds must be met:

  • £285 for a partner.
  • £315 for the first child and £200 for each additional child.

However, if the main visa holder and the dependent have resided in the UK for 12 months or more, fulfilling these financial requirements may not be required. This exception acknowledges the likelihood of established financial stability for those who have already been contributing to and integrated into the UK economy for a year or longer.

It’s important to note that the specifics of these requirements can vary depending on the category of the main visa holder’s immigration status. Therefore, applicants are advised to carefully review the guidelines applicable to their particular situation to ensure compliance and a successful application.

New Immigration Rules for Dependant Visa 2024

The UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) has brought significant changes to the UK Dependent Visa rules, which came into effect at the start of 2024, impacting the eligibility of certain categories of visa holders to bring dependants to the United Kingdom. These include: 

  • Restrictions for International Students: Starting January 2024, international students will face restrictions regarding bringing dependants to the UK. Only those enrolled in PhD studies or postgraduate research programs will be eligible to have their partners or children join them.
  • Care Workers and Senior Care Workers: From 11 March 2024, a further restriction will apply, specifically targeting care workers and senior care workers. Individuals in these professions will no longer have the option to bring dependants to the UK.

These updates to the Dependent Visa rules are part of broader efforts to manage immigration and support integration into UK society.

Documents Required for a UK Dependant Visa Application

Gathering and submitting the correct documentation is critical for a successful UK Dependant Visa application. While the requirements may vary slightly depending on specific circumstances, the following documents documents are usually required:

  • Valid Passport or Travel Document: Essential for proving your identity and nationality.
  • Marriage Certificate for Spouses or Birth Certificate for Children: These documents confirm the familial relationship between the dependent and the main applicant.
  • Bank Statements: These are needed to demonstrate financial stability and the ability to support oneself in the UK without access to public funds.
  • Evidence of Relationship: The Unique Application Number (UAN) or Global Web Form (GWF) of the main visa holder. In addition, proof of the relationship to the main applicant, such as photographs, communication records, or joint financial documents, can strengthen your application.
  • Tuberculosis Test Results: If you’re applying from a country that requires this test, you’ll need to include your test results.

Accurate and complete documentation is crucial for the UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) assessment. A certified translation must accompany documents that are not in English or Welsh. Incomplete or incorrect submissions risk application refusal, with the potential for severe consequences, including a ban on future entry clearance to the UK.

How to Apply for a UK Dependent Visa

Applying for a UK Dependant Visa involves a series of steps that vary slightly depending on the type of visa held by the main applicant. The usual steps in the process are:

  1. Complete the Online Application Form: Start by filling out the appropriate online application form for your dependent visa category. It’s crucial to use the correct form based on your relationships with the main visa holder. Remember to include the unique reference number from the main applicant’s visa application to link your applications.
  2. Pay the Application Fee and IHS Fee: After completing the application form, you will be required to pay the relevant visa fee and the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS). This surcharge grants you access to the UK’s National Health Service during your stay.
  3. Upload Supporting Documents: The next step is to upload all necessary documents to support your application. This includes proof of relationship to the main visa holder, financial documents, and any other requirements outlined by the UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI).
  4. Book and Attend a Biometric Appointment: If you are applying from inside the UK, you will need to book an appointment at your nearest UK Visa and Citizenship Application Services (UKVCAS). If you are applying from outside the UK, you should book an appointment with the Visa Application Centre in your country.

UK Dependant Visa Fee and Processing Time

The fee for a UK Dependant Visa is set according to the main applicant’s visa category. This means the cost for dependents mirrors that of the primary visa holder. Applicants must also pay the Immigration Health Surcharge, which grants them access to the UK’s National Health Service

The processing time for a UK Dependent Visa application from outside the UK can take around 8 to 12 weeks. However, the time frame may vary depending on various factors, such as the volume of applications received, the completeness of the application, and whether additional information is needed.

Priority and super priority services are available for an extra fee for those needing a quicker decision on their visa application. The priority service reduces the waiting time for a decision to 5 working days, while the super priority service significantly speeds up the process, offering a decision within 24 hours.

Can a UK Dependant Visa Be Denied?

Yes, a UK Dependent Visa application can be denied. The UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) department evaluates each application against strict criteria, and failure to meet these standards can result in refusal. Common reasons for denial include:

  • Incomplete Applications: Missing information or documents can lead to an application being rejected.
  • Insufficient Financial Proof: Applicants must demonstrate they have enough funds to support themselves without accessing public funds. Failure to provide adequate financial evidence can result in a visa denial.
  • Incorrect Information: Providing false or misleading information can lead to a visa refusal and potentially impact future visa applications.
  • Failure to Prove Relationship: Dependents must adequately prove their relationship to the main visa holder. Inadequate evidence can cause the application to be refused. 

If your UK Dependant Visa application is denied, you can take several other steps to reverse the decision or prepare for a successful reapplication. Firstly, thoroughly review the denial letter from UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) to understand the specific reasons for refusal. This information is vital for deciding your next course of action.

If you believe the decision was a mistake or if there are new facts that weren’t considered, you might have the option to appeal or request an administrative review, depending on what your denial letter states. Be mindful of the deadlines for these processes.

In many cases, addressing the issues highlighted in the refusal and reapplying may be your best route. This could involve collecting more comprehensive documents, clarifying your financial situation, or correcting prior inaccuracies in your initial application.

Considering the complexity of immigration laws, seeking advice from a family visa solicitor can be highly beneficial. They can offer insight into the reasons for refusal and guide you through an appeal or a stronger reapplication.

Let Us Help With Your UK Dependant Visa

Take the first step towards reuniting your family in the UK with the strategic support of Spouse Visa Lawyers. Our specialised team is here to guide you every step of the way.

From understanding the specific and complicated requirements to preparing a compelling application that addresses all concerns, we’re dedicated to maximising your chances of success. 

Don’t let this challenging process deter you from reuniting with your loved ones in the UK. Contact us today, and let’s launch on this journey together towards securing your UK Dependent Visa.

You Ask, We Answer


Most UK Dependent Visa holders are granted the right to work in the UK without needing a separate work permit. This allows you to seek employment, change jobs, or start a business freely.

Your dependent Visa’s validity typically aligns with that of the main visa holder. For instance, if the primary applicant is awarded a two-year visa, your dependent visa will likely have the same duration. You may also be able to extend the visa to prolong your stay.

You can apply for a UK Dependent Visa from either inside the UK or from your home country, depending on your current circumstances and the visa category of the main applicant. It’s important to review specific guidelines for your situation.

If your application is denied, carefully reviewing the reasons for refusal is crucial. Options might include appealing the decision, requesting an administrative review, correcting issues and reapplying, or consulting legal experts for advice on a future application.

Dependants are eligible to apply for ILR, provided they meet certain criteria, including residing in the UK for a specific period under a qualifying visa alongside the primary applicant.

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