Study on a Dependant Visa in the UK

Can I Study on a Dependant Visa in the UK?

When moving to the UK under a Dependant Visa, individuals often ask if they can also study during their stay. This article clarifies the regulations and possibilities for dependants who wish to pursue educational opportunities in the UK.

Overview of Dependant Visa UK

A Dependant Visa in the UK allows family members of individuals who hold certain types of visas, such as Skilled Worker Visas, to live in the UK with the primary visa holder. The visa is designed to preserve family unity by permitting spouses, partners, and dependent children to accompany or join the main visa holder in the UK during their stay.

Eligibility for a Dependant Visa depends on the main visa holder’s status and ability to financially support their dependants without recourse to public funds. The visa duration typically aligns with that of the main visa holder, and dependants have certain rights under this arrangement, including the ability to work and study.

The application process requires that dependants provide proof of their association to the main applicant and prove that they have adequate maintenance funds available. The conditions and length of stay on a Dependant Visa depend on the primary visa holder’s status and the specific immigration rules applicable at the time of application.

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

Can I Study on a Dependant Visa in the UK?

If you’re a dependant visa holder with aspirations to pursue education in the UK, you’ll be glad to know that there are generally no restrictions on studying for dependants. However, being aware of certain requirements is crucial, especially if your chosen program necessitates ATAS clearance.

The ATAS (Academic Technology Approval Scheme) certificate may be mandatory for specific courses, particularly in fields like science, engineering, and technology. Before starting your studies, ensure to check if your program falls under this category and obtain the requisite ATAS certificate.

If you have school-age children, they are mandated to attend full-time education in the UK. This requirement applies from the term following their 5th birthday until they are 16. The good news is that schooling for dependant children aged 16 and under is free of charge.

You’ll need to finalise your living arrangements before confirming a school for your child. Local education authorities are obligated to facilitate your child’s enrollment in a suitable school and ensure their educational needs are met during your stay in the UK.

Also Read: UK Student Dependent Visa New Rules 2024

What Is an ATAS certificate?

The Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) is critical in the UK’s immigration and academic regulation framework, particularly concerning international students.

This certificate is a requirement for those who wish to undertake postgraduate study or research in certain sensitive subjects that could potentially contribute to the development of weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) or their delivery systems.

The UK government mandates that all international students subject to UK immigration control who wish to engage in specific areas of advanced study must secure an ATAS certificate before they can commence their studies.

This predominantly applies to students entering postgraduate study in the UK, such as those with master’s degrees or PhDs, and occasionally at the undergraduate level if the program transitions into an integrated master’s degree.

Securing an ATAS certificate involves a detailed application process in which the student must outline their intended area of research and its potential applications.

Note that individuals from certain countries are exempt from fulfilling this requirement. This exemption includes nationals from many European countries, major allies, and several other nations recognised for their stable partnership with the UK in international education and security.

Can I Work on a Dependant Visa in the UK?

Holders of a Dependant Visa in the UK enjoy the significant benefit of being able to seek employment during their stay. This provision allows dependants to work in almost any sector, enhancing their ability to support their family financially and gain valuable work experience within the UK job market.

However, there are specific restrictions. Those on a Dependent Visa cannot work as professional sportspersons or doctors in training. 

Also Read: How to Convert Dependant Visa To Work Visa in the UK

Let Our Immigration Solicitors Help You!

Our team at Spouse Visa Lawyers specialises in assisting clients with their Dependant and Family Visa applications and other related immigration needs. Whether you’re applying for the first time or need assistance with an extension, our experienced immigration solicitors can provide comprehensive support and guidance every step of the way.

We ensure that your application is completed accurately and adheres to all UK immigration rules, increasing your chances of a successful outcome. Contact us today to see how we can assist you and your family with your UK visa needs.

You Ask, We Answer


Dependants typically include the spouse, partner or child under 18 years of age of the main visa holder. Each type of visa may have specific definitions, so it’s essential to check the exact criteria for your situation.

Generally, dependants on a UK visa cannot access public funds. This includes benefits such as housing assistance and jobseeker’s allowance. Dependents must prove they have adequate funds to sustain themselves without these benefits.

Dependants usually receive a visa that matches the duration of the main visa holder’s stay. For instance, if the main applicant has a 5-year work visa, the dependant’s visa will also be valid for 5 years as long as the relationship continues and other visa conditions are met.

Dependants need to make an online application for extension concurrently with the main visa holder or separately before their current visa expires. This encompasses submitting the required documentation, such as relationship evidence and financial stability, to prove ongoing eligibility.

Dependants may be eligible to switch to a different visa category from within the UK if they meet the requirements for that specific visa. This could include switching from a dependant visa to a student visa if they gain admission to UK educational institutions, among other possibilities.

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