One of the biggest reasons people go abroad is to provide their families with a better living. Many countries created the Dependent Visa as a powerful tool to help families live together. This visa allows professionals, students, and permanent residents to bring their families to their new home country. This article provides guidance on which students can bring dependents, come as a dependent, and apply for the dependent visa.
In this guide:
- What is Dependent Visa
- Who Can Come to Europe as a Dependent
- Apply for Entry Clearance as a Dependent
- Apply for Permission to Stay as a Dependent
What is Dependent Visa
A dependent Visa permits the spouses and children to travel abroad and join the family member with a corresponding Visa.
Partner or spouse and children may be eligible to apply for a dependent visa if:
- The main visa holder’s program is full-time, at postgraduate levels, and at least nine months long;
- The main person is a government-sponsored student on a full-time course for six months or longer. It means they should be financially sponsored for studies by the overseas government.
If the requirements outlined above do not apply to your circumstances, family members would be eligible to apply for a dependent visa. In this case, you should be studying in a new country and meet the following specific requirements:
- Tier4 or general student permission is current, or it expired no more than three months before the new visa application;
- Your new course is over six months long;
- Family members already have dependent immigration permission, or it expired no more than three months before the new visa application;
- Family members simultaneously apply for a dependent visa as a new student visa application.
Dependent visa holders can work in European countries, with some restrictions. They cannot work as a dentist or doctor in training or as a professional athlete, including a coach.
Who Can Come to Europe as a Dependent
Many European countries allow dependents to join their family member with dependent visas under circumstances and conditions. A dependent for visa purposes is:
- A wife, husband, or civil partner,
- A relationship like a marriage, an unmarried partner for at least two years;
- A child under 18 years old.
If the primary person extends their student visa and has children over 18, they may apply for a further permit to stay as a Dependent.
Suppose your wife, husband, civil partner, or unmarried partner applies as a dependent. In that case, the relationship must be honest and exist at the time of application, and you have to intend to live together throughout your stay in your new country.
For children to be qualified for a dependent visa, it is a requirement that both parents need to be in or coming to a European country. There are a few exceptions to this requirement.
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Families who cannot meet this requirement need to evidence the serious and compelling reasons why the child should be with them in a new country or that you have ‘sole responsibility for the child and have made suitable arrangements for the child’s care.
If your family members are not in a new country or are not eligible to apply for a dependent visa, they could visit you in the country under the standard visitor path. A visitor can generally stay in most European countries for six months.
For more information about Free Universities in Europe for International Students in 2022 read this article:
Apply for Entry Clearance as a Dependent
An application for entry clearance for a visa is made from outside a European country. How about applying for Entry Clearance as a dependent from outside the European countries?
Making the Application
Either dependent can apply when the student is extending, switching their visa, or any time before their current visa expires.
A family member cannot switch to a dependent visa as a visitor or short-term student in the destination country.
Considering the Costs of Dependent Visa
Fees are charged for each dependent. The application fee is about EUR 420 for the standard service, with an advertised decision timeframe of 15 working days.
It can vary depending on when and where you make your application, particularly in the peak period between July to September.
Dependents must also pay the immigration health surcharge, around EUR 560 per year, for the visa’s duration.
This fee is different in some European countries. For your destined country, check the governments’ official websites.
As part of the visa, application dependents must have sufficient funds to cover living costs. It is about EUR 820 for each month the visa is valid, up to a maximum of 9 months.
A bank statement can fulfill this requirement, and the funds can be held in the student’s or the partner’s name.
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The financial documentation must indicate that the required level of funds has been held for a minimum 28-day period, ending no more than 31 days before the applying date.
If the student has official financial sponsorship that covers any dependents’ living costs, a letter from the sponsor proving this can be submitted to fulfill the financial needs. The letter would need to ensure the amount they are providing to cover the living costs for dependents.
Additional financial documentation should be provided if it does not cover the required amount.
Like a student visa, dependents should apply in their country of nationality or residence, where they have permission to live. The application is made online. A different application needs to be completed for each dependent.
In most countries, an appointment is reserved for attending the visa application center, registering in biometrics, and submitting supporting documents as part of the online application.
Required Documents for Dependent Visa
The applicant must provide the following documents in support of a dependent application:
- TB test certificate if applicable,
- Evidence of relationship to the principal applicant,
- The principal applicant’s decision letter.
Official certified translations must accompany any non-English documents.
If you need information about Working Limits in Europe for International Students read this:
Apply for Permission to Stay as a Dependent
A dependent family member can apply for ILR after five years of living in a European country on a dependent visa. A dependent usually receive a visa that lasts for the same time as the primary visa holder.
It is suggested that dependents apply while the student is extending or switching their visa. A dependent application can be added to the student visa application, but the application fee is charged for each applicant.
A family member cannot switch to a dependent visa in the European country as a visitor or short-term student.
Considering the Costs of Dependent Visa
The application fee is around EUR 600 for the standard service in most European countries, which takes up to two months for making the decision.
Availability for biometrics enrolment appointments is provided for online apply. There are premium services available at a higher cost.
Dependents must pay the immigration health surcharge, which is charged at about EUR 560 per year for the duration of the visa validation.
Suppose a dependent has had a valid visa for a year on the date of the permission to stay application. In that case, evidence of funding does not need to be provided to support the new dependent visa application.
Suppose the dependent has not been in the destined country for a significant part of the previous 12 months. In that case, they may be asked to have evidence of meeting the financial requirements during the visa application process.
If it does not apply, sufficient funds to cover living costs must be held. It is about EUR 820 for each month the new visa is valid, up to a maximum of 9 months.
The required funds must be held for at least 28 consecutive days before submitting the online application.
The end date of the 28 days has to be within 31 days of the date of application. The extra time granted on the end of the visa from the student’s course end date is considered in calculating the financial requirement if the course length is less than nine months.
If you are applying as a dependent visa under the Doctorate Extension Scheme and have not held a valid visa for at least a year on the date of application, you need to have held funds of at least EUR 1630 for visa application.
These documents also should be provided in support of a dependent application:
- Biometric Residence Permit (BRP),
- Police registration certificate if required,
- Evidence of relationship to the principal applicant if the dependent partner or child has not previously been granted permission as a student dependent.
All documents must be in the English language or be attended by official certified translations.
The Dependent Visa allows the primary visa holder to bring their dependents to a new country and work or study full time once they have the relevant permits. This article discusses all you need to know about the Dependent Visa and its limits in most European countries. Still, you need to check the government’s official websites for the latest information in the country. Ask your questions in the comments section.