Bringing your family with you

Find out about studying at Sussex with children or a partner and how to get visas for visitors.

Your options

If you’re studying at Sussex and want to have your family (spouse, partner or children) with you, there are two options:

  • a dependant visa
  • a standard visitor visa.

Applying for a dependant visa

If you’re on a Tier 4 visa, your family may be able to apply for a dependant visa to join you in the UK for the duration of your course.

For them to qualify you must either be:

  • taking a postgraduate course at NQF 7 or above which lasts nine months or more
  • a government-sponsored student on a course more than six months long
  • applying for (or have) a Doctoral Extension Scheme visa.

See the UKCISA website for full details of the requirements for a dependant visa.

To bring children with you as Tier 4 dependants, both parents must be living in the UK. There are only a few exceptions to this, such as if one parent has died or if you have sole responsibility for your children.

If you do not meet any of the above requirements and are already in the UK with Tier 4 or pre-Tier 4 student leave, email immigration@sussex.ac.uk.

Standard Visitor visas

If your family cannot apply for dependant visas, they may be able to apply for a Standard Visitor visa instead.

This allows a family member to travel to the UK for up to 6 months. However, they will not be able to:

  • live in the UK for long periods of time through frequent visits
  • access free healthcare in the UK (apart from accident and emergency)
  • study for longer than 30 days
  • work.

A standard visitor visa is only suitable for a short-term visit.

If you’re not sure, check visas for visitors on the UK government website.

Documents

Your visitor must provide some documents to get a Standard Visitor visa.

They will also need proof of your enrolment at Sussex.

You can get this from:

  • your school office, if you’re an undergraduate student
  • the Student Systems and Records Office, if you’re a Masters student
  • the Research Student Administration Office, if you’re doing a PhD.

See the UK government guide to supporting documents.

Graduation

If your visitor is coming to the UK to attend your graduation ceremony, they can get a guest invitation letter from Sussex including the date of the ceremony.

Babies born in the UK

Babies born in the UK are not automatically British citizens. They can remain here without a visa but if you leave the country with them and return they will need a dependant visa.

Email immigration@sussex.ac.uk if you need more advice.

The NHS has general information on having a baby in the UK.

Babies born in the UK cannot get secondary NHS services for free once they are over three months old. If you’re on a Tier 4 visa, you will need to make a Tier 4 dependant visa application for your baby and receive a successful outcome before they are three months old. You may wish to make a premium Tier 4 application, as the standard service can take longer than three months.

Alternatively, make sure you have private healthcare insurance for your baby.

See more from Applying for a student visa