Visits from family, LOA, dependant visas and graduation

Your friends or family members may wish to come to the UK for a short holiday and to see you during your time studying in the UK.  They may also decide to come to the UK for your graduation ceremony and for these visits they need to apply for a visit visa.

The UKVI website https://www.gov.uk/standard-visitor-visa has information on how to apply and also any forms they will need.

The documents they will need to provide with their application include:

  • Applicant's passport
  • Two identical photographs
  • A letter of invitation from you (a Visitor Invite Example letter is provided)
  • A Student Status Letter available from eVision via 'Common Actions' or your Research Institute confirming your student status and details of your course
  • A photocopy of the visa page (or Biometric Residence Permit if you have one) plus the personal details page in your passport
  • The visa application fee
  • Financial evidence that the applicant can support themselves during their time in the UK (usually three months of bank statements)
  • Any travel or accommodation bookings
  • An itinerary giving details of how time is to be spent in the UK
  • Proof of intention to return home (e.g. a letter from an employer or a return ticket)
  • Evidence of the family relationship may also help
  • Correspondence from the Graduation Office regarding your Graduation Ceremony if this is the purpose for the visit

For information on how to apply for a dependants visa to bring your husband/wife and/or child to the UK to join you for a longer period of time, please see the Dependants section of this website.

If you are considering taking a Leave of Absence or possibly withdrawing from your studies, please come and speak to us in the Student Services Centre, Tawney Building. This may have an impact on your UK immigration status and so it is important to talk through the options available to you and receive support with any decision you make.

Tier 4 students can apply for their family members to join them in the UK as Points Based System Dependents.  You will be able to do this if you are:

  • A postgraduate student on a course that is for 12 months or more OR
  • A Government sponsored student on a course that is for 6 months or more

An overview of the requirements can be found at https://www.gov.uk/tier-4-general-visa/family-members however we strongly recommend that you receive advice and support from International Student Support before you commence any application.

If you would like to bring your family with you to the UK, the requirements for ‘Dependants’ (the UKVI’s term for family members) are different to students (the main Tier 4 applicant). Your partner and your child can be your Tier 4 dependant. Your parent, brother, sister or other relative cannot.

Only some courses and those sponsored to be in the UK by an accepted financial sponsor can bring their dependents with them. Each dependant must have a certain amount of money, held in a bank or building society account, or an account with an officially regulated financial institution. All dependants will need to have evidence of this, and in most cases, your dependent must produce this evidence with their immigration application.

The money for dependants can be held by the dependant or by you (the student applying for a Tier 4 General Visa). If the dependant is your child, the funds can be held by the child’s other parent, but only if the other parent will come to the UK too (they must be applying for immigration permission at the same time as the child).

The money must have been in the account for a minimum period of 28 consecutive days up to the date of the closing balance. The account must not have dropped below the amount required at any time during the 28 day period. Also, the final date of this 28 day period must not be more than 31 days before the immigration application is made.

There is an exception to this requirement if a government, the British Council, an international organisation, an international company or a university is giving you money to cover your course fees or living costs. In that case, ask if they are prepared to give you a letter stating that they will cover the full maintenance costs of your dependant. If they will, then that letter on its own will mean that your dependant has met the financial requirements. There will be no requirement for them to show that they have any money at all in a bank or building society account, or in an account with an officially regulated financial institution. There are precise instructions about the format the letter must take in the ‘Points Based System (Dependant) Policy Guidance’.

Make sure the letter complies with every one of those instructions. If they are not prepared to say in their letter that they will cover the full maintenance costs of your dependant, but they are prepared to promise them a certain amount, they should say in their letter how much they will provide for your dependant. That amount will then be deducted from the total amount of money that your dependant is expected to show in a bank or building society account or accounts with officially regulated financial institutions.

Each dependant must declare in their application that the money for living costs will remain available to them unless used for living costs in the UK.

When studying at Keele (considered outside of London), each dependant must show £680 for each month of immigration permission you have been granted (if your dependents are applying after you have received your permission) or will be granted (if your dependents are applying at the same time as you). This is up to a maximum of 9 months (therefore, a maximum figure of £6,120).

The evidence of your dependant’s funds would have to meet the same requirements as a Tier 4 student. This includes being in an acceptable bank account and remembers that your dependents can not sponsor you to study in the UK and that you must be able to support yourselves in the UK, you should not include money you expect to be paid to you even if your dependant has a job offer in the UK. For students who are planning on making a Tier 4 Visa application with family members, we strongly recommend that you contact International Student Support for assistance in making a Visa application.

If your family members are currently with you and you need to extend your visas or if you would like to apply for a visa for a baby born in the UK, International Student Support can advise and support you with this too.

Please attend one of our daily drop-in sessions to receive initial advice.

All international students should have sufficient time left at the end of their visa to attend their graduation ceremony.  You should have received a visa for the length of the course plus an additional four months if your course is 12 months or longer.

Some students may have reassessments or may have to request an extension of the deadline for submission of their dissertation/thesis.  Because of this, graduation does not take place when initially expected and after the visa expiry date.  Some students will be eligible to extend their Tier 4 visa to remain in the UK but otherwise, UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) expect international students with a graduation ceremony date after the expiry date of their Tier 4 visa to leave the UK, and re-enter as a visitor just to attend the graduation ceremony.  The UKVI website gives information on how to apply for a visit visa.