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Your Family

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Courses starting from 1 January 2024

Your family members may be able to apply for a visa to join you in the UK if:

  • Your programme is a full-time postgraduate level research degree lasting a minimum of 9 months.  
  • You are fully sponsored by a government funded scholarship on a full-time programme lasting 6 months or more.

Please visit the UKCISA webpages for detailed information about the changes: Dependants

In addition to the above, your family members can apply for a visa as your dependants if they are:

  • Your husband, wife or civil partner
  • Your unmarried or same-sex partner
  • Your child under 18 years old

If your family will travel to the UK later

If you apply for a visa before you travel to the UK and your family will apply later, they can apply to join you as soon as you are in the UK and have received your Biometric Residence Permit (BRP).

If you’re already in the UK and would like your family to join you

If you’re already in the UK and applying to extend your visa, your family can apply to join you as soon as you have received a decision and your new BRP.

If you and your family are already in the UK together

If you’re already in the UK and your family are here with you (with permission as your dependants) they can apply to extend their permission to stay at the same time as you, on the same Student visa application or they can apply later, once you have extended your own visa, but before theirs expires.

Bringing your children to the UK

To bring children to the UK, both parents must either apply at the same time as the child or already have permission (except as a visitor) to be in the UK.

If you’re a single parent you can also bring your child with you to the UK but you will be asked to provide legal evidence of your single parent status in your visa application.

Further information about Dependant Visa Applications.

Working in the UK

Family members of students at Durham with Dependant permission are normally allowed to work while they’re in the UK without a restriction on hours, and this will be confirmed on their BRP.

Work is not allowed if entering the UK as a Visitor (see below).

Family members visiting for up to 6 months

If your dependents are not with you in the UK, they may wish to visit you for up to 6 months while you’re here. In this case, your dependents should apply for a Visitor visa (Standard), unless their nationality allows them to enter the UK without a visa (Non-visa national).

If they don't need a visa, they must still meet the Visitor (Standard) requirements and be able to provide the required evidence when they arrive in the UK, if they are asked to. Further information will be available when you arrive.


Please note the following restrictions that apply to all visitors:

  • You can't work
  • You can't extend your stay (or obtain more than 6 months permission in a 12-month period)
  • You can't apply for another visa while you are in the UK
  • You must leave before your permission expires

Further information about visiting family.


Durham University makes every effort to ensure that the information published on this page is accurate. However, the University cannot guarantee the information may not be altered owing to circumstances beyond the University’s reasonable control. Such circumstances include (but are not limited to) change in Government policy, or change of law. Any changes will be incorporated into the University’s website as early as possible.