What are the new rules for Student Visa?

There have been key adjustments to the Student Visa that have been made effective from 1st January 2024. Most importantly, majority of international students are now no longer allowed to bring family members with them to the UK as dependants.

The UK Home Office has stated that these new rules are intentional to help reduce the number of family members entering the UK as dependants of student visa holders.

Who do the new rules apply to?

These new restrictions officially apply for student visa dependants, for courses that start on or after 1st January 2024. The only exception to this rule, is where the student is a government-sponsored student who is commencing a course that lasts longer than 6 months, or where the student is studying full-time on a postgraduate level course.

However, these new rules do not apply to those dependants who are already in the UK with valid leave as the dependant of a student visa holder. Therefore, it is still possible to apply to extend a dependant visa if the main student applicant began their course of study before 1st January 2024 and their visa is valid.

Additionally, there is also the option of switching into a different visa category – for example, student dependants may wish to switch to a work visa such as the Health & Care Worker or Skilled Worker visa. If the applicant meets the eligibility criteria, then they may be eligible for this route.
Please note that there is a specific restriction in place preventing parents of student visa holders from being able to switch from a dependant visa to a Skilled Worker visa.

If you are a student who has been offered a place on a course for September 2023 but decided to defer your start date until January 2024, the new rules will apply to your dependants.

Do the new rules apply if the student switches to the Graduate route?

If you are a student visa holder switching to the Graduate route, then your family members may apply to stay in the UK as dependants, as long as they have been living with you, during your period of study.
Regardless of whether the course commenced before or after 1 January 2024, if the dependant in question has not lived with you (the main applicant) in the UK during your studies, they will not be eligible to apply as dependants of a Graduate Route visa holder.

How can our team assist you?

In light of the new rules, if you are unsure about the different ways to enter the UK as a dependant of a Student Visa holder, then please do not hesitate to contact us today for expert advice and guidance.