If your partner or parent is applying or already has permission on the Skilled Worker route to undertake an eligible job role in the UK, and you are looking to accompany or join them, you will need to apply for a Skilled Worker Dependant visa.
In this guide, we explain who is eligible to apply as a Skilled Worker Dependant, and detail the requirements to be met and the process to make the application to the UK Home Office.
What is the Skilled Worker Dependant visa?
The Skilled Worker Dependant visa is a UK visa providing permission for the immediate relatives of the principal applicant or primary visa-holder on the Skilled Worker route. This includes the partner or dependent child of someone applying for a Skilled Worker visa or already living in the UK with leave to remain under this immigration route.
Skilled Worker Dependant visa eligibility requirements
There are various eligibility criteria that must be met to be able to qualify for a Skilled Worker Dependant visa, including having the proximity of relationship with the principal applicant or primary visa-holder. This means that you must be either:
- the spouse or civil partner of the Skilled Worker
- their unmarried partner, provided you have lived in a relationship akin to a marriage for at least 2 years at the date of application, or
- a dependent child under the age of 18 of the Skilled Worker.
If you are aged 16 or over and applying as the dependent child of a Skilled Worker, you must live with the principal applicant or primary visa-holder, unless you are either in full-time education at boarding school, college or university. You must also be financially supported by them, not be married or in a civil partnership, nor have any children.
In addition to satisfying the necessary relationship requirements for a Skilled Worker Dependant visa, where you are applying from overseas or from within the UK but have not lived there lawfully for more than 12 months, you must also meet a financial requirement. This means that, in addition to the £1,270 funds that the principal applicant will need to show, you must have a certain amount of money available to support yourself, unless your partner or parent’s UK sponsor is able to certify maintenance for the whole family.
For the partner of the principal applicant, you will need to show funds of £285 to initially support yourself while in the UK, increasing to £315 for the first dependent child applicant. For any additional child, the financial requirement will be met by showing funds of £200 each. As such, if you are applying for a Skilled Worker Dependant visa at the same time as your partner, together with your three dependent children, as a family you would need to show funds of £2,270 (=£1,270 + £285 + £315 + £200 + £200).
How to apply for a Skilled Worker Dependant visa
To apply as a dependant of a Skilled Worker you must complete an online application on the Home Office website and pay the relevant fee. You can apply from outside the UK to follow or accompany to join your partner or parent on the Skilled Worker route. You may also be able to switch to the Skilled Worker route from inside the UK on a different type of visa.
When you apply for a Skilled Worker Dependant visa you will need your partner or parent’s unique application number (UAN). They will be given an UAN when they apply. This can be found on emails and letters from the Home Office about their application.
As part of your application, you and any children will need to prove your identities in one of two ways. This could be by attending an overseas visa application centre (VAC) if outside the UK or, alternatively, a UK Visa and Citizenship Application Services (UKVCAS) centre if applying from within the UK, together with a valid passport or other travel identity document. However, you may instead be able to use the ‘UK Immigration: ID Check’ app to scan your document. If you are required to attend an appointment, you will also need to have a scan of your fingerprints and your photograph taken to enable you to obtain a biometric residence permit. You will be instructed what to do when you apply.
If applying to switch from a different visa from inside the UK, and you are applying at the same time as your partner or parent, the application form will explain whether you any dependent children can be included in the application for the principal applicant or, alternatively, whether you will need to apply separately. If applying from overseas, each of you will be required to make separate applications on the Skilled Worker route.
Skilled Worker Dependant visa supporting documents
When applying for a Skilled Worker Dependant visa, you will need a valid passport or other travel document to prove your nationality and identity. You will also need additional documentary evidence to prove each of the relevant requirements, including:
Evidence of your relationship with your partner or parent
You must be able to prove, for example, that either you are in a civil partnership or marriage that is recognised in the UK or you have been living together in a relationship for a minimum of 2 years when you apply. In either case, you must also be able to show that you are in a genuine and subsisting relationship. When applying as a dependent child, there will need to be evidence that you live with the Skilled Worker and are financially dependent on them;
Evidence of meeting the financial requirement
This will require proof of funds, where you will need to show that you have had the required amount of money available for at least 28 consecutive days, where day 28 must be within 31 days of making your application.
Can you travel while your application is pending?
If you are required to attend an overseas VAC to prove your identity, they may need to keep your passport and supporting documents while they process your application. This means that you will not be able to travel while you wait for a decision. Equally, if you make an application from inside the UK to switch to the Skilled worker route from a different visa, you must not travel outside of the UK, Ireland, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man until you get a decision, otherwise risk your application being withdrawn.
How much does a Skilled Worker Dependant visa cost?
The cost of a Skilled Worker Dependant visa will depend on how long you are looking to live in the UK and whether you are making an overseas or in-country application. For example, as the dependent partner of a Skilled Worker with leave in the UK for less than 3 years, the fee will be £625 when applying from overseas, increasing to £1,235 for leave for more than 3 years. In contrast, if you are applying to switch to this visa from inside the UK, the fee will be £719 for a visa of up to 3 years and £1,423 for a visa for more than 3 years.
If your partner or parent’s job appears on the shortage occupation list under the UK’s Immigration Rules, you will benefit from a lower application fee. The fee for each person applying in these circumstances will be just £479 if you will be staying in the UK for up to 3 years and £943 if you will be staying for more than 3 years. The fee is also the same, regardless of whether you are applying from inside or outside the UK.
However, there will also be an immigration healthcare surcharge for all applicants, currently set at £624 per year of stay, to enable you to access to the UK’s National Health Service during your stay. This means that if you are granted a visa with a validity period of 3 years, you will be required to pay an extra £1,872. However, the surcharge is reduced to £470 for applicants under 18, where a 3-year visa would equate to an additional cost of £1,410.
How long does a Skilled Worker Dependant visa take to process?
If you apply as a dependant of a Skilled Worker from overseas, as with most other applications for limited leave to enter, once you have proved your identity and provided your documentation in support, a decision should usually be made within 3 weeks. If you make an application from inside the UK, the processing time is typically up to 8 weeks.
However, you may be able to apply to get a faster decision using one the priority services. You will be told if you can pay for a faster decision when you apply, although this does not necessarily guarantee a quicker decision if your application is not straightforward.
When should you apply for a Skilled Worker Dependant visa?
It is possible to apply for a Skilled Worker Dependant visa at the same time as your partner or parent, or once they are already living in the UK. However, even if you apply at the same time, you and any dependant children applying with you will each need to complete a separate application when applying from overseas. You will also all need to pay a fee.
Importantly, if you are already in the UK on a valid visa and your partner or parent switches to the Skilled Worker route, your visa will not automatically switch with them. This means that if you do not apply to change routes, you will no longer have permission to be in the UK once your existing visa expires. This will be valid until its original end date, where you must apply for a Skilled Worker Dependant visa prior to its expiry.
What does a Skilled Worker Dependant visa allow you to do?
If you are granted a Skilled Worker Dependant visa, there will be certain conditions of stay attached. However, as either the partner or dependent child of a Skilled Worker — even though your partner or parent must continue to work in their sponsored job role —you will be permitted to do any type of work in the UK, except as a sportsperson or coach. This means that you can also undertake self-employment or voluntary work.
If you choose not to work, you will be able to study instead, although you will not be able to apply for most benefits. You will, however, be able to travel abroad and return to the UK, provided you do not spend more than 180 days overseas in any 12-month period, as this could affect any application for indefinite leave to remain under this route.
Having been granted a visa, you will get a full list of what you can and cannot do.
Can you extend a Skilled Worker Dependant visa?
If your application for a Skilled Worker Dependant visa is successful, your visa will end on the same date as that of the principal applicant or primary visa-holder. This is because your grant of leave is conditional upon their permission to be in the UK. However, when your visa expires, provided your partner or parent is applying to extend their stay, you can also apply for an extension of your visa. This includes children who have turned 18 in the UK.
Your partner or parent can apply to extend their Skilled Worker visa as many times as they like, provided they continue to meet the relevant requirements under this route. However, you must also apply to extend, as your visa will not automatically extend in line with theirs.
Can Skilled Worker Dependants apply to settle in the UK?
If you and your partner or parent are granted a further period of leave, once you have accrued a continuous period of residence in the UK of 5 years, you may be eligible to apply to settle in the UK on a permanent basis. Also commonly referred to as indefinite leave to remain, this will allow you and your family to live in the UK for as long as you want. After a further period of one year, you may also be able to apply for British citizenship.
DavidsonMorris are specialists in UK business immigration, with substantial experience and recognised expertise in advising employers and workers on UK employment sponsorship, sponsor licence applications and management, and Skilled Worker and Skilled Worker Dependant visa applications. For expert immigration advice, contact us.
Skilled worker dependant visa FAQs
Who are the dependents of a Skilled Worker UK?
Under the Skilled Worker route, either the spouse, partner or children under 18 of the principal applicant or primary visa-holder can apply for a Skilled Worker Dependant visa. This includes unmarried partners who have lived with them for 2 years.
Can a dependant on a Skilled Worker visa work?
Under the Immigration Rules for the Skilled Worker route, dependants of the main visa-holder are free to work in any job role, except as a sportsperson or coach, although the visa-holder must continue to work in their sponsored role.
What is a Skilled Worker Dependant visa?
A Skilled Worker Dependant visa is a UK visa providing permission for the immediate relatives of the principal applicant or primary visa-holder on the Skilled Worker route, including the worker’s spouse, partner or dependent children under 18.
Can a dependent switch to Skilled Worker?
A partner or child can switch into the Skilled Worker route if they are already in the UK on a different visa, although there are certain exceptions to this rule, including not being able to switch from a Visitor visa.
Last updated: 30 March 2023