Tier 1 Dependant Visa (Application & Requirements)


Applying for the Tier 1 Dependant Visa 

One of the benefits of the Tier 1 visa route is that it offers the visa holder’s family members the opportunity to apply to join their loved one in the UK.

As a ‘PBS dependant’ under the UK’s Points-Based visa system, you will be subject to different rules and have different rights to the main applicant. You will be permitted to work while in the UK and, as a Tier 1 dependant visa holder, you may also become eligible to apply for UK settlement under ILR after 5 years, provided other eligibility requirements are met.

Do you qualify as a Tier 1 dependant?

To be classed as a PBS visa dependant, you must be either the spouse, partner or child of a Tier 1 visa holder, or an individual who previously held Tier 1 visa status and now has ILR or citizenship and you do not yet qualify to settle.

In order to be granted entry clearance as a spouse, civil partner, unmarried or same sex partner, you and the main applicant must be aged 18 or over on the date you are due to arrive in the United Kingdom.

You can apply where your partner, spouse or parent:

  • Is applying for a Tier 1 visa. You can apply as a PBS dependant at the same time as the ‘main applicant’ or after their leave has been granted.
  • Has ILR or British citizenship.

For spouses and partners, leave will be granted in line with the main applicant’s visa expiry or, where they have ILR or British citizenship and you do not qualify for ILR, you will be granted leave to remain for up to 3 years, after which you can apply for further leave to remain to take you to the qualifying residency period for ILR.

For children, leave will be granted in line with the expiry of the parent whose leave expires first, or for a period of 3 years if both parents have, or are at the same time being granted ILR or have since naturalised as British citizens.

Documents providing eligibility for a Tier 1 dependant visa

Appendix E of the Immigration Rules specifies the full list of documents to be submitted as part of your Tier 1 dependant visa application. These include, among others:

  1. Relevant application form – completed signed and dated
  2. Current, valid passport
  3. Most recent National Identity Card
  4. Marriage certificate (evidence of legal relationship) – certified translation where relevant
  5. Passport sized photographs
  6. Highest qualification certification eg degree certificate – certified translation where relevant
  7. Photographs to evidence relationship and family life eg from wedding day, birthdays
  8. TB health screening report – where relevant

These are in addition to the documents the main applicant has to submit as part of their application. Additional requirements also apply where the your last grant of leave was not as a Tier 1 dependant.

Errors to avoid

It is important to ensure you compile the correct documents in the correct format. Issues with your documents can result in delays or refusal of your application.

Common errors to avoid include:

  • Missing documents – double check your bundle against the list of required documents.
  • Also ensure the documents you submit are full and complete, for example, that they cover the entire period required.
  • Incorrect document format. For example, a letterhead may be required, or a certified copy and not just a photocopy.
  • Incomplete information. All documents must contain the required information.
  • Documents may also be subject to verification, as such, ensure the source of the document is clear.

Tier 1 Dependant Visa Conditions of Stay

As a PBS dependant, your leave to remain will be subject to a number of conditions:

  • You will not be able to claim benefits or public funds
  • Not permitted to take up employment as aprofessional sportsperson (including as a sports coach)
  • Not permitted to take up employment asa Doctor or Dentist in Training, unless certain circumstances apply.
  • You may have to register with the police
  • You may study while in the UK – international university fees apply to PBS dependants
  • You will have to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge

Maintenance requirement

Since PBS dependants cannot access public funds (benefits), a primary requirement of the Tier 1 dependant visa is that the applicant must be able to demonstrate sufficient financial means to support them self for the entire stay in the UK without needing help from public funds.

Note however that family members of Tier 1 (Investor) and Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) migrants are exempt from the maintenance requirement.

The requirements vary depending on the main visa holder’s category and where the application is being made.

If the main visa holder has been in the UK for less than 12months, or is outside the UK, you must evidence you have had access to at least £1890 for each PBS dependant in the 90 days preceding your application. This threshold is reduced to £630 where the main visa holder has been in the UK for more than 12 months.

Importantly, dependants of Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visa holders cannot rely on the investment funds used under the attributes requirements of the main visa to meet this maintenance requirement. It is recommended to keep the two funds in two separate bank accounts if possible to avoid confusion or the maintenance fund level dropping below the threshold during the 90 day qualifying period.

The threshold is reduced for Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) dependants: £1260 where the primary visa holder is outside the UK or has been present in the UK for less than 12 months. If the Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) has been in the UK for 12 months or more, you must have £630 to support yourself.

ILR eligibility

The qualifying period for settlement for all PBS dependants is 5 years. Where the main visa holder is eligible for fast-tracked settlement, this will not apply to their dependants.

Dependant children can qualify for settlement if both parents are settled or applying for settlement at the same time, or at the same time as the main applicant if the main applicant has sole responsibility for them.

Do you need help with a Tier 1 Dependant Visa application?

The evidentiary burdens on Tier 1 dependant visa applicants are tough. The Home Office requires applications to be complete, comprehensive and correctly formatted. Failure to follow the application guidelines results in delays or refusal of application – and a loss of application fee.

As Tier 1 visa specialists, we work with family members of Tier 1 visa holders to guide them through the PBS dependant visa application process. We advise on your eligibility and on how to compile supporting documentation that complies with the strict requirements.

We also help individuals who have had their application refused, to assess the grounds for denial and consider their options such as making a new application that addresses the reasons for refusal.

If you have any questions relating to your application, please contact us.


Founder and Managing Director Anne Morris is a fully qualified solicitor and trusted adviser to large corporates through to SMEs, providing strategic immigration and global mobility advice to support employers with UK operations to meet their workforce needs through corporate immigration.

She is a recognised by Legal 500 and Chambers as a legal expert and delivers Board-level advice on business migration and compliance risk management as well as overseeing the firm’s development of new client propositions and delivery of cost and time efficient processing of applications.

Anne is an active public speaker, immigration commentator, and immigration policy contributor and regularly hosts training sessions for employers and HR professionals

About DavidsonMorris

As employer solutions lawyers, DavidsonMorris offers a complete and cost-effective capability to meet employers’ needs across UK immigration and employment law, HR and global mobility.

Led by Anne Morris, one of the UK’s preeminent immigration lawyers, and with rankings in The Legal 500 and Chambers & Partners, we’re a multi-disciplinary team helping organisations to meet their people objectives, while reducing legal risk and nurturing workforce relations.

Legal Disclaimer

The matters contained in this article are intended to be for general information purposes only. This article does not constitute legal advice, nor is it a complete or authoritative statement of the law, and should not be treated as such. Whilst every effort is made to ensure that the information is correct at the time of writing, no warranty, express or implied, is given as to its accuracy and no liability is accepted for any error or omission. Before acting on any of the information contained herein, expert legal advice should be sought.

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