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Tier 2 Dependent Visa Guidance

One of the advantages of the Tier 2 visa route is that it allows family members to join the main visa holder in the UK with a Tier 2 dependent visa.

We look at the requirements for the Tier 2 visa route for dependents, including who is eligible, what it allows the holder to do and how to apply.

Tier 2 Dependent Visa Eligibility  

Main applicant

Eligibility under the Tier 2 dependent visa is limited to immediate family members of individuals who have or are applying for leave to remain in the UK under one of the following categories:

  • Tier 2 (General)
  • Tier 2 Minister of religion
  • Tier 2 Sportsperson
  • Tier 2 Intracompany Transfer

Alternatively, they may already hold ILR or British citizenship, after having held leave to remain under the Tier 2 visa category.

Immediate family member

Immediate family members are limited to:

  • Spouse or civil partner;
  • Unmarried or same-sex partner of at least 2 continual years;
  • Child aged under 18 at the time of application; or
  • Child over 18, if they’re currently in the UK as a dependent.

The relationship between spouses and partners should be genuine and you must plan living together for the entire period of stay in the UK.

Maintenance funds 

Tier 2 dependents have no recourse to public funds As such, in their application they must evidence access to sufficient financial means for the duration of leave in the UK and where there are dependents, they must show an extra £630 available for each dependent.

Original form bank statements are acceptable provided the funds being relied on for the requirement have been in the bank account (of the Tier 2 visa holder or their dependent) for longer than 90 days before the application date.


Both the main applicant and dependent must be at least 18 on the date of arrival into the UK, or when getting the visa.

Other requirements grounds for admission 

You must not be a previous holder of a UK visitor visa, short-term study visa on or after April 2015 or been granted leave as a parent of a Tier 4 (child) student on or after April 2015.

You will in addition have to pass the general grounds from admission. You have to have a clear immigration history with no period of overstaying etc. You must not intend to remain in the UK when your partner or relative’s visa expires

Tier 2 Children Dependents

The rules for Tier 2 dependent children are complex, and depend largely on the relationship of their parents.

To qualify as a dependent child, one of the following must apply:

  • The family as a whole is in the process of applying to the Home Office i.e. one parent under Tier 2 and the rest as dependents. OR
  • Both parents are to be in the UK (one of them or both under the Tier 2 Visa), while the underage child is applying to join them from abroad as a dependent. OR
  • One parent is in the UK, while the other is applying together with the child to join as a dependent from abroad

Exempt from the above conditions are the following scenarios:

  • Where only one parent is alive
  • Where one parent holds the sole responsibility for the child
  • Where there are serious or compelling considerations which must be taken into account

Application process

Tier 2 dependent via applications can be made either at the same time or at a later time to the main Tier 2 visa application.

Regardless of when the applications are made, successful applications will be granted leave in line with the main visa applicant’s period of leave.

 The application process will vary depending on where the Tier 2 dependent visa application is being made.

Applications from within the UK

Dependents already in the UK with valid leave to remain under a different visa (except for a visitor visa) can apply to switch to the dependent visa without having to leave the UK.

Applications from outside the UK

Applications are made online and biometric information provided at a visa application centre.

Can a Tier 2 visa dependent work?

Tier 2 dependents are permitted to work in the UK. The exceptions are that you are not able to work as a doctor or dentist in training or as a professional sportsperson including as a sports coach.

Should a Tier 2 dependent secure employment as a Tier 2 skilled worker, they would need to leave the UK and apply for their Tier 2 visa from their country of residence. You will not be allowed to switch from the dependent to main Tier 2 visa in-country.

As a tier 2 dependent visa holder, you can:

  • Remain in the UK for the same period f leave as the main tier 2 visa holder
  • Work, with limited exceptions
  • Study or take a postgraduate course, under certain conditions
  • You may become eligible to apply for UK ILR if you have be in the UK for 5 continuous years, provided the main visa holder qualifies for settlement permit, or has already been settled permanently.
  • Apply to extend your visa in line with the main applicant’s leave, provided you continue to meet the requirements under the route. You would not be able to apply to extend if the main visa holder has left the UK.

You cannot access public funds, or work as a doctor in training or dentist in training or a professionals sports coach.

Need help with a Tier 2 dependent visa?

DavidsonMorris specialise in UK visa applications, including Tier 2 dependent visas. We can guide you through the application process, including advising on eligibility and support with compiling documentation.

Contact us for advice on your visa application.

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