If you are the partner or child of someone in the UK who uses the points-based system and you want to travel to the UK with them or join them in the UK, you may be eligible for a PBS-dependent visa.
What is a PBS dependent visa and who can apply for one?
A UK PBS dependent visa allows the spouse, unmarried partners and children of points visa holders to come to the UK with their partner or parent. Adult and dependent child visa holders have the right to live, work and study in the UK for as long as the main applicant holds the PBS visa and remains here. However, PBS dependent visa holders cannot access public funds or benefits.
According to the Home Office’s PBS dependent guidance, the main visa holder must have a qualifying visa to bring their dependents to the UK on a PBS dependent visa. Qualifying visas include the following:
- Visa for skilled workers
- Visa for health and care worker
- Senior or Skilled Worker Visa (Global Business Mobility)
- Minister of Religion Visa (T2)
- International sports visa
- High Potential Individual Visa (HPI)
- Graduate Trainee Visa (Global Business Mobility)
- UK Expansion Worker Visa (Global Business Mobility)
- Posted Worker Visa (Global Business Mobility)
- Service Provider Visa (Global Business Mobility)
- Graduate visa
- Visa for innovators
- Startup visa
- Global Talent Visa
- Entrepreneur Visa (Tier 1)
- Investor Visa (Tier 1)
- Ancestry Visa for the United Kingdom
- Temporary Work – Charity Worker Visa
- Temporary Work: Creative Worker Visa
- Temporary Work – Government-authorized exchange visa
- Temporary work – Visa with international agreement
- Temporary Work – Religious Worker Visa
- British National (Overseas) Visa.
- Visa for Turkish businessmen
- Visa for Turkish workers
Those eligible to apply for a UK PBS dependent visa include:
- husband, wife, civil partner or unmarried partner
- children (under 18) born outside the UK
- children (under 18) born in the UK during your stay
- children over 18: those over 18 must already be in the UK and be considered dependents (i.e. not living an independent life)
- If your partner or child is not eligible for a PBS dependent visa, other types of visas you may want to consider bringing them to the UK include:
- The family visa (like the spouse visa once the primary visa holder has obtained ILR)
- The Skilled Worker Visa (for those who will work in the UK in a skilled occupation)
- Temporary worker visa
- Student visa
Leaves to remain as a PBS employee
PBS Dependent Leave Leave gives permission to remain in the UK for the duration of the visa to those who are already in the UK. The PBS Dependent Entry Permit gives permission to cross into the UK at the border to those applying from outside the UK. Guidance for PBS employees states that those who are permitted to enter or remain in the UK as PBS employees can:
- Work full-time or part-time for any employer (no sponsorship required)
- Study full-time or part-time at a UK school, college or university
- Leave and re-enter the UK freely
- Extend your visa further
- Apply for ILR after 5 years of continuous residence in the UK (in some cases, it may be possible to apply for ILR in less time).
- Employees of the immigration points system cannot, however:
- Access public funds and benefits
- Work as a professional athlete, doctor or dentist
PBS Dependent Visa Requirements
To apply for a points-based system-dependent visa, applicants must meet the following criteria:
- Be a qualified employee of a UK PBS visa holder
- Have sufficient funds for maintenance
- Qualifying employee requirement
Partners of a PBS visa holder are eligible for a PBS-dependent visa as long as you can demonstrate:
- both partners are 18 years or older
- you are both in a civil partnership or marriage (this must be legally recognized in the UK)
- you have been in a relationship together for a period of 2 years or more
- In order for your child to be classified as a dependent, you will need to demonstrate that they are:
- live with you (the only exception is if they are on a full-time course of study at a boarding school, college or university in the UK)
- not married (and not in a civil union) and have no children
- financially dependent on you
Funding requirements for maintenance
The Home Office will only grant a PBS dependent visa for immigration if it is satisfied that the applicant has access to sufficient funds to cover the duration of the stay in the UK. Specific maintenance fund requirements vary depending on the type of visa held by the primary visa holder; so it is important to check the requirements that apply to your situation. For example, to obtain a PBS dependent visa to join a family member on a skilled worker visa, the applicant will need to demonstrate that they have:
- £285 as a dependent partner
- £315 for a child
- £200 for each additional child
This is in addition to the £1,270 in maintenance funds required by the main visa holder.
How to apply for PBS employee visa
To apply for a PBS dependent visa, applicants must (this assumes they are outside the UK):
- Apply online – the form you need to fill out on their behalf will depend on whether they are your partner or your child2. The online application should include the Global Web Form (GWF) or a Unique Application Number (UAN) of the main PBS visa application to ensure all applications are processed together.
- Prove identity for a biometric residence permit: This can be done by booking an appointment at a visa application center and having your fingerprints and photograph taken. Alternatively, you may be able to use the ‘UK Immigration: Identity Verification’ mobile phone app for this purpose.
- Submit any required payment
- Upload all documents necessary to support your application
- Wait for a decision
PBS-dependent applications can be processed in as little as 3 weeks after completing the identification process and providing all documents. Alternatively, if you require a quicker decision, you can receive a decision within 5 working days (‘priority service’) by paying a fee of £500 or by the end of the next working day (‘super priority service’) by paying a fee of £800.
PBS Dependent Visa Extension
PBS-dependent visas are normally granted for the same duration as the principal applicant’s PBS visa. A dependent visa holder can apply for a visa extension at the same time as the primary PBS visa holder or at any time before the visa expires. To extend the visa, they must still meet the same qualification conditions when they first apply and the PBS visa holder must still be in the UK. PBS dependent visa extensions are submitted online and the fees payable depend on the type of authorization held by the primary PBS visa holder.
PBS-dependent visa for ILR
PBS-dependent visa holders may be able to obtain ILR after living in the UK continuously for the required period of time. This will depend on the type of visa held by the primary applicant. For example, holders of a UK Skilled Worker Dependent Visa can apply for ILR after 5 years.
To obtain ILR as a PBS dependent, the main visa holder will normally hold ILR or apply for ILR at the same time. Applicants must also meet the English language requirements and pass the Life in UK test.
PBS employee visa refused
PBS-dependent visas may be refused under certain circumstances, including if:
- both individuals have no genuine or qualifying relationship
- the child is not considered dependent
- the child will not have both parents in the UK (and no exceptional circumstances apply)
- maintenance funds are insufficient
- the question is incomplete
- the applicant is not of good character
Depending on the reasons for the refusal, it may be possible:
- request an administrative review if an error has been made by the Home Office
- request a judicial review to challenge the legal basis of the refusal
- submit a new application
- apply for a different type of visa
If your dependent has been denied, let us handle the matter for you. We will examine the reasons for the refusal and determine the best path forward to reach a positive decision as quickly as possible.