PBS Dependant Visa Overview

The Points-Based System (PBS) is the UK’s immigration system to manage the entry of skilled workers, students, and other individuals from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland. It assigns points to applicants based on specific criteria, such as qualifications, work experience, language proficiency, and sponsorship. The PBS-dependent visa allows the partners and children of these migrants to come with them to the UK for the duration of their visas. As the PBS system covers a wide range of different visas, from multi-million-pound investor visas to student visas, there’s a significant amount of variation in the duration and cost of the dependant visas. However, all PBS dependant visas work along the same broad principles:

  • Dependants can apply at the same time as the main applicant or can apply to join them at a later date.
  • The length of the PBS dependant visa depends on the visa category of the main applicant. It will typically be granted for the same duration as the main applicant’s visa.
  • Dependants can work, study, and live in the UK without any restrictions.
  • Dependants can extend their visas with the main applicant or apply for settlement (indefinite leave to remain) after meeting the residency requirements.


The PBS dependant visa allows family units to remain together and provides significant opportunities and rights to the visa holder. It also provides a pathway to indefinite leave to remain and, in time, British citizenship. However it’s always important to understand that as a PBS dependant visa holder, your stay in the UK is inextricably linked to that of the main visa holder. Future extensions and the right to remain in the UK can only be granted if the main applicant extends their stay and you remain in a genuine and subsisting relationship with the main visa holder.

Who Can Apply for a PBS Dependant Visa?

To be able to apply for a PBS dependant visa, you need to ensure that you meet the eligibility criteria. This includes requirements for both you as the dependant family member as well as requirements for the main visa holder. The most important requirement is that the main visa holder must have a qualifying PBS visa. The following list provides an overview of the most common qualifying PBS visas:

  • Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) – Innovator Visa, Investor Visa, Global Talent Visa
  • Tier 2 (Skilled Worker) – General Visa, Intra-Company Transfer (ICT) Visa, Minister of Religion Visa, Sportsperson Visa
  • Tier 4 (Student) – Student Visa*, Ancestry Visa
  • Tier 5 (Temporary Workers) – Temporary Worker Visa**

*subject to the level of the qualification, duration of the course, and the institution

**subject to the specifics of the temporary work visa


In addition to the above, the applicant for the PBS dependant visa must:

    • be the spouse, civil partner, unmarried partner, or dependant child (under the age of 18) of a person who is applying for or already in the UK under a PBS visa
    • demonstrate a genuine and subsisting relationship with the main visa holder
    • satisfy a maintenance funds requirement in conjunction with the main applicant

Providing all of the above requirements are met, and the necessary evidence is submitted, your application for a PBS dependant visa should be granted.

Rights and Permissions Under the PBS Dependant Visa

The PBS dependant visa bestows several benefits to the visa holder, including the right to work and study and some more general rights. The PBS dependant visa allows the holder to:

  • Engage in full-time or part-time employment with any employer without sponsorship.
  • Pursue full-time or part-time education at a recognized UK school, college, or university.
  • Enjoy the freedom to leave and re-enter the UK as desired.
  • Apply for visa extensions to continue staying in the UK.
  • Become eligible to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) after living continuously in the UK for five years.

However, it is important to note that there are some limitations to the visa, including the right to access public funds:

  • Generally, PBS Dependants do not have access to most UK public funds, including welfare benefits and social housing.
  • However, some exceptions apply, such as access to healthcare through the National Health Service (NHS).

What is the Cost of a PBS Dependant Visa?

The cost of a PBS dependant visa varies by each tier of the PBS system and visa type. Sometimes, the fee can also be influenced by the length of the visa. As the most common type of PBS dependant visa application is as the partner or child of a Tier 2 General Skilled Worker, we have provided an illustration below based on this criteria.

  • Application fee for 3-year Tier 2 General Visa (main applicant) = £719
  • Application fee for 3-year Tier 2 General Visa (dependant) = £719
  • Immigration Health Surcharge for 3 Years (3 x £624 adult / 3 x £470 child) = £1,872 per adult / £1,410 per child

Therefore, in this example, the cost for the main applicant on a Tier 2 General Skilled Worker visa would be £2,591 (£719 + £1,872). The cost for a dependant adult would also be £2,591, while the cost for a dependant child would be £2,129.

What is the Maintenance Requirement for a PBS Dependant Visa?

Much like the costs for a dependant PBS visa, the maintenance requirement is variable based on your visa, tier, and length of time spent in the UK. Once again, we will use the example of the dependant partner or child of a Tier 2 General Skilled Worker as an example to illustrate how the maintenance requirement works.

  • Maintenance requirement for main applicant = £1,270
  • Maintenance requirement for dependant partner = £285
  • Maintenance requirement for first dependant child = £315
  • Maintenance requirement for subsequent dependant child = £200

So, in the instance of a family consisting of the main applicant, a partner, and two children, a maintenance requirement of £2,070 would apply (£1,270 + £285 + £315 = £200). As part of your application, you must provide bank statements showing that the maintenance funds have been in your account for at least 28 continuous days. The last day of this period must also be within 31 days of the application for the visa.

It’s important to note that if the main applicant has been living in the UK for over 12 months, they will automatically satisfy the maintenance requirements. This applies to both the main applicant and any dependants.