International students with families

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International Families Group

Keep up to date with important information and activities by joining our mailing list.

Simply send an email to requesting to be added to the list.  Please add the following information in your email:

University Registration Number




How many family members are with you in the UK?

If you have children with you in the UK, how old are they?

Examples of day trips and events organised by the International Families Group (IFG):

Day trip to Cairnie Fruit farm in Fife, day trip to New Lanark heritage site, International Families Group information drop-in & welcome event, International lunch, Loch Lomond Shores & Aquarium, family games night.

We send regular newsletters to IFG members.   These newsletters have practical and fun information relevant to international families living in Glasgow.

If you have any ideas for future day trips and/or events, please feel free to email them to us (


Bringing dependants to the UK

Some international students coming to the UK can bring their spouse and children under the age of 18 with them as their dependants. However, if you plan to bring your spouse/family with you, please bear in mind that the cost of living will increase accordingly. You should think carefully whether bringing your family with you to the UK is the best option, or whether they should remain at home. It will not be possible for two or more people to live on a budget for only one.

Student Visa Guide

UKCISA Dependants Guidance

Home Office Dependant Guidance

Dependant visa

If you hold a Tier 4 (General) visa you may be able to apply for visas for your family, by applying for a Dependant(s) visa.  The Home Office consider dependants to be a partner (spouse/civil partner/unmarried partner) or child (children over 18 are not eligible unless they are currently in the UK as your dependant).  You may bring your dependants if you (the main applicant) are studying a course at postgraduate level that is at least 12 months in duration. Alternatively, your dependants can join you on a course at any level, provided you are government-sponsored, and the course is over 6 months long. Please consult our Student Visa Guide and the PBS Dependant Policy Guidance for further information on eligibility to bring dependants. If you are currently in the UK with your dependants and you are about to start a course that is 6 months or less in duration your dependants must return home. If you plan to start an eligible course of study in the future your dependants will be eligible to join you once your new Tier 4 visa has been granted.  You will have to show that you have sufficient funds for yourself (£1015 per month) and each dependant (£680 each per month) to live on.

Children’s education

It is compulsory for children between the ages of 5 and 16 years to attend school. Your child will be accepted into a local state school at no charge.

The best way for caring for children under the age of 5 is for you and your spouse to organise your study and free time to ensure that you personally meet the needs of your children. Childcare for children under 5 is extremely expensive and places are very limited. Expect to pay upwards of £650 per month for full time childcare for pre-school aged children. 

In Scotland, all children aged 3 or 4 years old are entitled to a part-time, funded nursery place in either a Council nursery or in a nursery or playgroup which has a partnership contract with the Council.

Please click on the links to the right for further information on enrolling your child at a local school or childcare provider.


Finding accommodation for you and your family may take some time therefore you should be prepared to have to search for suitable accommodation once you arrive in Glasgow. It is strongly recommended that you come to the UK on your own in the first instance to find accommodation which most suits your needs then bring your family over.  We would not advise you to enter into a contract with a private sector landlord without first having seen the accommodation he/she is offering you.  Information on private accommodation is available from the Accommodation Office.

The cost of accommodation can be expensive with 1 bedroom flats from £175 per week or more in the private rented sector. You should give careful consideration to these costs and other factors such as very limited and expensive childcare facilities when deciding whether or not to bring your family to Glasgow.

NOTE: Your partner will be permitted to work full time whilst you study in the UK. However, finding suitable employment may be difficult. Your partner may also have to consider their language skills when looking for employment. You and your family cannot rely on earnings from employment here in the UK to finance your stay in the UK. You are not entitled to claim any state benefits (money from the Government).


Most families in the UK find the cheapest place to do their weekly food shopping is a supermarket. Local stores and small shops, which also open late, tend to have limited choice and are normally more expensive.

There are a number of supermarkets with good ‘world food’ sections across the city, use their store locators to find one near you – the most popular are listed below:







The Co-operative

There are also two popular frozen food supermarkets which also stock non-frozen items



You will also find plenty of good fruit and vegetable shops across the city. Many of these also specialise in international produce and are often cheaper (and better quality) than supermarkets.

As a rough guide, expect to pay £25 per person per week for food.

You can save money by buying in bulk and buying when items are on special offer.  Own brand items are often cheaper than more well-known brands.  It’s also a good idea to write a list of what you need and stick to it!