Children and Parents in Woods

International students International students with families

If you're bringing family with you to Scotland, we're here to help and give you support! You'll find lots of useful information below, including activities and days out organised by the International Family Group.

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.

UKCISA Dependants Guidance

Immigration Rules Appendix Student - Dependants of a Student

Student route caseworker guidance

If you hold a Student visa or Tier 4 visa you may be able to apply for visas for your family, by applying for a Dependant(s) visa.

UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) consider dependants to be:

  • a partner (spouse, civil partner or 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 (the Student visa applicant):

  • you are studying a course at postgraduate level* that is at least 9 months in duration OR 
  • you are studying a course at any level over six months long AND you are government-sponsored

If you have a Tier 4 or Tier 4 Doctorate Extension Scheme visa, you will have to meet the requirements of the UK Immigration Rules at the time your visa was granted to bring Dependants.

*UK Visas and Immigration define "postgraduate level study" as a course that is level 11 or above of the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF) or level 7 or above of the Regulated Qualifications Framework. Please check with our Admissions team for your course level.

See the Immigration Rules Introduction for the definition of "postgraduate level study" and Appendix Student for bringing Dependants on the Student visa in the links below for more information.

More information:

If you, the main Student visa applicant, plan on bringing your child(ren) to the UK, both parents must also be coming to the UK. This is confirmed in paragraph 34.2 in the Immigration Rules Appendix Student.

Tier 4 visa holders

Tier 4 students would need to ensure they meet the requirements of the UK Immigration Rules when their visa was granted to bring children to the UK.

Exceptions for one parent to bring their child(ren) to the UK

If the other parent is not able to come to the UK, there are only very few exceptions where one parent can bring their child(ren) to the UK.

You would need to demonstrate that you:

  • have sole responsibility for your child(ren)'s upbringing OR
  • have serious or compelling considerations making it desirable for your child(ren) to come to the UK 
  • also must have made suitable arrangements for your child(ren)'s care
What if I do not meet any of the above points?

Both parents are required to come to the UK or be in the UK in order to apply for your child(ren) to join you in the UK. Without demonstrating one parent has "sole responsibility" for your child(ren) or that there are "serious and compelling" reasons, it will not be possible for them to apply.

I want to apply for my child(ren) to come to the UK as my Dependants under the above points. What evidence can I provide?

The Immigration Rules Appendix Student does not have detailed information on what type of evidence can be provided. Students and their Dependants are responsible for ensuring they understand and meet the UK immigration requirements. 

The International Student Support Team are not regulated to advise on what would be considered "serious or compelling" reasons. We would encourage students to contact qualified UK immigration solicitors for advice.

More information:

It's compulsory for children between the ages of five and 16 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 five 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 five is expensive and places are limited. You should expect to pay upwards of £650 per month for full time childcare for pre-school aged children.

In Scotland, all children aged three or four 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.

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.

We'd strongly recommended that you come to the UK on your own in the first instance to find accommodation that most suits your needs then bring your family over. We'd advise you not to enter into a contract with a private sector landlord without first having seen the accommodation he/she is offering you.

Take a look at more information on private accommodation.

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