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Information for international students who are planning for their family to accompany them to the UK.

If you are planning to bring your family to the UK there are several things you may need to consider, including:

The sections below and the right-hand links provide information and guidance to assist you with your preparations.


Immigration

You can bring your husband, wife, unmarried partner, and children (under 18) to the UK with you as a Tier 4 dependant if one of the following applies to you:

  • you are studying a postgraduate course of 9 months or more
  • you are a government-sponsored student and studying a course at any level of 6 months or more

Your dependants can apply to enter the UK at the same time as you or they can apply separately at a later date. If they do not apply at the same time as you they should ensure that you have received your visa before they make an application themselves. 

If you need further immigration guidance you can contact the UCL Student Immigration Advice Team.

Please visit the immigration and visas pages for how to apply and how to contact the Advice Team.


Accommodation

UCL managed accommodation

Most students bringing their families to the UK will need to arrange accommodation prior to their arrival, as it can be difficult to find temporary accommodation for families while you are looking for something permanent.

UCL has limited couples’ accommodation for students and partners who are married or in a civil partnership. There is also limited UCL accommodation available for students with children.

More information about family accommodation can be found on the UCL Accommodation website.

Other accommodation

Additionally, International Hall has a small number of flats available for students with children. The application process differs slightly for students with families and you will need to submit an application form. Please email info.halls@london.ac.uk for further information.

Information on the application process and deadline for students with children at International Hall can be found on the University of London website.

Students' Union UCL provides further advice on renting for couples and families.

You can also get guidance on renting private housing from the University of London Housing Services (ULHS). 

Please note that students with children are advised not to bring them to London until firm arrangements for accommodation are in place.


Finances

UCL has no specific financial support available for parents. However, if you do experience financial difficulty during the course of the academic year, you are encouraged to apply to the Financial Assistance Fund – an emergency fund to help students in unexpected financial hardship, for which student parents are a priority group.

More information about the financial support available at UCL can be found on the funding webpages.

If you are experiencing more sensitive or complex funding issues, or would like advice on budgeting your money, you can contact the Student Funding Adviser. 

More information about the Student Funding Adviser can be found on the funding webpages.

Some parents may also be eligible to apply to the Government's childcare grant scheme.


Healthcare

If you are a Tier 4 student, your spouse or civil partner (not unmarried partner) and children who are with you in the UK will also be entitled to free NHS hospital treatment. Your family members must be in the UK as your dependants and not, for example, as visitors.

You will need to pay for prescriptions, although these are free for children under sixteen, pregnant women and for people with certain disabilities.

More information about accessing healthcare in the UK can be found on the international support pages.


Childcare and schools

There are many different childcare options available in London. These include:

If your children are aged between 5 and 16, they can attend government primary and secondary schools in the UK, as long as they are here as your dependants. You will not have to pay for this. However, schools may sometimes refuse places to children if they consider their stay in the UK will be too short, or if they have no free places.


English language support

English classes may be offered through the UCL Centre for Languages and International Education (CLIE).

Please contact CLIE directly for further information.


Working

Spouses who are nationals of an EU country can be employed in the UK. If you are a Tier 4 student, your partner will be able to work if either of the following applies: 

  • you are studying a postgraduate course of 12 months or more
  • you are a government-sponsored student and studying a course at any level of 6 months or more

Family members who are allowed to work can take any type of employment, except as a doctor or dentist in training or a sportsperson (including sports coach) if their passport or Biometric Residence Permit states that they are subject to this prohibition. They can also be self-employed.

Everyone working in the UK needs to obtain a National Insurance Number and ensure that they are paying the correct amount of tax.

Information about applying for a National Insurance Number can be found on the Gov.UK website.

Information about tax can also be found on the Gov.UK website.

Dependants of students are also free to study in the UK on either a full-time or part-time basis. 


Social life

International Students House (SH) run a range of trips and activities, some of which are open to families.

More information can be found on the ISH website.

HOST UK is an organisation which arranges visits for international students with host families around the UK to give you a chance to explore the country and experience British culture.

Spouses and children are also welcome to accompany students on HOST UK visits.

There are many activities available for children in London. Most of the major museums and galleries are free and those that are not usually have discounts for children.

TimeOut is a weekly magazine which has a special section on activities and events for children in London.


Support services and child-friendly spaces at UCL 

Student parents have full access to the same support services as any other student.

More information can be found on the Student Support and Wellbeing webpages. 

Students' Union UCL also offers a list of resources for parents and information on child-friendly spaces at the university, libraries and how to join the Parents and Carers Network on their website. 

Find out more about the Students' Union support for student parents.

Find out more about the Union's Parents and Carers network.