Bringing your family to the UK
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Bringing your family to the UK

You will have many questions when you are preparing to bring your family to a new country or city.  In this section we hope to answer some of those questions and provide useful information for you and your family members.

Each family's circumstances are unique and we would recommend that you contact us directly for specialised advice. 

We suggest that you or your partner travel alone to Plymouth prior to the start of your course, to set up arrangements for accommodation, childcare and schooling, especially if you have young children. 

Family accommodation

The Student Accommodation Team can help you look for accommodation. 
Whilst it is tempting to try and arrange a permanent home before you travel to the UK we would always recommend that you visit Plymouth to see suitable properties before you make your decision on where to live. 
It is also advisable to secure your accommodation before applying for a school place for your children so that the council can try to offer you a school local to you. 

Immigration for families outside the UK

Non EEA family members will be required to apply for Tier 4 Dependant entry clearance before travelling to the UK at the same time as the Tier 4 student.    

Complete a TB (Tuberculosis) test if required for your country.  Once issued, TB certificates are valid for 6 months.    
Submit your application
You should apply for Tier 4 (G) student entry clearance in the country of which you are a national or where you legally live.
The application process will depend on your location but it will be similar to this:
1)  You will submit your application online and then will be required to pay the application fee (£310) online before you can book your appointment to hand in your supporting documents. 
2) Attend your appointment at the Visa Application Centre.  Your appointment will include:
  • Handing in your supprting documents
  • Completeing biometric enrolment: All UK visa applicants (limited exemptions apply) are required to provide 10-digit finger scans and a digital photograph.
3) Wait for the outcome of your application and then return to the Visa Application Centre to pick up your documents.

How much money will your dependants need to show for their immigration application 

If this is your first application each dependant will be required to show £4050 (£4140 from 1/7/2014).
If you have already been studying in the UK and have "established presence" then each dependant will be required to show £900 (£920 from 1/7/2014). 

Dependants and work

 If the dependant's visa does not say that they must not work or enter employment, then they are free to work without restrictions. Usually Tier 4 dependants will be allowed to work if they are given permission to stay in the UK to accompany a student on a degree course for 12 months or more and are 16 years old or over

 UKCISA Guide to your family's immigration


Documents required for a successful Tier 4 Dependant application 

Supporting documents required can vary between countries. Your dependants may need some or all of the following; 
  •  A personal letter from the Tier 4 student visa holder
  • A valid passport or travel document and previous passports for each dependant
  • Recent colour passport sized photographs for each dependant 
  • Marriage certificate (for partner)
  • Birth certificates (for children)       
  • 28 days of bank statements for the student and dependants that maintain the required amount of funds OR student’s proof of official financial sponsorship that covers dependants
  • A photocopy of the Tier 4 visa holder's passport page and Tier 4 visa page/Biometric Residence Permit (if already granted)
  • A confirmation of enrolment letter for the Tier 4 student visa holder (if already granted) available from the International Student Gateway
  • Evidence that the family intend to return home at the end of their stay 

Child care

Child care (ages 0 to 5)
Nursery care and childcare are appropriate for children aged from 0 to 4/5, prior to starting school, and are mainly privately provided with a variety of quality and costs. 
It is important to remember that childcare for the under 5s in the UK is relatively expensive and you would usually pay £30 to £35 per day.  Children get free childcare sessions from the term after their third birthday until they start school (term time only). 
Plymouth University has Freshlings Nursery on campus which offers childcare to staff and students at the university.  The waiting list for Freshlings means you should make your application to them well in advance.
Alternatively there are also many other nurseries, child-minders and pre-schools in Plymouth to choose from.
In the UK all childcare providers are regulated and must follow government guidelines and curricula.
  Parents Guide to Plymouth                 
For general information and ideas on family life in Plymouth     

​ Education

 State Primary Schools (Age 4 – 11)
Children enter infant classes in primary schools in the September before they are five.

  State Secondary Schools (Age 11-18)
Pupils will normally transfer from primary to secondary education at the beginning of the school year following their eleventh birthday. 

 Plymouth City Council online school application

Sixth Form Colleges and Further Education Colleges (Age 16 to 19)
Students can enrol on a variety of different courses at a local college although there may be fees to pay.  Larger colleges will also offer ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) classes which are usually funded for dependants.


  Adult Education                                 Dependants of students are entitled to study full or part time in the UK.  Course fees will apply but some ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) classes can be accessed free of charge.    ​


All students on a course of  6 months duration or more and their dependant family members are entitled to NHS treatment in the same way as a British Citizen is.  Family members include your husband/wife, and your children aged up to the age of 16 or up to the age of 19 if they are in full-time education.
If you qualify for NHS treatment, you and your family members can access the following services free of charge:
  • GP/Doctor Consultation
  • Hospital Treatment
However you may need to pay for:
  • Medicines on prescription
  • Travel Vaccinations
  • Dental Treatment
  • Optician Consultations
You may want to consider additional medical insurance for you and your family to cover expenses such as returning to your home country or flying out a family member if you fall ill whilst in the UK. 
You are only entitled to NHS treatment whilst the student is enrolled on a course.  Accessing NHS services whilst no longer enrolled could attract a charge.