Bringing your family to the UK

Congratulations on securing your place at Plymouth University. We're ready to welcome you and your family with open arms. We're sure you have lots of questions, and we hope this page provides some answers and useful information for you and your family members about moving to a new city and a new country. 

Each family's circumstances are unique, and we recommend you contact us directly for specialist advice.

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

Immigration for families outside the UK

Non European Economic Area (EEA) family members will have to apply for Points Based System (PBS) Dependant entry clearance before travelling to the UK at the same time as you apply for your Tier 4 student clearance. Visa advice for students and family members currently outside the UK

You'll also need to complete a TB (Tuberculosis) test if required for your country. Once issued, TB certificates are valid for six months.

Dependants and work

If your dependant's visa doesn't 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're 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 family's immigration  

Documents required for a successful Tier 4 dependent application

Supporting documents required can vary between countries. Your dependants may need some or all of the following;

  • personal letter from the Tier 4 student visa holder
  • 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
  • photocopy of the Tier 4 visa holder's passport page and Tier 4 visa page/Biometric Residence Permit (if already granted)
  • confirmation of enrolment letter for the Tier 4 student visa holder (if already granted) available from the International Student Advice
  • evidence that the family intend to return home at the end of their stay.

Family accommodation

The Student Accommodation Team can help you look for family accommodation. Whilst it's tempting to try and arrange a permanent home before you travel to the UK, we recommend that you visit Plymouth to see suitable properties before you make your decision on where to live. It's 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.

Child care

Age 0-5
Nursery care and childcare are appropriate for children aged from 0 to 4/5, prior to starting school, and are mainly private, with a variety of quality and costs. It's important to remember that childcare for the under fives in the UK is relatively expensive. 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.

Education for children

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 also offer ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) classes which are usually funded for dependants. 

City College Plymouth

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. 


If you're a student on a course of six months duration or more, you and your dependant family members are entitled to NHS treatment in the same way as a British Citizen. Family members include your husband/wife, and your children aged up to the age of 16 (or 19 if they're in full-time education). If you qualify for NHS treatment, you and your family members can access GP/doctor consultation and hospital treatment free of charge.

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 and your family are only entitled to NHS treatment whilst the student is enrolled on a course. Accessing NHS services if you're no longer enrolled could attract a charge.