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Advice on students bringing family to the UK

It is very important for you to think carefully about both the benefits and difficulties of bringing your family with you to the United Kingdom. If you do wish to bring your family with you during your studies, you must plan carefully. It is also strongly recommended that you plan to arrive first in order to make all the arrangements for housing and schooling and for your family to plan to arrive later, once all arrangements have been made.


The College has a limited number of flats and houses for postgraduate students with families. Most couples and families, however, live in privately rented accommodation in the local area.

Only postgraduate students are eligible to apply for College family accommodation, and because of the limited number of properties the College cannot guarantee that this facility will be available to all applicants. It is therefore recommended that you apply online as early as possible if you wish to be considered for family accommodation.

The rent for family accommodation depends upon the size of the property. A one bedroom couples flat within a Hall of Residence costs from approximately £6,000 per year and a College house costs about £9,500 per year. In addition to rent, you will also be responsible for paying the gas, electricity, water and telephone bills for your house, as well as council tax.

Council Tax is only payable by non-students. If your spouse is not a student, you will have to pay Council Tax on any house which you rent. Council tax is assessed on the value of a house and therefore varies depending on the house. A 25% discount on Council Tax is available if one adult in the household is a full time student, so you should not have to pay the full Council Tax bill. For budgeting purposes, you should plan to pay about £80-£120 per month in Council Tax.

For further information on halls options, please refer to the family and couples accommodation information.

The College cannot actively assist students in securing family accommodation in the local area, however, students are welcome to use HouseSearch, Student Accommodation's private sector website, which hosts adverts from local landlords for properties to rent. Alternatively, students can contact local letting agents to find family housing; Student Accommodation has a list of letting agents in the local area which is available on request.  Please keep in mind that the area around the College can be relatively expensive, and rental prices in the UK can fluctuate. As a guide, rent for a two bedroom flat in the local area should be around £750-£1200 per month. A local two-bedroom house costs in the region of £950 - £1100 per month and a three-bedroom house between £1140 - £1450 per month.

Please be aware that there is no facility at the College to house families on a temporary basis. If you wish for your family to come with you before you have made arrangements for accommodation you will have to stay in a local hotel or Bed and Breakfast. Unaccompanied students may be housed in "vacation residence" prior to the start of the Session in September, to give them an opportunity to look for family housing: "vacation residence" is a bed-only facility - catering and other services will not be provided; please make enquiries via Kingswood reception on +44 (0) 1784 435331. Information about local hotels and guesthouses is available from Student Accommodation.

For further accommodation information, please contact Student Accommodation: email: studentaccommodation@rhul.ac.uk; telephone: +44 (0) 1784 44 3338.

Childcare and schools

Arrangements for children will largely depend upon their age. In the UK the local County Council is the government agency in charge of regulating schools and childcare. Royal Holloway is located in Surrey and so most students live in this county. The Surrey County Council website provides information on all of its services including schools and the regulation of childcare.

Generally children in the UK start school between the ages of 4 and 5 and it is mandatory for children to attend school between the ages of 5 and 16. Schools run by the government are free of charge and the students attending are normally from the geographical area around the school. Therefore, it will not normally be possible to apply for a school until you know exactly where you will be living. In general most school children will be required to wear a school uniform. Uniforms for most publicly funded schools are simple and practical. Details about the school's uniform and where they can be purchased are available from individual schools.

There is a wide variety of childcare available for children who are not yet school age; this includes nurseries, crèches and childminders. Information about the types of childcare available and a list of registered childcare providers is available through the website listed above.

Please be aware that childcare in the London area, including Surrey is expensive. You can find details about the average childcare cost here

There is a nursery at the College providing care for younger children. In addition, the Sports Centre on campus offers childcare for school children, from the age of 5, during school holidays and half-term breaks. Information about this service is available from the Sports Centre and registration forms are normally made available a few weeks before the holiday.

Health care

The dependants (spouse and children) of an international student are eligible for medical care from the National Health Service under the same conditions as a student.

Information about doctors in the local area is available from the College Health Centre.

Employment for spouses

The ability of a spouse to work in the UK is dependent upon their nationality and in some cases on the length of the student's course. Spouses who are a national of a European Union country can be employed in the UK. Spouses of other nationalities are normally eligible to work only if the student is enrolled on a course of 12 months or more and has been granted leave to remain in the UK for at least 12 months.

If your spouse will be arriving in the country separately from you, they should carry with them a photocopy of the page in your passport showing your name and other details and the page, which shows your student visa, to show to the entry clearance officer. Further information is available from the International Student Support Office.


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