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Advice on students bringing family to the UK

_DSC7953It's 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's 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. For more information about the range of properties available and the rent payable please visit the Accommodation web pages. A one bedroom couples flat within a Hall of Residence costs from approximately £6,000 per year and a College house costs about £10,000 per year. In addition to rent, you will also be responsible for paying the gas, electricity, water and telephone bills for your house.

The College cannot actively assist students in securing family accommodation in the local area, however, students are welcome to use HouseSearch – a private sector accommodation website provided by the Students’ Union. Launching in August 2017 the site will advertise properties from estate agents and local landlords who all meet pre-set quality framework.

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 £1,436  per month. A local three-bedroom house should have rent of around £1,882 per month.

Check the average rent prices in your area

Further accommodation information

Council tax

You will qualify for a student exemption or be disregarded as a student if you meet the Council tax definition of ‘student’. 

  • "You are undertaking a ‘full time course of study’. This applies from the day that your course starts, so be aware that some local authorities may charge Council Tax for the period from your arrival in the UK to the day before your course starts. You will stop being regarded as a full time student if you give up your course, if your institution terminates your studies, or if your course ends. You may therefore be charged Council Tax for the period after you have finished one course and are waiting to start another, but you should not be charged during any vacation periods that fall between terms or semesters whilst your course is ongoing."

If the only non-student adult in your dwelling is your spouse (husband or wife), civil partner or an adult dependant, the dwelling may still be exempt.

  • "The dwelling should still be exempt if your spouse, civil partner or dependant is not a British citizen, and has been given permission to be in the UK (given ‘leave to enter’ or ‘leave to remain’) with a ‘no recourse to public funds’ condition or a prohibition on employment endorsed in their passport, or on their UK identity card ('Biometric Residence Permit' or 'Identity Card for Foreign Nationals'). This covers almost all spouses, civil partners and dependants from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland who come to join an international student in the UK. The Council Tax section of the UK government's website sets out the entitlement to exemption for full-time students."

Schools and childcare

If your children are aged between five 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 the schools have no free places.

See also:

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.

Childcare and nurseries

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.

Englefield Green Nursery and Preschool is the on-campus nursery managed by Bright Horizons. It is situated next to Car Park 14 accessed off South Road on the north side of the A30 and within 200 metres of Founder’s. The nursery is inspected by OFSTED and offers high standards of care for children aged from three months to five years who benefit from a very safe and secure environment. Available to the local community, Royal Holloway staff and students have priority places when a waiting list is operated. Please apply on the Workplace Nursery Application form.

In addition, the Sports Centre on campus offers childcare for school children, from the age of five, 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.


Family members of tier 4 students studying at Royal Holloway will be entitled for free treatment from the NHS. 

Tier 4 dependants will also be required to pay the surcharge and may also be required to pay in advance for non-urgent elective or expensive discretionary treatments.

Information about doctors in the local area is available on our website here.

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 your degree. 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 degree of 12 months or more and has been granted leave to remain in the UK for at least 12 months.

Spouses who are allowed to work can take any type of employment or self-employment, except:

  • they must not work as a professional sportsperson, which includes being a sports coach (this only applies to a partner if the application for their current immigration permission was made on or after 6 April 2014, and it only applies to a child if their application for their current immigration permission was made on or after 19 November 2015)

  • a partner must not work as a doctor or dentist in training (although there are some special exemptions to this, described in paragraph 319D(b)(iii) of the Immigration Rules).

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.

More details are avaliable on the UKCISA website.

Quick links




Contact us

The International Student Support office is open:

Monday to Friday

10.00am to 4.00pm

Email: Internationaladvice@royalholloway.ac.uk


+44 (0) 1784 27 6222/ 27 6168








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