Bringing your family
Visas for international families
Changes to UK immigration mean that only a limited group of postgraduate and government sponsored students are able to bring their dependants with them to the UK. You will be able to apply for Dependant visas for your family if:
- You are a postgraduate student on a programme of study lasting 12 months or more; or
- You are sponsored by your government or the UK government and you will be studying on a programme lasting more than six months
For information on other visa types, please visit the UKVI website.
Finding a place for you and your family to call home is important. That’s why as soon as you have received an unconditional offer to study at the University of Stirling, you can apply for our family accommodation. Our on-campus accommodation gives you easy access to all our on-campus facilities – you’ll find a supermarket, laundry facilities, pharmacy, medical and dental care, gym, bookshop and bank, all a few minutes’ walk away.
As finding somewhere to live is understandably a top priority, we would encourage you to apply for our family accommodation as soon as possible. Unfortunately we only have a limited amount of accommodation designed for families.
As a university city, Stirling has plenty of private rental accommodation to offer if you decide to settle off-campus. Our Student Services Hub team can help with advice on house hunting and where to find private rentals. Our campus is just a short 10 minute bus ride away from the city centre.
Childcare and schooling
You may need help in caring for your children, especially if both parents are studying. Many families in the UK use professional childcare services and there is a wide range of provision. If your children are of school age, they will usually be able to study at a local school in Stirling, but you should consider how this will fit in to their longer term education.
Joining you in the UK
Coming to the UK may present new opportunities for your partner or spouse (for example for studies that fit in with the length of your visa).
You and your family will have to consider the advantages and disadvantages of living in the UK, versus remaining apart for a period. Some students find it easier to concentrate on their studies if they know their family are safe and happy in their home country (and they can visit during vacations) but other students find it very upsetting to be separated from their family for several weeks. Reaching the correct decision will be a matter for you and your spouse/partner and it is important that you consider this very carefully.
If your partner accompanies you here for the whole, or part, of your studies, s/he may initially feel isolated and wish to meet others in a similar situation. Student Development and Support Services and the International Office are happy to assist all families of the University community and will help wives, husbands and children of students settle into their new life at Stirling.
Staff can offer help and advice on many things including English classes, nurseries, schooling and health care entitlement, and will continue to support your family during your study in Stirling.
Schools in the Stirling area
Scotland was the first country in the world to provide universal education to boys and girls, and has a longstanding commitment to excellence in education.
All children of five years and older are entitled to free schooling and the local schools are accustomed to welcoming international pupils. Before you apply for a school place for your child, you’ll need to know when you’ll be arriving in Stirling and the address you’ll be living in. You can apply for a school place six weeks before your child arrives.
Local Authority schools near the University campus are provided by Stirling Council. Children normally attend their “catchment” school – the local school. Children staying on the University campus usually go to Bridge of Allan Primary School and to Wallace High School. Parents should contact the schools direct to enrol their child.
As part of this process, Stirling Council checks your address details. You will need evidence of your address, for example your rental agreement, gas or electricity bills and also a letter confirming your attendance at the University. You will also need to provide your children’s birth certificates.
Students resident off campus should contact Children’s Services on Tel: 0845 277 7000 to confirm their local catchment school or go to: www.stirling.gov.uk and click on ‘Education and Learning’.
Parents have the choice to send their child to a school other than the catchment school. It is advisable to contact Children’s Services as soon as possible if you want to request a place in another Stirling school. General enquiries on school admissions can be made by telephoning 01786 442648 or by email: email@example.com.
Full details on Stirling Council Schools, including contact telephone numbers and school brochures, are on the council website: www.stirling.gov.uk.
Psychology Kindergarten and baby group
For mothers of younger children, a parent and baby group meets once a week in Bridge of Allan. This is a useful way to meet others in similar positions and meet with the local health visitor. Please contact the medical centre on campus: www.apmc.co.uk.
We also have a Psychology Kindergarten on campus for pre-school children aged 2 years 9 months to 5 years old. It runs each weekday morning from 9am-12pm. A maximum of 16 children attend each morning under the care of two registered and experienced play leaders. This privately run playgroup has been established over 25 years and has an excellent reputation.
Find out more information about our Psychology Kindergarten.
If you are a single parent and you are planning for your child/children to join you in the UK, you will need to provide evidence that you have sole responsibility for them when they apply for their visas. This could be a custody order from a court or other legal documents confirming that you are the parent who has responsibility for looking after the children.
If you are still married or in a partnership with the other parent of your children, UKVI will expect that parent to also join you in the UK as a dependant and may refuse a visa for the children if this is not the case.
If you would like more information about this issue please contact the Student Immigration Team.