Students with Families

Information for students who are bringing their family to the UK.

Bringing your family to Northern Ireland

If you are thinking about bringing your family with you to Northern Ireland then you will need to consider if the UK immigration authorities will allow them into the country, if you are in a financial position to bring your dependents with you and if your family will adapt to life in Northern Ireland.

As you know the UK government requires those arriving from certain international destinations to self-isolate for 10 days.

Some countries are exempt from self-isolation requirements, you can find out which countries are exempt here.

You will find information here about the packages we have put in place at Ulster to support you through your period of self-isolation.

Visas for Dependents

Your dependents (that is your partner/husband/wife and dependent children) will be considered for visas if you are government sponsored and your course is over 6 months long or you are doing a postgraduate course of 12 months or longer.

Read more information on immigration, employment and education for family members.

When you have read the information on the above link and if you are still considering bringing your family with you then your family should apply online for their visas. They will need their biometric information (their fingerprints and photographs) taken at a visa application centre.

Family Accommodation

We strongly advise that you do not bring your family to Northern Ireland until you have found suitable accommodation for them.

The University has a small number of flats available for couples, you should contact our Residential Services team directly for further information.

Private, rented accommodation can take some time to find and can be expensive. If you are going to look for family accommodation, we recommend that you come to Northern Ireland on your own for a few weeks before your classes begin and try to find accommodation through local letting agents before inviting your family to join you at a later date.

Childcare and Education

It is compulsory in Northern Ireland for children between the ages of 4 and 16 to attend school.  The school year begins in September and ends in June.

The school day runs from around 9.00am until around 3.30pm. Education is free for all children up to the age of 16 but you will need to pay for a school uniform and you may be asked to pay for sports kit, specialist lessons, e.g. music and for trips and events. It is not possible to register your child at a school before you have an address in Northern Ireland.

You may find the information on the Education Authority website helpful, this includes contact details for the Education Authority’s regional offices. NIDirect also provides information on finding and choosing a school in Northern Ireland.

Playgroups and Crèches

Playgroups, crèches and day nurseries offer short daily sessions of care and learning through play for children aged two to four years old. Day care facilities normally charge weekly or monthly rates.

NIDirect also provides useful information on finding and choosing a day nursery.

When you have found a nursery that you think is suitable you should contact them and ask to make an appointment to discuss your requirements, costs, etc.

Read more information on finding a day nursery in Northern Ireland.


As long as your course lasts six months or more, your wife/husband and children under 16 (under 19 if still at school or college) can get free healthcare through the NHS.

When you arrive at Ulster you will be encouraged to register with a local doctor, when your family arrives, you should register each member with the same doctor’s practice.

If your course at Ulster lasts less than 6 months then you should take out medical insurance for the duration of your stay in the UK.

Opticians and dentists will generally charge for treatment.

However, children under the age of 16, or under 19 if in full-time education, are eligible for free dental treatment.

Women who are pregnant or have had a baby within the last 12 months are also eligible.

Information on local doctors, dentists and opticians can be obtained from your campus Student Wellbeing team.

If you have questions about childcare, education, daycare or healthcare please speak to your campus International Student Experience team who will be happy to help you.

Read further information on bringing your family to Northern Ireland.