Student with family at graduation

Moving your family to the UK

Advice for international students moving the UK with children

If you're bringing your family to the UK find out where to look for accommodation, where your children will go to school, what to do if you have a baby in the UK and support for Muslim families.

Accommodation for families

You'll need to find private accommodation off campus. Families aren't eligible to apply for University halls of residence.

For advice and support for students living in private accommodation, please contact the Student Housing team.

Babies born in the UK

If you have a baby while you're studying in the UK, you'll need to find out how this might affect your studies. Student mothers will need to seek an authorised absence from their course leader prior to their baby’s birth. Dates will need to be agreed by the course leader and the Department of Student and Academic Registration. This is particularly important if you have a Tier 4 or Student Route visa, as unauthorised leave from your course will affect the validity of your visa and you may incur extra NHS charges.

Once your baby is born, you'll need to arrange to get a passport for the baby with your own Embassy. The baby will require a passport before you can apply for a Dependant visa for them, if they are eligible. More information is available on UKCISA’s website.

Being born in the UK does not automatically make a baby a British citizen. Babies must have a parent with British citizenship or settled status in the UK in order to be born British.


If you have children, it is likely that at some stage you will need to arrange childcare whilst you are studying at the University. The University Nursery is located on campus and is for student parents. Alternatively, Portsmouth City Council has information on nursery and pre-schools in the city.


If you have children between the ages of five and sixteen, you'll need to find out about the UK education system and plan where you'll send your children to school.

Please see UKCISA’s guide to schools for your children.

Portsmouth City Council has a comprehensive Guide to Admissions for schools in the Portsmouth area.

State Schools

The UK state school system is divided into three types of schools

  • Nursery (Kindergarten) school for children aged between three and five years
  • Primary school for children aged between five and eleven years
  • Secondary school for children aged between eleven and sixteen years

Your children will be placed at a school near to where you live, so think about this when you're looking for your accommodation.

Independent Schools

These are 'private' or 'public' schools. The Independent Schools Council (ISC) lists all schools in the country that charge fees.

School term dates and holidays

The academic year for state primary and secondary schools runs from early September to late July. Please visit the school’s website for exact term dates as this may vary.

Taking children out of school

In the UK, you do not have the automatic right to take your children out of school during term time. You can be prosecuted or fined if your children fail to attend school. Once your child is registered with a school, they will expect your child to attend throughout the term or you may face penalties.

You must obtain authorisation from the school in advance if:

  • you need to travel abroad with your child during school term
  • you wish to take your child out of school during religious festivals
  • your child is unable to attend school for any reason.

Muslim families

Helpful information for Muslim families is available in this quick reference guide. The guide contains information on the Islamic Society (ISOC), local mosques, Muslim facilities on campus, international support services, halal food on campus and halal supermarkets across the city.