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How to move to the UK with children?

A high standard of living, a rich history, prestigious education and career opportunities all make the UK a popular destination for relocation. But moving to another country with your family requires a lot of hassle. After all, it is a significant event that needs preparation and planning.

Today we will tell you what you need to consider to make your move to the UK a smooth one. We will also give advice on choosing a school and answer popular migration questions.

Why is the UK a good choice?

Lots of people are keen to move here for a variety of reasons.


Students from all over the world come to the United Kingdom to study at prestigious universities and earn degrees that are valued around the world. A nice plus: state schools provide free education that is available to all children.


London is a major global business centre offering career opportunities in a variety of sectors.

Cultural heritage

Great Britain is rich in museums, theatres and architectural monuments. Everyone can find something interesting and informative for themselves.

Quality of life

The UK has high wages, quality health care, affordable public transport and a variety of cultural and recreational activities.


English is one of the most popular languages in the world. In Britain you can improve your skills and immerse yourself in a natural language environment.


Due to its geographical location, the UK is perfect as a starting point for travelling around the world.

Health care

The quality of medical services is important for life. The health care sector here is at a very high level.

All these factors make the UK an attractive place to move as a family. But along with the desire come questions. What are the options for a family with a child? Can children move alone? If so, what do they need to do to do so? We answer these questions below.

Moving with family

In the UK, as in any other European country, you need a permit to live in the UK.

With some visa categories it is possible to bring family members with you. There are also times when parents send their children alone to study in another country. A good public school with accommodation is selected and then the child goes to a British university.

If the whole family does move, the main applicant and his or her immediate family can apply for the following visa destinations:

  • Skilled Worker. For foreign nationals who have an offer of employment from a UK employer. Allows professionals with certain skills and qualifications to work in the UK;

  • Global Business Mobility. This visa is granted to employees of international companies moving to an office or division in the UK. This visa itself does not lead to permanent residence and is short-term. If your goal is temporary residence, this is a good solution. But for permanent residence you will need to apply for another visa;

  • Global Talent Visa. It is issued for up to five years. It allows you to move to Britain and start your own project or co-operate with an employer. The visa allows you to develop in the arts, digital technologies and scientific research;

  • Sportsperson. Designed for professional athletes and sports professionals. Candidates must have a contract to work for a British sports club or organisation;

  • Innovator. Provided to entrepreneurs who have interesting innovative business ideas and plan to develop their startup in the UK.

For Health and Care Worker and Student visas it is currently illegal to bring family members, but there are exceptions. For example, if you and your family members are already in the UK on these visas, it is possible (in most cases) to extend them, as well as obtaining a residence permit.

Family members of entrepreneurs and workers who have traveled to the UK can join them and obtain a Dependants visa — Dependants.

Dependents can be considered:

  • Husband, wife, civil partner outside of marriage;

  • A child under the age of 18 (including a child born in the UK during your stay);

  • A child over the age of 18 (if they are already in the UK as your dependent).

What do those who want to move to the UK with children need to do?

First you need to decide what type of visa you need and whether it is possible to bring your family and children with you. The application must be approved before travelling: for you and dependants.

Our specialists will help you to choose the most suitable visa for immigration to the UK and will tell you in detail about all the subtleties and nuances. After signing a service agreement, our lawyers will carry out a detailed analysis of your situation in order to exclude the possibility of refusal of a British visa at the preparation stage and present your individual circumstances in the most favourable light.

Options for moving children for education

Minors can come to the UK to study on their own or accompanied by a parent if the child is under 12.

The visa required for a child’s long-term education is called a Child Student visa. It is suitable for children between the ages of four and seventeen. Then, up to the age of 18, you can apply for a Student visa or any other suitable visa for residence and work, and after 10 years of residence in the territory you can obtain a permanent residence permit.

The same package of documents and application on the embassy’s website as for adults is required, you will also have to go to the visa centre and take biometrics accompanied by an adult.

If parents are planning to send their child to the UK to study, the only option to obtain the appropriate visa is to enrol in a public school, preferably with accommodation, so that the child is always under supervision. And if the child is under 12 years old, one of the parents can accompany him/her.

The child is travelling alone

An Unaccompanied Child Visa will be required, but you will need to prove that the child will be completely safe and able to cope on their own in the other country. An invitation from the school where the study and accommodation will take place must be provided.

Notarised permission from both parents is required for travelling abroad. Some airlines allow unaccompanied children from the age of 12.

The child will need to be met by someone and their details must be shown to the airport staff. Or you must have a printout of the transfer fee in hand.

A child travelling accompanied by his/her parents

In addition to documents for adults and children, you will need to prove the fact of kinship. A birth certificate or notarised consent of one of the parents must be translated into English.

If the child has only one parent, this must be documented: a record in the birth certificate, a death certificate, a certificate that the whereabouts of the other parent is unknown.

It is important to note that when the whole family moves, there are more options for children to quickly obtain a residence permit than when they go alone to study.

Pre-school education

Moving to the UK with a child involves searching for an educational institution.

Pre-school education is available in private and public institutions. There is also a nursery (Pre-Nursery) for children from three months of age.

The price of a part-time nursery from the age of two will cost around £130 per week. The average cost of a full day nursery in London will cost around £347 per week for children from two years old.

Pre-school education can be public or private. The latter is more expensive. In the first option, you can use compensation, whereby the state pays for about 15 hours of day care per week.

Attendance at nursery schools and kindergartens is not a prerequisite. Many babies stay with nannies.

From the age of 4-5, children can be enrolled in school. Basic education includes the national curriculum, religious education, health and relationships. From the age of four, it is also possible to find a public school that can issue a CAS number, which is an admission number. This will be needed for visa applications. A state school will not have this advantage.

School education

The UK has the earliest schooling in the world. Some children start school from the age of four, which is considered normal. The primary level programme (Reception Year) involves the first steps in reading and adapting to school life. From an early age, they are taught to reason, explore the world around them, and interact with other people. The main advantage of such education is the child’s all-round development: physical fitness, creativity, mathematical and verbal development. All of this is presented in an interactive way so that the child can more easily understand the material.

There are several types of schools in the UK offering different educational programmes. We will look at the most popular ones.


They are financed by parents’ payments and offer an individual approach to education, additional subjects and accommodation. To get into such an educational institution, you need to contact the administration of the institution in advance and clarify when the enrolment will be carried out. Often it closes as early as January and is no longer in operation.

Children take exams, are interviewed, and are selected on the basis of their passions and personality. The higher the rating of a school, the harder it is to get in. There are cases when, before entering a rated school, a child has been studying in a more affordable school for several years.

Once a place for your child in a public school has been allocated, the authority will issue a CAS. For children who are already in the UK as a Dependant, ordinary public schools are also suitable, without a CAS.

You can consider a boarding school, which provides a wide range of educational, sports and extracurricular activities. Children live in a dormitory after school, and meals and leisure activities are organised for them.

Most of the applicants to prestigious universities come from public schools as the academic opportunities are more extensive.


They are budget-funded and provide free education for children from 5 to 18 years of age. They include public schools with a national curriculum, fundamental schools influenced by local authorities, academies and free schools of non-profit organisations, grammar schools and others. Your child will go to the school that belongs to the municipality where you live. Therefore, before moving, make a list of desirable schools: look at their rating, the surrounding infrastructure.

Parents must then apply to the local municipality, which makes the allocation. All children who arrive on their parents’ visa are entitled to attend public school.

There are also religious schools, residential and boarding schools, social schools for children with special developmental needs, academies, and others.

Moving during pregnancy

Planning a pregnancy in emigration is an important step that requires careful preparation. Let’s focus on the most important aspects to pay attention to.

When you arrive in the UK, you should register with your local doctor or NHS clinic. You will be given a pregnancy card, have an initial check-up and be connected to a midwife.

As a resident, a woman registered with the NHS Health Service during pregnancy is entitled to free care services during pregnancy and after childbirth.

You will meet with a midwife and can discuss any questions you may have about your health and carrying your baby. Additional tests may be suggested (this depends on your health and how your pregnancy is progressing).

From the moment you register for pregnancy until one year after the birth of your child, all necessary medicines are free of charge.

A woman is only paid for 39 weeks of leave, the first six at 90 per cent of her salary. Thereafter, there are standard fixed payments at the discretion of the employer.

The father is also entitled to two weeks’ leave after childbirth, which makes life much easier for the woman in labour.


During the moving process, you will need cash for the following expenses:

  1. It is necessary to show the appropriate amount of savings depending on the visa to be obtained, family composition and other factors. A personal account statement from a foreign bank will be required for verification. Sometimes applicants for a work visa can rely on assistance from their employer: the employer may make a note on the sponsorship certificate that they are willing to provide funds. Then it is not necessary to show the required amount of savings. But not all employers provide such assistance.
    Showing that you have money will prevent you from claiming benefits from the government;

  2. Payment of fees when applying for a visa.  Each applicant (family member) makes two payments:
    • Immigration medical fee for each year of the visa validity;
    • Visa Fee.
      For example, on a work visa, the fee for one person for five years would be £6,500.

You will also have to pay for medical tests (TB screening and sputum tests) to enter the country.

Take care of moving expenses. Allocate money to rent a place to live. The cost will depend on the city you want to live in and the number of rooms. The more living space you have, the more you will pay. In addition, the landlord may require you to pay several months’ rent + deposit. 

We do not recommend buying a home at the beginning of the move. It is better to make the decision locally, after choosing a suitable neighbourhood.

It is necessary to lay down a certain amount of money for the child’s pastime: education, kindergarten, circles.

Tips for adapting to a new country

Moving is a great opportunity for personal and career development. It is not an easy process. It requires a special approach.

Here’s what will be helpful for adaptation:

  • Learn the local culture and traditions, history, customs. This will help you to better understand the people around you and adjust to the new rhythm more quickly;
  • Improve your speaking skills. Find a language school, communicate more with native English speakers, get used to slang and local dialect;
  • Make new social connections: meet your neighbours and colleagues, join communities, clubs or organisations where you can find common interests;
  • Become familiar with local routines: learn about the transport system, medical services, educational facilities and other important aspects of daily life in order to integrate effectively into the community;
  • Take care of your physical and mental health. Do not hesitate to seek help from doctors and psychologists.

Do you want to live in the UK?

We will develop a customised solution for you and your family and help you plan all the steps. If only a child is moving for education, we will find a school and find a visa solution. We can help you rent or buy a home. Contact us today for your immigration solution.

Frequently asked questions about moving to the UK

How do I get citizenship?

The main requirement for citizenship is to live in the UK without immigration control, with permanent residence.

Naturalisation has a specific procedure. For example: you must have lived in the country legally for a sufficient number of years, be fluent in English, have a reputation as a law-abiding citizen, and have references.

What do I need to transport my pet?

It’s worth mentioning at the outset that not every pet can be brought with you. For example, there are breeds of dog that are not allowed into the UK. There are also strict veterinary control requirements. It is necessary to chip the animal, issue a sanitary certificate with all vaccinations.

There are different conditions for transporting animals by air and by car (e.g. from France). In order to avoid a long quarantine period, pet owners are more likely to use the second option.

What is the first thing to do after moving to the UK?

Once the entry permit has been granted:

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