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Bringing your family with you

Moving to Scotland for work, and not sure what you need to do to bring your family with you? Find out more about the logistics and immigration rules for bringing family with you to Scotland. In most cases, you must apply for the required visas or permits before your family travels to Scotland.

Can I bring my family with me?

The rules around bringing your family when you move to Scotland depends on the visa you’re moving here with and the nationality of your family. For the most up-to-date and accurate information, see the GOV.UK page specific to your visa. This will contain further information about bringing family using that visa.  

Find visa information on GOV.UK opens in a new window  

The EU Settlement Scheme closed to most applicants on 30 June 2021 (or 29 March 2022 for joining family members). 

It may still be possible for joining family members to make an application to the scheme even where the deadline has passed (for example, where they had 'reasonable grounds' for missing the deadline).

Full details of what family members may be eligible under the scheme can be found in the UK Government's EU Settlement Scheme Guidance opens in a new window

If you’re not able to use the EU Settlement Scheme, you’ll need to consider other visa options.

If you’re coming to Scotland to work or invest, your spouse, partner or dependent children under 18 years old can usually apply to join you.

You’ll usually need to submit separate applications for each family member.

You will need to show that: 

  • Your relationship with your spouse or partner is genuine and lasting 
  • You intend to live together for the duration of your stay 
  • Your children are under 18, depend on you and do not have an independent life or family 
  • You may also need to show that you have enough money to support your family without using state benefits. The amount depends on the type of visa you currently hold. 

You’ll find out more about bringing your partner with you on the relevant GOV.UK page for the visa you’re applying for.  

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Find out more about financial requirements on GOV.UK opens in a new window  

If you’re a British citizen living abroad and you want to return to the UK with your non-British or non-Irish family members, they’ll need to apply for a visa before coming to the UK. As part of this application, you’ll need to show that you meet the Home Office minimum income requirement unless you’re exempt from this. 

Find out more about family visas on GOV.UK opens in a new window  

When and where to apply 

You must apply for the required visa or permits before your family travels to Scotland and the UK in most cases. If they do not have the required documents, they can be refused entry to the UK and sent back home.  

Depending on the visa you’re applying for, you’ll either need to apply online or in a British Visa Application Centre – these are often at British Embassies, Consulates or High Commissions located around the world.  

You’ll find more information about how to apply on the GOV.UK page for the visa you or your family are applying for.  

Guidance on applying for a visa to come to the UK from GOV.UK opens in a new window  

Processing times

Processing times vary depending on the type of document you are applying for and the country you are applying from. You can find out about current visa processing times on the Home Office website. 

More information from the Home Office

Guidance on dependent family members in work routes from GOV.UK  opens in a new window  

Need some help? 

Immigration law is complex. Immigration specialists can give you information on your personal situation. You may want to consider contacting an immigration adviser or solicitor.

Find an immigration adviser opens in a new window on GOV.UK.

Find a solicitor opens in a new window on the Law Society of Scotland website.