Bringing my family to Scotland

Moving to Scotland to develop your career is exciting. Sharing the experience with your family is part of the adventure. Organise visas and permits before you move so your other half and children settle into their new life easily.

Family on a beach

EEA and Swiss nationals and their family members

If you entered the UK prior to the 31st December 2020 and have leave (or are eligible for leave) under the EU Settlement Scheme, it may be possible for your family members to join you under the scheme (even if they are coming after the 1st January 2021).

Full details of what family members may be eligible under the scheme can be found in the EU Settlement Scheme Guidance.

The Scottish Government have created a toolkit to provide information to those EEA and Swiss citizens who wish to stay in Scotland following the end of the Brexit Transition period. Details on the support available from the Scottish Government can be found here

If you are an EEA or Swiss national who was not residing in the UK prior the 31st of December, then this will not apply to you and your family members may qualify under the options below.

Non-British or Non-Irish nationals

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

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.

British citizens

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

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 country you live in, you may need to make your application online or at a British Visa Application Centre – these are often at British Embassies, Consulates or High Commissions located around the world. You can find out where to apply in your country on the Home Office website.

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.