10 top tips for families relocating to the UK for school or university

As a Firm who has been deeply involved in the UAE legal landscape, particularly within the DIFC, we are pleased to shed light on the invaluable insights KBH offers for families returning to the UK. Our commitment to ensuring the welfare of your family, securing your wealth, and safeguarding your business interests has solidified KBH’s reputation over the years.

For expatriate families considering a move to the UK, our comprehensive guide aims to assist you in navigating the complex realm of education and relocation. These top tips serve as a checklist, designed to aid you in making informed decisions for your family’s future.

Strategise Ahead: The significance of early planning cannot be overstated. Initiating your search for suitable schools, understanding entry points, and delving into admission processes can substantially increase your odds of finding the right educational institution. Depending on the academic year and the school’s competitiveness, securing a space for your child may vary in time. Some schools require registration as early as one year ahead, while others mandate registration up to three years prior to enrollment. Explore more details here. For those faced with time constraints, rest assured that options like the Occasional Place route exist. Furthermore, the UCAS (university application) process commences in Year 13, with application deadlines on either October 16 or the end of January, depending on your chosen path.

Navigating Tax Implications: Understanding the intricacies of the UK’s tax year, which runs from April 6 to April 5 of the following year, is crucial. Your move-in date during this tax year can influence your tax liability. The UK’s self-assessment taxation model requires individuals to declare their income and gains, with tax obligations determined accordingly. Establishing UK tax residency relies on self-assessment, often confirmed at the end of the tax year based on your time spent in the country. This can have implications if you become a resident mid-year, as you might be treated as a full-year resident for tax purposes. Although exceptions and ‘split year’ treatment exist, these nuances necessitate thorough advice and pre-arrival tax planning before relocating to the UK.

Student Visa Considerations: While children residing in the UK typically have the right to attend school, international students require immigration permission to study. Schools must verify students’ eligibility before offering admission. If your child lacks the required immigration permission, obtaining a “Child Student” or “Student” visa, sponsored by the school or university, is recommended. Although a student visa does not guarantee permanent status, alternative pathways to permanent residency can be explored.

Family Immigration: Beyond students, securing visa status for parents and other family members intending to reside in the UK is essential. Diverse options tailored to individual circumstances exist, ranging from economic activity-based visas to talent-based and child student parent visas. Expert guidance is indispensable, and visa processing times can span six to 12 weeks, necessitating careful planning ahead of your relocation.
Strategic Location: Determining whether to secure housing before applying for schools or vice versa requires consideration. Choosing the former simplifies logistics, especially for state school applications. Securing school spots before committing to property purchases or rentals is advantageous for long-term planning, optimising family logistics, and commuting considerations.

Real Estate Endeavours: Navigating the dynamic UK property market is a significant undertaking. From choosing between renting and buying to structuring property purchases, expert legal advice is pivotal. While estate agencies traditionally market properties, enlisting a buying agent can streamline the search process. The manner of property ownership, whether individual or through a company, bears tax implications. Legal guidance ensures proper structuring, registration with the Land Registry, and compliance with Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) regulations.

Assess Academic Suitability: Many UK schools practice academic selectivity, underscoring the importance of assessing your child’s academic alignment with prospective institutions. School reports and assessments provide insights, particularly for international curriculum students. Addressing knowledge gaps ahead of entry assessments is beneficial, with predicted grades playing a pivotal role in university applications.

Comprehensive Logistics: Families with multiple children should consider day-to-day logistics, including commute times and boarding considerations. These aspects shape family dynamics, guiding decisions on transportation and match viewings.

Employment Assistance: Employing a nanny or housekeeper can ease family logistics, especially given the UK school day’s timings. Compliance with UK employment law, taxation, and pension scheme enrolment for domestic staff is imperative, warranting meticulous contract creation and payroll management.

Holistic UK Considerations: Transitioning to the UK involves multiple dimensions, including property ownership. Crafting a UK Will and aligning it with international estate planning ensures your assets are secured. Understanding the implications of UK inheritance tax (IHT), safeguarding beneficiaries, and appointing legal guardians for children are key aspects. Lasting Powers of Attorney provide protection in the event of incapacitation, enabling decisions related to finances and health.

In conclusion, KBH stands ready to guide you through the intricate process of relocating to the UK for your children’s education. Our team’s expertise spans legacy planning, immigration, taxation, and legal considerations, in multiple jurisdiction working with trusted advisors, making us your trusted partner in ensuring a smooth transition and a secure future for your family.

KBH’s expertise encompasses legacy planning, immigration, taxation, and legal considerations, making us your trusted partner for a seamless transition to the UK for your children’s education and a secure future for your family.

Kamila Sielski


Kamila Sielski


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