Most of the companies allows the Officers to sail with their families. Family means strictly wife/ husband and children.
Most of the times companies prefer family to join after fews month of their spouse's joining but if you are lucky you may get the chance to join with your family while joining the ship.
Officers desirous of carrying family on board are required to obtain USA, UK, Canadian, Australian and Brazilian visas for the family, prior their joining the vessel. These are the minimum Visa you should consider taking before joining any ship to avoid any heavy fines.
Exemption in specific cases may be allowed where vessels are plying in exclusively fixed routes on long tour basis. Should the trading pattern of vessel however change, the officers concerned may be obliged to sign off their family on immediate notice, where the family does not hold visa for the relevant country.
Any fines levied on the vessel due to the family of the seafarer not having the requisite visa shall be borne by the seafarer.Please note that these fines in some countries can be Very heavy upto 10-20000 USD.