Visas and Immigration for study in the UK

Information for EU/EEA students after Brexit

If you are from the EU, EEA, or Switzerland, we've summarised all the important information that you need to know about your immigration status after Brexit

Information last updated on 17/04/2019

The UK and the European Union have agreed to extend the UK's continued membership of the European Union. 'Brexit Day' (the day the UK formally leaves the EU) is now due to take place on or before 31st October 2019.

Until Brexit Day, the UK will remain a full member of the European Union. Freedom of movement continues to apply and there is no restriction on the rights of EU/EEA/Swiss nationals to work, study, and live in the UK. 

After Brexit Day, there will be no immediate change to the immigration status of EU, EEA, or Swiss nationals resident in the UK. You are welcome to stay here and you can continue to live, study, and work in the UK, just as you do now.

Withdrawal Agreement

The UK is currently negotiating the terms of its withdrawal. A withdrawal agreement has been reached with the EU, but this remains subject to approval from the UK parliament.

The exact date of Brexit Day depends on whether the government is able to secure parliamentary approval for the withdrawal agreement. If the agreement is approved, the UK may decide to leave the UK before 31st October 2019.

If the withdrawal agreement is not approved by 22nd May 2019 and a date for Brexit Day has not been set, the UK will take part in the European Parliamentary Election. This is due to take place on Thursday 23rd May 2019. EU citizens living in the UK will be eligible to vote in this election.

If the withdrawal agreement is not approved, the UK could leave the EU on 31st October 2019 without an agreement (a 'no-deal' scenario).

Transition Period

After Brexit Day, a transition period will be in in place at least until 31st December 2020. This will apply regardless of whether the UK leaves the EU with or without a deal.

The transition period will  provide time for a managed changeover from EU to domestic immigration law. If you are resident in the UK on Brexit Day, you will not notice any change to your immigration status during this time. 

If you want to stay in the UK after the end of the transition period, you will need to apply for permission under the EU Settlement Scheme. The deadline for applications under this scheme depends on whether the withdrawal agreement is approved, but will not be earlier than 31st December 2020. Applications are free and straightforward. Please see our information on the EU Settlement Scheme for more details.

After the transition period has ended, from 1st January 2021, EU/EEA/Swiss nationals who are not already resident in the UK will need appropriate immigration permission if they wish to come here to work or study.

Travelling in and out of the UK

There will be no restriction* on leaving and entering the UK as an EU/EEA/Swiss national during the transition period and you are free to come and go as you wish. Visas will not be required, at least until the transition period ends on 31st December 2020.

If you have a modern passport with a chip, you should still be able to use the e-gates at the airport. If you do not have a passport, you can continue to enter the UK using a national ID card issued by an EU/EEA country, or Switzerland.

*In a no-deal scenario, it is likely that EU/EEA/Swiss nationals who move to the UK for the first time after Brexit Day will need to apply for permission if they want to stay here for more than 3 months.

We do not expect there to be any disruption to travel as a result of the UK's withdrawal from the EU. However, we recommend that you avoid any non-essential travel on or around Brexit Day, just in case things do not proceed as smoothly as expected.

We also recommend that you start collecting evidence of your travel, as this may help you to demonstrate your UK residency when you apply under the EU Settlement Scheme. This could include flight tickets, passport stamps, landing cards, and boarding passes.

Leaving the UK for long periods of time

If you leave the UK for longer than 6 months, this may affect how your UK residency is calculated when you apply under the EU Settlement Scheme.

Brexit policy is currently being finalised and changes occur frequently. We have made every effort to ensure that this information is correct at the time of writing but the information is subject to change. You should always refer to the official gov.uk website to ensure that you have up-to-date information: www.gov.uk/browse/visas-immigration/eu-eea-commonwealth