The UK left the European Union on 31st January 2020. If you are from the EU, EEA, or Switzerland, you need to know how this will affect your immigration status.

Information last updated on 18/12/2020

Transition Period

The UK is in a post-Brexit transition period until 31st December 2020.

During the transition period, if you are from the EU/EEA or Switzerland, you (and your family members) can continue to come to the UK without a visa. You are able to live, study, and work here without restrictions.

You can also access free NHS healthcare, provided that you have a valid European Health Insurance Card (EHIC).

After the transition period ends

Staying in the UK

If you are living in the UK before 31st December 2020, you (and your family members) are welcome to stay here after the transition period ends. To do this, you will need to apply for permission under the EU Settlement Scheme.

Applications for the EU Settlement Scheme are are free and straightforward. You have until 30th June 2021 to apply. If you want to stay in the UK, you must make an application before this date.

Returning to the UK

If you were living in the UK before 31st December 2020, and you temporarily left the UK, you may still be able to return and apply under the EU Settlement Scheme.

A temporary absence will not break your UK residency (sometimes called your "continuous qualifying period") as long as you have not been overseas for longer than your permitted period of absence:

  • This is usually 6 months (in any 12 month period)
  • It can be up to 12 months for important reasons (such as illness or military service)

The government have confirmed that if you are a student and left the UK due to Covid-19, and you have been studying remotely since then, this will be considered an important reason. You can therefore be out of the UK for up to 12 months without breaking your residency. You can return to the UK at any point during this period.

It's really important that you are not out of the UK for longer than your permitted period of absence, otherwise you will break your residency and might need a visa to return. If you are concerned about this and would like to discuss your individual circumstances, please get in touch with our International Student Advisers.

Coming to the UK

If you are commencing your studies with us in January 2021, you should try to arrive in the UK on or before 31st December 2020, otherwise you may need to apply for a visa!

If you were not living in the UK before the end of the transition period, you will need to apply for a Student Visa to study in the UK from January 2021. You must make sure you have the appropriate visa before you travel.

We have a dedicated team who will support you with the visa process and will provide you with the documentation you need. Please also refer to our guidance on submitting a student visa application.

From the 1st January 2021, if you enter the UK without a visa, this will be as a visitor. You cannot work as a visitor and study is restricted. You can only stay in the UK for a maximum period of 180 days, and you may not be able to apply for a different visa when you get here. It is therefore really important that you have the correct visa before you travel.

The post-Brexit immigration system is still 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 website to ensure that you have up-to-date information: