Visas and Immigration for study in the UK

EU Settlement Scheme

If you are an EU, EEA, or Swiss national, and you were living in the UK before the end of the transition period, you will need to apply for the EU Settlement Scheme to stay in the UK.

The EU settlement scheme is a UK government visa programme designed to allow EU, EEA and Swiss nationals the opportunity to protect their residence in the UK after the transition period has ended.

The EU settlement Scheme allows you to apply for either pre settled or settled status.

Eligibility for the EU Settlement Scheme

To be eligible for the EU Settlement Scheme, you must have been resident (living) in the UK by 31st December 2020.

There are no financial requirements for the EU Settlement Scheme.

Application Process

Applications for the EU Settlement Scheme are free. The online application process is simple and straightforward. Applications can be made from within the UK or overseas.

1. Download the Home Office app

You don't need to send your passport or EU ID card to UK Visas & Immigration (UKVI). Instead, you can verify your identity using the EU Exit: ID Document Check app. The app reads the chip in your passport or ID card.

The app is available on Android and iPhone devices (subject to compatibility) and can be downloaded from the Google Play Store or the Apple App Store. If your phone is not compatible, you can borrow one from a friend or colleague.

If you cannot use the app, there are some public locations where you can verify your passport, but you may be charged for this service.

2. Complete the online application form

Once you have verified your identity, you can complete the online application form. You don't have to use the same device that you used to verify your identity.

During the application, you will be asked to declare any criminal convictions. Please note that serious convictions may affect your application. If you have a criminal conviction and would like some advice, please contact the International Student Advice Service before you apply.

3. Confirm your UK residence

UKVI will check your UK residency using HMRC (tax) records.

If your tax records are incomplete (for example, if you have not been working) you may be asked to submit evidence of your residence in the UK. This can include a Student Status Letter. There is a list of acceptable types of evidence that you can use to support your application.


A successful application under the EU Settlement Scheme will result in:

  • Settled Status. Granted if you have 5 years' continuous residency in the UK. Settled Status will last indefinitely and you may subsequently be able to apply for British citizenship (subject to eligibility)
  • Pre-Settled Status. If you don't have 5 years' continuous residence, you will receive Pre-Settled Status (as long as you have lived in the UK at some point during the 6 months before you apply). This will last up to 5 years, during which time you can apply for settled status as soon as you are eligible.
  • You will need to apply for settled status (indefinite leave to remain) before your pre-settled status expires. The Home Office say that  your status won’t change automatically, you must submit a new application.  However this is currently being reviewed in the courts.  We recommend if possible that you make an application to change your Pre-Settled Staus to Settled when the time comes, because it will help you to show evidence that you have changed to Settled Status.

Both Settled and Pre-Settled status allow you to work, study, and live in the UK without restriction after the end of the transition period.

If your application is refused, you can apply for an administrative review, or submit a new application. In such cases, we recommend that you speak to one of our International Student Advisers.


The deadline to apply for the EU Settlement Scheme was 30 June 2021 but there may be certain circumstances in which the Home Office will still consider late applications from those who otherwise meet the requirements of the scheme. To find out more about the specific circumstances in which a late application may be possible, please refer to the Home Office guidance on EU Settlement Scheme: information for late applicants.

Irish Nationals

If you are a national of the Republic of Ireland, you don't need to apply under the EU Settlement Scheme. Your rights to live, work, and study in the UK are protected under separate arrangements.

However, if you have non-Irish family members in the UK, they may need to apply under the EU Settlement Scheme.

Family Members

The EU Settlement Scheme is also open to family members of EU, EEA, Swiss, and Irish nationals. They need to apply under this route for permission to stay, or join you, in the UK.

Family members who are outside of the UK may be eligible to join you in the UK at a later date. The exact date by which they must apply depends on a number of factors. For more information, please refer to the official guidance or speak to one of our International Student Advisers.

Leaving the UK for Long Periods of Time

Long periods of absence from the UK can affect how your UK residency is calculated.

In order to obtain Settled Status, you must have been resident in the UK for at least 6 months in each of the past 5 years:

  • Absences between 6-12 months may break your residency unless this is for a permitted reason (such as a work placement or illness). You may need to provide documentary evidence of this
  • Absences over 12 months will break your residency (except where this is due to military service).

The government have confirmed that if you have been studying remotely from overseas due to Covid-19, this will not break your UK residency as long as you return to the UK within 12 months of leaving.

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 may be subject to visa restrictions when you return. If you are concerned about this and would like to discuss your individual circumstances, please get in touch with our International Student Advisers.

If you have had prolonged absences from the UK and are concerned about how this may affect your application, please contact the International Student Advice Service for a confidential consultation.

Once you have been granted Settled Status

Settled Status lasts indefinitely and you can keep it even if you leave the UK. However, if you leave the UK for more than 5 years, you will no longer be considered a resident and your Settled Status will lapse.

Once you have Settled Status, you may be able to apply for British citizenship (subject to eligibility). To apply for citizenship with settled status you must usually have lived in the UK for 12 months after getting it.

Immigration policy changes frequently. We have made every effort to ensure that this information is correct at the time of writing but it remains subject to change. You should always refer to to ensure that you have up-to-date information.