Visas and Immigration for study in the UK

EU Settlement Scheme

Information on making an application under the EU Settlement Scheme, for permission to stay in the UK after Brexit

The EU Settlement Scheme is a new immigration route for citizens of the EU, EEA, and Switzerland. If you are resident in the UK and wish to stay here after the end of the transition period, you must apply for permission under this route.

You do not need to apply under the EU Settlement Scheme if you intend to leave the UK permanently before the transition period ends on 31st December 2020.

Despite its name, the EU Settlement Scheme is not just for those who wish to permanently 'settle' in the UK. You must apply under this scheme if you wish to remain in the UK after the end of the transition period, even if only on a temporary basis. This is particularly important for students whose courses finish in January or June 2021 - to complete your programme, you'll need to apply under this scheme even if you intend to return home after graduation.

Eligibility

The EU Settlement Scheme is open to citizens of the EU, EEA, and Switzerland who are resident in the UK. Applications can be made from inside or outside the UK.

In order to be eligible to apply under the EU Settlement Scheme, you must be resident in the UK, The exact date by which you must be resident depends on whether the UK leaves the EU with or without a deal:

  • If the withdrawal agreement is approved and the UK leaves the EU with a deal, you must be resident in the UK by 31st December 2020, which is the end of the transition period.
  • If the withdrawal agreement is not approved, and the UK leaves the EU without a deal (a 'no-deal' scenario), you must be resident in the UK by Brexit Day.

Irish Nationals

Irish nationals are not required to apply under the EU Settlement Scheme. Your rights to live, work, and study in the UK are protected under separate bilateral arrangements.

If you are an Irish national and have non-EU/EEA family in the UK, your family members may need to apply under the EU Settlement Scheme. Please see the section below on 'Family Members'.

Application Process

Applications for the EU Settlement Scheme are free. The online application process is simple and straightforward.

If you applied for the scheme in the pilot phase, and paid a fee, this money will be automatically refunded to you. If you believe you are entitled to a refund, but have not yet received this, please contact the International Student Advice Service for assistance.

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 ID using the EU Exit: ID Document Check app. The app reads the chip in your passport or ID card.

The app is available to download from the Google Play Store. It is currently only available on Android devices and your phone must be compatible with NFC technology (near-field communication). If your phone is not NFC compatible, or you don't have an Android device, you can borrow one from a friend or colleague. There are also a number of public locations where you can get your passport or ID card scanned, but you may be charged for this service.

2. Complete the online application form

Once you have verified your identity using the app, you can complete the online application form. This can be done from any web-enabled computer. You don't have to use the same device that you used for the app.

The application form will ask you to declare any criminal convictions. Minor convictions are unlikely to affect your application but if you have a 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 government records from HMRC (tax) and other departments.

If the records are complete, you won't need to submit any evidence. If the records are incomplete, you may need to submit documentary evidence of your residence in the UK. For students, this can include a Student Status Letter. There is a list of acceptable types of evidence that you can submit to support your application.

Outcomes

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 do not have 5 years' continuous residence, you will receive Pre-Settled Status. This will last up to 5 years, during which time you can apply again for settled status as soon as you are eligible

Both Settled and Pre-Settled status will allow you to work, study, and live in the UK without restriction.

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

Deadlines

The deadline for applying under the EU Settlement Scheme depends on whether the UK leaves with or without a deal. The earliest it will be is 31st December 2020, but this may be extended until 30th June 2021 if the withdrawal agreement is approved.

Whatever the deadline, please ensure that you apply in time, in order to retain your legal status in the UK.

If you intend to leave the UK permanently before the end of the transition period, you do not 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 will need to use this route to stay or join you in the UK.

The deadline for family members in the UK is also 31st December 2020 (or 30th June 2021)Where possible, we recommend that you apply together with your family member(s), as this can help the decision-making process.

Family members who are outside of the UK may be able to apply under this scheme to join you at a later date. The exact date by which they must apply depends on a number of factors, including whether or not the UK leaves the EU with a deal. For more information, please refer to the official guidance.

You may apply to bring your non EU/EEA/Swiss family members to the UK provided that:

  • The relationship is pre-existing AND
  • You have Settled or Pre-Settled status (or are eligible to apply for this)

Leaving the UK for Long Periods of Time

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

If you do not yet have Settled Status

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.

If you have not yet applied under the EU Settlement Scheme (or you have Pre-Settled Status), absences of over 6 months may break your residency unless this is for a specific reason. This can include a work placement or illness. You may need to provide documentary evidence of this.

Absences of over 12 months will always break your residency, regardless of the reason (except where this is due to military service), and you will need to start counting your 5 years again.

If you have had prolonged absences from the UK of over 6 months, please contact the International Student Advice Service for more guidance and a confidential consultation.

If you have Settled Status

Settled Status lasts indefinitely. However, as with all indefinite leave, it may lapse if you stop being resident in the UK.

Your Settled Status will remain valid as long as you do not leave the UK for more than 5 years. If you leave the UK for less than 5 years, you will retain your status.

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