Brexit information for current students
The UK may have left the EU but Sussex will always be a friendly international community. We want to make sure you have the information you need about Brexit and how it affects you.
This page was last updated on 11 June 2020
The UK exited the EU on 31 January 2020 with a withdrawal deal agreed. From 1 February 2020 we moved into a post-Brexit transition period which is scheduled to end on 31 December 2020.
Applications for the EU Settlement Scheme are still being processed during the Covid-19 pandemic, but for those sending documents (rather than uploading them online) it is taking longer than usual for them to be returned. It is currently taking around five working days for complete applications to be processed.
This information was correct at the time of writing and is subject to change. We will keep our pages updated with any developments which may affect you.
EU Exit: ID App
The EU Exit: ID document check app is now available for iPhone 7 and above, in addition to Android.
For Android users
- Android 6.0 and above – you can find this in your settings.
- At least 135MB of storage space to install the app.
- NFC (Near-Field Communication) so the app can scan your document – you can find this in your settings. If you can use your phone to pay for things using contactless, this means it has NFC and you can use the app.
For iPhone users
- iPhone 7 or 7 Plus or newer mode.
- iOS 13.2 or newer – to find the software version installed, go to Settings>General, then About.
- at least 120MB of storage space to install the app.
There will be no change to the tuition fee status of current EU students or those applying to courses at Sussex starting in 2019-20 or 2020-21 and fees will continue to be at the applicable Home fee rate for the duration of your course.
Find out more about ‘home’ fee status eligibility on the UKCISA (UK Council for International Student Affairs) website.
If you’re continuing, or starting a course in the 2019-20 or 2020-21 academic year, and are eligible under the current rules to receive loans from Student Finance England, you will continue to remain eligible for the duration of your course.
Citizens rights’ after the UK leaves the EU
There will be no change to the rights and status of EU, EEA and Swiss nationals currently living in the UK until 30 June 2021.
To continue living, working and studying in the UK after the end of the Brexit transition period (31 December 2020), you and your family must apply to the EU Settlement Scheme. Successful applications will be granted ‘settled’ or ‘pre-settled’ status, depending on how long you have been living in the UK.
Those with five years’ continuous residency will be granted settled status and those with less than five years will be granted pre-settled status.
Those granted settled status can stay in the UK as long as they like. Those granted pre-settled status can stay for a further five years from the date they get pre-settled status and can apply for settled status once they reach five years of continuous residency.
With settled or pre-settled status you’ll be able to:
- work in the UK
- use the National Health Service
- enrol in education or continue studying
- access public funds such as benefits and pensions, if you’re eligible for them
- travel in and out of the UK.
EU Settlement Scheme – advice for students resident in the UK before Brexit
Do I need to apply for the EU Settlement Scheme?
Students on programmes that end after 31 December 2020
If you arrived in the UK before 31 December 2020 and your programme will end after 31 December 2020, you should apply to the EU Settlement Scheme.
Without settled or pre-settled status, you will no longer have the same residential status in the UK beyond 31 December 2020 and will be required to apply for a visa under the new immigration system which is being introduced from January 2021.
If you have not applied to the EU Settlement Scheme, your ability to remain on your programme may be affected after 31 December 2020 until you have applied for a visa.
Note that Irish citizens and students with indefinite leave to remain in the UK do not need to apply.
Students on programmes ending before 31 December 2020
If your programme ends before 31 December 2020, and you are eligible to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme, it is your choice whether or not you do so. This will depend on your plans after Sussex, and whether you intend to stay living in the UK after 1 January 2021.
However, if you are an EU/EEA/Swiss students and you are eligible to make an application to the Settlement Scheme, we advise you to do so. If you do so, it will keep your options open in case your circumstances or plans change. For example, you may decide that you wish to stay on in the UK for further study, or for a job opportunity.
The settlement scheme is not only for those who intend to remain in the UK long term after studying. It is an immigration permission which will enable those who are here now to stay after Brexit, should they wish to do so.
If you do not secure your status through the EU Settlement Scheme and subsequently decide, after the application deadline, that you wish to remain in the UK, you would need to apply for another immigration status under the new immigration system which is being introduced from January 2021. See further information on the UK Government’s proposals.
The application process has been designed to be easy and user-friendly, and there is no fee.
How do I make an application to the EU Settlement Scheme?
The UK government have produced a step by step guide on applying to the EU Settlement Scheme.
The UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) have also produced guidance on how to apply.
Proof of identity
You should use the ‘EU Exit: ID Document Check’ app to complete the identity stage of your application. For this you will need either an Android device with NFC (Near Field Communication) or an iPhone 7 or newer (see further information above).
The app will:
- check that your identity document is genuine
- verify that the document belongs to you.
You must use either:
- Your biometric passport from an EU country, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland
- Your UK residence card with a biometric chip if you are the non-EU family member of an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen.
There is further guidance on using the app on the UK government webpages.
Once you have completed the identity stage, you can complete the rest of the application either on that device or any smartphone, laptop or computer.
Proof of residence
The Home Office will do checks against other government databases to check that you have been resident in the UK. You will be asked to provide your National Insurance (NI) number, if you have one.
There is no requirement for you to have a NI number or to have worked in the UK to be eligible under the scheme. If you do not have one, the Home Office will ask you for evidence from a list of documents in Annex A of the Home Office guidance on the settlement scheme which includes:
a dated and signed letter from an accredited organisation in the UK confirming physical attendance at a course and its duration, or confirming enrolment on a course accompanied by dated and signed evidence of completion (such as a qualification certificate) – this will be treated as evidence of residence for the duration of the course
You will also need to declare any criminal convictions (and the Home Office will do their own checks too).
Frequently Asked Questions
- How do I know that I am resident in the UK and eligible for the EU Settlement Scheme?
If you started living in the UK before 31 December 2020 you are considered as resident, and therefore eligible to apply.
An exception to this is if you are a registered student and are currently overseas for study purposes (such as study abroad, a work placement or research fieldwork). In this case you are permitted to be absent for a single period of up to 12 months and can apply from overseas.
- I don’t have a phone which is compatible with the EU Exit: ID document Check app. What should I do?
As part of your application, you need to provide proof of identity. The easiest way to do this is by using the EU Exit: ID Document Check app.
Until recently, this was only available on Android devices with NFC capability (the technology to make contactless payments). It is now also available via the Apple App Store to use on Apple iPhone models 7 and above (see further information above).
If you do not own a suitable device, it is also possible to borrow one from a family member or friend as the app will not store your personal data.
Ordinarily, it is also possible to book an appointment with International Student Support to use a University-owned Android device. However, the office is currently closed due to the Covid-19 crisis. This service will resume when the office reopens.
The postal route for submitting identity evidence is currently suspended. All documents already posted will be processed and returned as quickly as possible. Further information is available on the Home Office website.
- What is the difference between settled and pre-settled status?
Settled status – allows you to remain in the UK indefinitely and you can continue to study and work without restriction. You can also access any public funds you may be eligible for and use the National Health Service (NHS). You are free to travel in and out of the UK.
After obtaining settled status you can spend up to five years outside the UK without losing your status and you can choose to apply for British citizenship.
Pre-settled status – gives you permission to remain in the UK for a further five years from the date that you were granted this status. Once you have reached five years continuous residence, you can apply again to obtain settled status if you want to remain in the UK longer. However, you must apply before your five years on pre-settled status expires if you wish to remain in the UK.
Whilst in the UK with pre-settled status you can continue to study and work in the UK without restriction. You can also access any public funds you may be eligible for and use the National Health Service (NHS). You are free to travel in and out of the UK.
After obtaining pre-settled status you can spend up to two years outside the UK without losing your status.
- Is the application process different for settled and pre-settled status?
The application for settled or pre-settled status is the same process through the EU Settlement Scheme. You don’t need to choose which status you are applying for.
Settled status – to be granted settled status you must complete the EU Settlement Scheme application and demonstrate that you have been resident in the UK for the last five years with no absences of longer than six months in any 12 month period. In exceptional circumstances, a one off absence from the UK of up to 12 months (such as for study abroad, pregnancy, childbirth or work posting can be discounted as absence. Any periods of compulsory military service are also allowed.
You must have started living in the UK before 31 December 2020. If you are under 21 and are applying with your parents, you may not need to have been resident in the UK for five continuous years to obtain settled status if your parent(s) have met the requirements.
Pre-settled status – to be granted pre-settled status you must complete the EU Settlement Scheme application and demonstrate that you are resident in the UK.
You must have started living in the UK before 31 December 2020 but there is no minimum time you need to have spent in the UK in order to be eligible.
- How do I prove my residence?
Settled status – to be granted settled status, you will need to evidence that you have been resident in the UK for five continuous years. If you have been working in the UK during the last five years, the easiest and quickest way to prove this is by providing your National Insurance (NI) number on the form. UK Visas & Immigration (UKVI) can check this with HM Revenues & Customs by accessing your NI records. In this case no further documents will be needed to prove residence.
If you have not been working some or all of the last five years, you can upload evidence of your residence to your application. Acceptable documents include annual bank statements, letters from your school or university confirming your attendance, or tenancy agreements. All documents you provide must be dated and have your name on them. Further details are available online.
If you have had an absence from the UK of longer than six months but less than 12 months for one of the ‘exceptional’ reasons listed above, you will need to provide official evidence.
Pre-settled status – if you have been resident in the UK for any period of time less than five years, you will need to provide evidence that you were resident in the UK before 31 December 2020 when you apply.
Only one piece of evidence of residence is required to obtain pre-settled status. The document must be less than six months old. If you have a National Insurance (NI) number and you have been working, the NI number should be sufficient evidence for pre-settled status.
If you don’t have a NI number and/or you haven’t been working, you can provide other evidence to support your application. Acceptable documents include a student status letter from the University.
- If I need a letter from the University to prove my residence for my EU Settlement application, where can I get this from?
If you are an undergraduate student then you can request a ‘General Letter of Enrolment’ or student status letter from your School office.
If you are a Masters student then you can get a letter from the Student Systems and Records Office in Bramber House or request it online.
Research students can visit the Research Student Administration Office in Sussex House or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Former students can make an online request for a letter confirming your dates of attendance.
- I have dual nationality. Should I apply for settlement status?
You will not need to apply if you have dual British citizenship. If you have dual EU and non-EU nationality, you can apply for settlement status using your EU passport.
- If I leave the UK, do I lose settlement status?
If you have settled status, this would be lost after an absence of five years from the UK (this is still subject to approval from Parliament).
If you have pre-settled status, this would be lost after an absence of more than two years from the UK.
If you lose your status and you are no longer eligible to apply under the settlement scheme, you will only be able to apply under any other category of the Immigration Rules in place at the time you wish to come to the UK.
- I am an EU/EEA/Swiss national currently out of the country on a study abroad programme or PhD fieldwork. Will I be able to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme? Do I need to return to the UK before the UK leaves the EU?
If you are a Sussex student from the EU, EEA or Switzerland and are currently overseas on a study abroad programme or on PhD fieldwork, in most cases you should still be able to apply for the EU Settlement Scheme. The government has said that a single period outside the UK of up to 12 months still meets the ‘continuous residence’ requirement as long as it is for an important reason such as study.
You will not need to return to the UK before 31 January 2020 (the date the UK left the EU) as you will have until 31 December 2020 to be resident in the UK. You can apply for the scheme from outside the UK (free of charge) based on your previous residence in the UK, without needing to travel here to make an online application.
Alternatively, you will be able to apply after you re-enter the UK, as long as it’s before 31 December 2020. If you have been out of the UK for more than 12 months, you will need to re-enter the UK to apply and will be eligible for pre-settled status only. This is because any previous time spent in the UK would not count towards the five years continuous residence required for full settled status.
- I am an EU/EEA/Swiss national currently at Sussex and I’m planning on undertaking study abroad or fieldwork outside the UK in the future. Will I be able to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme?
If you are a current EU/EEA/Swiss student, your right to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme will not be affected if you are intending to study abroad or undertake fieldwork outside the UK in the future.
You should apply to the scheme as soon as possible, and before leaving the UK. You can leave the UK for up to two years without losing pre-settled status or for up to five years with settled status.
- I am a national of Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein or Switzerland. Can I apply to the EU Settlement Scheme?
The EU Settlement Scheme is open to EEA citizens and Swiss nationals as well as EU citizens.
- I am from the Irish Republic. Do I need to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme?
The rights of Irish citizens residing in the UK are protected after the UK leaves the EU under the UK-Ireland Common Travel Area arrangements. This means that Irish citizens do not need to apply for the EU Settlement Scheme.
- I have returned to my home country because of the Covid-19 situation. Can I still apply to the EU Settlement Scheme?
Yes, you can apply for the scheme from outside the UK (free of charge) based on the fact that you have been living in the UK in the last six months. Alternatively, if you are returning to Sussex, you can apply once you are back in the UK but you should do so before 31 December 2020.
Visiting the UK after Brexit
What you’ll need to enter the UK will not change until at least 2021.
EU/EEA/Swiss nationals will be able to continue to travel to the UK for short trips without requiring a visa.
If you began living in the UK before 31 December 2020 and have status under the EU Settlement Scheme, you’ll be able to use your EEA or Swiss national identity card to enter the UK until at least 31 December 2025.
Find out more on the UK Government’s website.
What will happen to reciprocal EU/EEA healthcare arrangements after the date UK leaves the EU?
The UK government has published information about access to healthcare for EU, EEA and Swiss nationals visiting the UK after Brexit. You will still be able to use your EHIC issued by the country where you live if you arrive in the UK before the end of the transition period (31 December 2020). This cover will last until the end of your stay, even if after exit day.
Eligible students are advised to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme for pre-settled/settled status as this protects your access to healthcare after the transition period as well as your immigration status.
Your EHIC may not be valid if you arrive in the UK after the end of the transition period. You should buy insurance to cover your healthcare as you would if visiting another non-EU country.
Further information about access to healthcare for EU, EEA and Swiss students is available on the UKCISA (UK Council for International Student Affairs) website.
Travelling in Europe (UK citizens)
For the latest information on visiting Europe from 1 January 2021, please visit the government’s website.
Will Sussex continue to participate in the Erasmus+ programme?
The UK has now entered a ‘transition phase’ which will last until the end of December 2020. Under the withdrawal agreement between the UK and the EU, the UK will continue to be able to participate in the Erasmus+ programme during this time.
Currently Sussex is applying for Erasmus+ funding for student and staff mobility due to take place during the academic year 2020/21. Whether Sussex has been successful in its application for Erasmus+ funding will be confirmed by the European Commission in May, as in previous years. However, students and staff planning to complete mobilities in the EU in 2020/21 should continue with all other aspects of their applications. The Sussex Abroad team will inform participants about the outcome of the University’s Erasmus+ funding application after May 2020.
Beyond 2020/21, the future participation of UK universities in the European Commission’s successor programme to Erasmus+ is one of the areas of future negotiation between the UK and the EU. These discussions are due to begin after the UK has left the EU.
For Sussex students studying or working abroad through the Erasmus+ programme in 2019/20:
We are not expecting Sussex students or staff completing mobilities through Erasmus+ this academic year, 2019/20, to have their visit affected by the UK leaving the EU. If staff or students have any concerns about this, we would ask them to contact the Sussex Abroad office.
I’m a non-EEA national. Is there any impact on me?
There are no foreseeable changes to the arrangements for non-EEA nationals to visit, study, work or settle in the UK.
Advice and guidance
- Who should I contact if I have questions about my situation?
The University’s International Student Support office is here to help by providing you with the most up-to-date information on a range of student-related immigration matters for current and prospective students. In our answers, we link frequently to the UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA), as they are a great source of information for students from outside the UK.
For questions about Erasmus+, contact our Sussex Abroad team.
- I am feeling stressed and anxious about Brexit. Where can I find help?
- How will the University keep me updated?
The University will communicate with you directly using your University of Sussex email address when there are significant updates. We will regularly update these webpages to reflect up-to-date information.
- Where can I find further information?
The UK Council for International Student Affairs’ website has lots of information about Brexit which is specific to students.