Brexit information for current students
The UK may be leaving the EU but at Sussex we 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 20 November 2019
This information was correct at the time of writing. Please check regularly for the most up-to-date information.
Details about Brexit are subject to change as the UK will have a general election on 12 December 2019. Following this, the elected government will decide the next stages of the UK’s relationship with the European Union.
Prior to the election being called, the EU had agreed a three month extension to the Brexit deadline, requested by the current government, which means the UK is expected to leave the EU on 31 January 2020.
This page contains information and links regarding the current government’s plans and is therefore 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.
Book onto an EU Settlement Scheme briefing session
International Student Support is running regular briefing sessions to share with you why we think it is a good idea for Sussex students to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme and to guide you through the application process.
To book a date via Eventbrite, choose from one of the following dates:
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, at the earliest, 31 December 2020 if the UK leaves the EU without a deal (or 30 June 2021 if there is a deal).
To continue living, working and studying in the UK after Brexit, you and your family can 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
- nrol 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 (in a Brexit deal) or before 31 January 2020 (if there is no deal) 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 (if there is a Brexit deal) or before 31 January 2020 (if there no Brexit deal) 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 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.
You can also book an appointment with International Student Support to use a University-owned Android device.
Appointments are available between 10am-12pm and 2-4pm, Monday to Friday and take place at International Student Support, Level 2, Bramber House.
To book a slot, please email: email@example.com
Tell us your:
- student registration number (on your student ID card, beginning 21)
- three preferred days and times.
You can also attend a drop in document scanning service run by Brighton & Hove City Council at Brighton Town Hall. This service runs between 9:30am-12pm (Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday) and 10am-12pm (Wednesday).
Or, if you prefer, you can send your identity documents to the Home Office by post.
- 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.
If there is a Brexit deal, you must have started living in the UK before 31 December 2020 (or by 31 January 2020 if there is no deal). 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.
In a Brexit deal, you must have started living in the UK before 31 December 2020 (or by 31 January 2020 if there is no deal) 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, and there is a Brexit deal, you will need to provide evidence that you were resident in the UK before 31 December 2020 (or by 31 January 2020 if there is no deal) 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.
However, there are some variants, depending on whether or not there is a deal:
In a Brexit deal – you will not need to return to the UK before the date the UK leaves the EU, as you will have until 30 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 30 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.
If the UK exits without a deal – and you have not been out of the UK for more than 12 months by 31 January 2020, you will be eligible to apply for the settlement scheme. However, you must apply sooner than 12 months after you left the UK. You can submit an application from outside the UK.
If your total time outside the UK is likely to be longer than 12 months, and you wish to qualify for the scheme, you will need to come back to the UK for a day or two (keeping evidence of having done so) before 12 months have elapsed.
If you will have been out of the UK for 12 months by 11pm on 31 January 2020, you will need to return before that date (even if only for a day or two and keep evidence of having done so) in order to be eligible for the scheme. If you do not do so, you will still be able to study in the UK when you return, but you would need to apply for another immigration status under the new immigration rules if you intend to stay after 31 December 2020.
- I am an EU/EEA/Swiss national currently on intermission outside the country. Will I be able to apply for the EU Settlement Scheme? Do I need to return to the UK before the UK leaves the EU?
If you have been out of the UK for six months or less, there will be no impact on your eligibility for the EU Settlement Scheme as absences of up to six months in a 12 month period are permissible. In addition, the government has said that you can have a single absence of up to 12 months if it is for an important reason such as serious illness or childbirth.
If you have been out of the UK for more than 12 months, your eligibility for the EU Settlement Scheme depends on whether or not there is a deal and also the reason for your intermission:
If there is a Brexit deal – you will not need to return to the UK before the date the UK leaves the EU, as you will have until 30 December 2020 to be resident here. You can apply to the scheme now, even if you are currently outside the UK, based on your previous residence here.
If you have been intermitting due to serious illness or childbirth, a single period outside the UK of up to 12 months can still count towards the five years continuous residence required for full settled status.
For most other reasons, it is likely that your time outside the UK will not count towards the five years continuous residence requirement if it was for more than six months. In this situation, you would be eligible for pre-settled status.
If there is no deal – and you have not been out of the UK for more than six months by 31 January 2020 (or 12 months if your intermission was due to serious illness) you will still be eligible to apply to the settlement scheme. You will need to do so sooner than six months (or, in the case of serious illness, 12 months) after you left the UK. You can make your application from outside the UK.)
If your total time outside the UK is likely to be longer than six months (or 12 months for serious illness), and you wish to qualify for the scheme, you will need to come back to the UK for a day or two (keeping evidence of having done so).
If you will have been out of the UK for six months (or 12 months for serious illness), by 31 January 2020, you will need to return before that date (even if only for a day or two and keep evidence of having done so) in order to be eligible for the scheme. If you do not do so, you will still be able to study in the UK when you return, but you would need to apply for another immigration status under the new immigration rules if you intend to stay after 31 December 2020.
- 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.
- Will the EU Settlement Scheme still operate if no agreement is reached?
The UK government has given assurances that the scheme will still operate but:
Will only be open to EU citizens and their eligible family members who are resident in the UK before 11pm on 31 January 2020 unless:
- You are temporarily absent from the UK (within the Rules of the scheme on permitted absences). In this case you will still be able to enter the UK after the date the UK leaves the EU and apply under the settlement scheme.
- You are an eligible family member and the relationship with the EU citizen (who is eligible to apply under the settlement scheme) was formed before the date the UK leaves the EU. In this case, the deadline for the eligible family member to apply is likely to be three years after the date the UK leaves the EU.
- You are the child born to an EU citizen who is eligible to apply under the settlement scheme.
The deadline to apply will be 30 December 2020.
Further information can be found on the UKCISA website.
- I am a national of Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein or Switzerland. Can I apply to the EU Settlement Scheme?
In the event of a deal, the EU Settlement Scheme will be open to non-EU EEA citizens and Swiss nationals in the same way as for EU nationals.
If a deal is not agree, there may be a different deadline to apply to the scheme than for EU nationals. There is currently no clear information on this issue. The UK government have said only that the deadline will be ‘no less than six months from exit day’. There would also be different deadlines for family members.
- 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.
Visiting the UK after Brexit
EU/EEA/Swiss nationals will be able to continue to travel to the UK for short trips without requiring a visa.
If the UK leaves with a deal
If the UK exits with a deal, your ability to travel to the UK will not change until at least 2021:
- If you are an EU/EEA national living in the UK before Brexit, you will be able to use your national ID card for travel until at least 31 December 2025.
- If you are a Swiss national living in the UK on or before 31 December 2020, you will be able to use your national ID card until at least 31 December 2025.
- If you arrive in the UK after Brexit, the use of national ID cards for travel to the UK will be phased out from 2021. You may wish to consider obtaining a passport if you know you need to travel to the UK in the future.
If the UK leaves without a deal
If the UK leaves without a deal there will be changes to the way that you can enter the UK as a visitor:
- Free movement as it currently stands under EU law will end on 31 January 2020
- Initially border crossings for EU/EEA/Swiss nationals will remain unchanged
- The use of EEA national identity cards for travel to the UK will be phased out during 2020
Find out more on the UK Government’s website.
EU citizens arriving to study in the UK after a no deal Brexit
In a no deal Brexit, it is expected that between 31 January 2020 and 31 December 2020, EU citizens would be permitted to move to the UK and live, study, work and access benefits and services as now.
Those wishing to stay beyond 31 December 2020 would need to apply for a UK immigration status granting them permission to stay.
There will be a new voluntary immigration scheme – the European Temporary Leave to Remain (Euro TLR) Scheme – to provide a route to apply for this immigration status. This will open after Brexit and applications will involve a simple online process and identity, security and criminality checks.
If your application is successful, you will be granted immigration permission for 36 months which will start on the date the permission is granted.
Immigration permission will be in a secure, digital format similar to the EU Settlement Scheme.
If you have not applied for this or another type of immigration permission by 31 December 2020 you will have to leave the UK before that date.
If you intend to remain in the UK for more than 36 months, or you arrive in the UK after 31 December 2020, you will need to apply under the new immigration rules.
Find out more information 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 UK leaves the EU. 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 as well as your immigration status.
Your EHIC may not be valid if you arrive in the UK after the UK leaves the EU. 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
For the latest information on visiting Europe after Brexit, go to the Government’s website.
For all travellers in a ‘no deal’ situation, if you are planning on travelling into or out of the UK after the date the UK leaves the EU, you should expect disruption, especially for the first few weeks, unless a deal has been made. Make sure you allow plenty of time to reach, and move between travel hubs, to ensure that you do not miss compulsory academic commitments at Sussex.
Consider your contingency arrangements if travel is delayed, either going or coming back, for example ensuring you have access to additional funds or a credit card. In a no deal situation, travellers could face extra costs associated with a fall in the value of the pound. It may be advisable to obtain currency before you travel so that you are secure in the value at time of purchase.
Take extra care to ensure that all your travel documentation is up-to-date, have the right travel insurance, and that you have checked the requirements for your travel. If you’re a UK citizen, see the advice for health insurance while in Europe.
Will Sussex continue to participate in the Erasmus+ programme?
Under a withdrawal agreement between the UK and the EU, the UK would continue to be able to participate in the Erasmus+ programme until 2020/21. Future participation after 2020 would be decided as part of the future partnership negotiations.
For Sussex students studying or working abroad through the Erasmus+ programme in 2019/20:
We are not expecting Sussex students who have already started their study term or year abroad, or work placement abroad in the EU through Erasmus+ this academic year, 2019/20, to have their visit affected by the UK’s withdrawal from the EU even in the event of a no deal. The European Contingency measures would ensure both UK and EU students who are participating in Erasmus+ at the time of Brexit can complete their placement without interruption and continue to receive funding.
If you are due to undertake study abroad in 2019/20, but after the UK leaves the EU in a ‘no-deal’ Brexit, although the UK will no longer be part of the Erasmus+ programme, students will receive equivalent grant amounts to the Erasmus grant they would have normally received. This is via the UK government guarantee for Erasmus+ which will support the programme in 2019/20. Sussex is also working with individual partner universities in Europe to ensure that your planned study placement can continue. If you have concerns about this, please contact the Sussex Abroad office directly.
Immigration Requirements for Sussex students studying or working abroad in 2019/20:
In a ‘no-deal’ scenario, students’ study/work/residency status in the EU may change. Students should consult the Government’s website to keep up to date on these requirements. Students may also wish to seek advice from their Erasmus host institution regarding this. Universities UK International have responded to this situation by launching the #SupportStudyAbroad social media campaign to highlight and amplify public support for study abroad and encourage the government to commit to funding study abroad programmes in the event of a no deal Brexit.
For Sussex students planning to study or work abroad in Europe in 2020/21 onwards:
As the final Brexit negotiations are still to be completed, it is not clear whether UK universities will remain eligible to participate in the Erasmus+ programme. Sussex is working with individual partner universities in Europe to ensure that students can still study abroad in the region. However, as it is uncertain that students would receive an Erasmus+ grant for their study and work placements, we advise students to apply for opportunities abroad in Europe under the understanding that they will NOT receive Erasmus funding and only if they can support themselves using their usual financial support arrangements.
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 are 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.