Brexit information for current students

The UK may be leaving the EU, but here at Sussex we will always be a friendly international community. We want to make sure you have all the information you need about Brexit and how it affects you. This page should help answer any questions you may have.

The information on this page was last updated on 15 May 2019.

Please note that when we refer to the 'date the UK leaves the EU', this is currently expected to be 31 October 2019, or earlier if the Withdrawal Agreement is approved before then.

Tuition fees

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 on the Student Loans Company website.

Student loans

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.

Find out more on the Student Loans Company website.

Citizens' rights after the UK leaves the EU

There will be no change to the rights and status of EEA and Swiss nationals currently living in the UK until 30 June 2021 or 31 December 2020 if the UK leaves the EU without a deal. To continue living, working and studying in the UK, you and your family can apply to the EU Settlement Scheme. You'll get 'settled' or 'pre-settled' status, depending on how long you've been living in the UK. This enables you to continue to be eligible for public services (such as healthcare and schools), public funds and pensions. 

Applying to the EU Settlement Scheme

The scheme is open and you can apply now if you're eligible. It is possible to apply from outside the UK, based on previous residence here.  There is no fee and anyone who paid a £65 application fee during the pilot phase will have it refunded to them. 

The deadline for applying will be 30 June 2021, or 31 December 2020 if the UK leaves the EU without a deal. 

Find out how to apply.

  • 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, you can choose to apply for British citizenship and any children born in the UK will automatically become British citizens. 

    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 and any children born in the UK will automatically be granted pre-settled.

  • How do I get settled or 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 pregnancy, childbirth, study or work posting) or in the case of compulsory military service of any length can be discounted as absence. You must have started living in the UK before 31 December 2020 (or by the date the UK leaves the EU 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. You must have started living in the UK before 31 December 2020 (or by the date the UK leaves the EU 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 verify my identity when applying to the EU Settlement Scheme?

    As part of the application process, you will need to provide documentation to prove your identity. To do this, you can use the EU Exit: ID Document Check app to scan your biometric identity document. Currently, this is only available on Android devices with NFC capability. (An easy way to check if your Android device has NFC capability is whether your device has the technology to make contactless payments.) You can use a friend or family member’s Android device to download the app and complete the identity verification steps. Alternatively, International Student Support have purchased an Android device and are offering appointments for students to book to use the device to start the application process. If you prefer, you can send your identity document to the Home Office by post.

  • 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/self-employed in the UK during the last five years, the easiest and quickest way to prove this is by providing your National Insurance Number (NINo) on the form. UK Visas & Immigration (UKVI) can check this with HM Revenues & Customs by accessing your NINo records. In this case no further documents will be needed to prove residence. If you haven’t 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 are resident in the UK before 31 December 2020 (or by the date the UK leaves the EU 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 Number and you have been working, the National Insurance Number should be sufficient evidence for pre-settled status. If you don’t have a National Insurance Number and/or you haven’t been working, you can provide other evidence

  • 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 yours 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 researchstudentoffice@sussex.ac.uk.

    Former students can make an online request for a letter confirming your dates of attendance.

  • Do I have to apply under the settlement scheme if I intend to leave the UK before 31 December 2020?

    It is not compulsory to apply, but it is advisable so you can keep your options open in case your circumstances change. For example, you may decide you wish to stay on in the UK for further study, or for a job opportunity, or you may have resits which require you to remain at Sussex or return at a later date. 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, if they wish to do so.

    With permission under the scheme, there will be no restrictions on study (where you study or what you study). If you do not apply and decide at a later date that you wish to remain in the UK for work or study, you would need to apply under another category of the Immigration Rules, which is likely to incur a fee, whereas there is no fee for the settlement scheme.

    In a no deal, although the UK government has confirmed that EEA and Swiss citizens who are lawfully residing in the UK before the Brexit date can continue to do so, 'free movement' will end. This means that anyone who arrives in the UK for the first time after the UK leaves the EU would be able to stay for a maximum of three months (unless they apply for European Temporary Leave to Remain). So if you do not have settled or pre-settled status, you are likely to need proof of previous residence in the UK when returning after any travel. 

    The application process has been designed to be easy and user-friendly and has been tested under three pilots (with modifications made to the application throughout these pilots).

  • 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 status is lost 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 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 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 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. It's now possible to 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. If you decide to apply but have been out of the UK for more than 12 months, you will need to re-enter the UK to apply and are only eligible for pre-settled status. In this case, any previous time spent in the UK would not count towards the five years continuous residence required for full settled status.
    • the UK exits without a deal – if you have not been out of the UK for more than 12 months by this date you will be eligible to apply for the settlement scheme but you will need to apply  sooner than 12 months after you left the UK. It's now possible to apply to the scheme 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, and then ensure you do not exceed a further absence from the UK of more than 6 months. If you have been out of the UK for 12 months by 11pm on the date the UK leave the EU, you will need to return before that date (even if only for a day or two) in order to be eligible for the scheme. If you do not do so, you will still be able to stay in the UK for more than three months when you eventually return, but you will need to apply for European Temporary Leave to Remain. If you need advice on this issue, contact International Student Support.
  • I am an 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:

    • in a 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. It's also now possible to apply to the scheme from outside the UK (free of charge) based on your previous residence in the UK, without needing to travel back to make an application. 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. The clock would then re-set from the time you re-enter the UK. 
    • the UK exits without a deal – if you have not been out of the UK for more than six months by the date the UK leaves the EU (or 12 months if your intermission was due to serious illness) you will still be eligible to apply for the settlement scheme but you need to apply sooner than six months (or, in the case of serious illness, 12 months) after you left the UK. (You can apply to the scheme 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) and then ensure you will not exceed a further absence from the UK of more than six months. If you will be out of the UK for six months (or 12 months for serious illness), by the date the UK leaves the EU, you will need to return before that date (even if only for a day or two) in order to be eligible for the scheme. If you do not do so, you will still be able to stay in the UK for more than three months when you return, by applying for European Temporary Leave to Remain. If you need advice on this issue, contact International Student Support.
  • I am a 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 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. You should apply to the scheme as soon as possible, and before leaving the UK. As your time outside the UK is for study purposes, it will be considered a permissible absence under the Settlement Scheme and your immigration status will not be adversely affected. Howeverif you are away from the UK for more than 12 months, your time away would not be counted towards your period of ‘continuous residence’.  Pre-settled status is lost after an absence of two years, and settled status after five years.

  • 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 the date the UK leaves the EU 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. However, if there is no deal, there may be a different deadline to apply to the scheme than for EU nationals. At this point, 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. Please contact International Student Support if you need further information about this.

Travelling to or from the UK after the date the UK leaves the EU

In the event of a no-deal Brexit, EU nationals will be able to enter the UK as now but for those arriving in the UK for the first time after the date the UK leaves the EU, there will be restrictions on their ability to stay beyond three months.

Find out more information on the Government's website.

Until there is clarity on the nature of UK’s withdrawal from the EU, it is not possible to provide specific advice about travel arrangements. For the time being, you should continue to arrange your travel as you would have previously, and check this page on the UK Government website for updates as close to the date of travel as possible.

  • What will happen if there is a Brexit deal?

    If a deal with the UK and EU Government is reached before this date, there will be no changes to current visa requirements or entitlements until the end date of the transition period, which is likely to be December 31, 2020.

  • What will happen if there is no-deal?

    For EU citizens already resident in the UK but travelling after Brexit, the UK government has said that, in the event of a no deal, the same entry requirements that currently apply to EU nationals will continue to apply until the end of 2020. This means that EU nationals will continue to be able to use the ePassport gates at UK airports and should not be subject to detailed scrutiny about their intentions while in the UK. However, if you have not yet been granted EU settlement, it may be advisable to carry a student status letter as evidence that you were residing in the UK before the date the UK leaves the EU.

    If you are an undergraduate student then you can request a student status letter from your School office. If you are a postgraduate taught student then you can get yours 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 researchstudentoffice@sussex.ac.uk.

    On 28 January 2019, the UK government published details of proposals on the temporary immigration system they will put in place for EU nationals in the event of a no deal Brexit. Please note that the Bill is not yet law and is subject to amendment.

    It states that EEA (and Swiss) citizens arriving in the UK after the date the UK leaves the EU will be able to enter the UK without a visa and stay for up to three months. If you intend to stay in the UK for longer than three months, you will need to apply for ‘European Temporary Leave to Remain’. This will be granted for a period of 36 months.

    If you want to stay in the UK for more than 36 months, you will need to apply for an immigration status under the new immigration system which will come into effect from 1 January 2021. Those who do not qualify will need to leave the UK when their European Temporary Leave to Remain expires.

    Further details of the scheme and how to apply are not yet available.

    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.

    The UK government has already agreed a deal with Switzerland and the non EU EEA states (Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein) so if you’re travelling to or from one of these countries, there may be some differences to the above. Please check the details of this deal for more information.

What will happen to reciprocal EU/EEA healthcare arrangements after the date UK leaves the EU?

The UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) have published information about accessing healthcare after Brexit in both ‘deal’ and ‘no deal’ scenarios for students who are EU, EEA and Swiss citizens or their family members. Until the UK leaves, the EU students will continue to have access to healthcare under the same conditions as now. More information is available on the International Student Support web pages. Once the UK leaves the EU, eligible students are advised to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme for pre-settled/settled status as this protects both your immigration status and your access to healthcare. 

Travelling in Europe

UK citizens

For UK citizens travelling in Europe, the European Council has confirmed that, in the event of no deal, it will allow visa-free travel to all EU/EEA and Swiss countries, including those not in the Schengen zone, for a period of up to 90 days (across any 180 day period). This will remain the case provided the UK reciprocates on the same basis. There will be no restrictions on stay during that 90 day period.

If the UK leaves the EU with no deal, the rules for travel to most countries in Europe will change. If your adult passport was issued over nine years ago, you may be affected. You should use this tool to check your passport is still valid for your trip before booking travel. 

Useful travel information for UK nationals who will be travelling to the EU in the event of a no deal (including information about the requirement to have a minimum six months remaining on your passport)

For students studying or undertaking research in Europe, information for UK nationals living in the EU is provided on the UK government website.

The UK government has already agreed a deal with Switzerland and the non EU EEA states (Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein) so if you’re travelling to or from one of these countries, there may be some differences to the above. Please check the details of this deal for more information.

UK and EU citizens

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 so 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.

The UK government would envisage granting permission to EU airlines to continue to operate air services between the UK and the EU and expects EU countries to reciprocate. The European Commission has also acknowledged an agreement on air services would be desirable in the event of the UK leaving with no deal. If such permissions are not granted, there could be some delays to flights. Read the full information on the government website.

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?

Sussex students currently participating in Erasmus+ this academic year (2018-19) are not expected to be affected by Brexit, even in the event of no deal. The European Commission’s 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.

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 students due to complete Erasmus+ study/work placements during the 2019/20 academic year:

In the event that the UK leaves the EU with no agreement in place, the Government will underwrite Erasmus+ funding for all successful bids submitted while we are still in the EU. Successful bids are those that are approved directly by the European Commission or by the National Agency and ratified by the European Commission. 

This arrangement is dependant however on the Government reaching agreement with the EU for UK organisations to continue participating in Erasmus+ projects. If discussions are unsuccessful, the Government will engage with member states, other participating countries and key institutions to seek to ensure UK participants can continue with their planned activity. 

As advised by the UK's National Agency for Erasmus+, we have applied for Erasmus+ funding for 2019/20 but we have not yet been notified if the application has been successful.

  • Sussex students currently studying in the EU under the Erasmus programme

    We are not expecting Sussex students currently studying or working abroad in the EU through Erasmus+ this academic year (2018-19) to have their visit affected by the UK’s withdrawal from the EU.

    However, in a ‘no-deal’ scenario, students' study/work/residency status 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.

I’m a non-EEA national. Is there any impact on me?

There are no foreseeable changes to the mechanism by which non-EEA nationals can visit, study, work or settle in the UK.

Advice and guidance


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