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, and ensuring your continuing immigration status in the UK.

EU citizens in this page refers to citizens of the EU, EEA (Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein) and Switzerland. The information on this page may be relevant to you if you hold dual nationality of the EU, EEA, and Switzerland.

This page was last updated on 1 December 2020

Important information

The UK exited the EU on the 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 at 11pm on 31 December 2020. You need to ensure you understand your immigration status in the UK and take any necessary action by 31 December 2020 at the latest.

If you attended our live webinar on Applying to the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS), we hope you found it useful. You can watch a recording by visiting this Zoom link.

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.

Citizens’ rights after the UK leaves the EU

There will be no change to the rights and status of EU, EEA and Swiss nationals who started living in the UK by 31 December 2020, 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 will need to 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.

IMPORTANT: If you do not apply to the EU Settlement Scheme, you will need to apply for immigration permission as a student (see below). You will not be eligible to apply under EU Settlement Scheme if you have not arrived in the UK by 11pm on 31 December 2020 and will not have access to the benefits that currently exist under EU rules.

Immigration permission as a student

If you arrive in the UK or are already resident in the UK before 11pm on 31 December 2020:

If you’re a current student from the EU, EEA or Switzerland you will not be required to apply for immigration permission as a student from your home country as long as you arrive in the UK before 11pm on 31 December 2020.

If you arrive before that time and date there will be no change to your rights and status as an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen until 30 June 2021. This means you can study, live and work in the UK as now. However, in order to protect your rights after 11pm on 31 December 2020 (when the Brexit transition period ends), you will need to make an application under the EU Settlement Scheme. You can do this after you arrive in the UK. If you arrive in the UK before 11pm on 31 December 2020, the deadline to apply is 30 June 2021 but the University advises you to apply as soon as possible. The application process is easy, user-friendly and free of charge.

If you apply to the EU Settlement Scheme from within the UK, we advise you to not leave the UK until you have been granted your status under the Scheme. Read our information on the EU Settlement Scheme and how to apply.

Once your settled or pre-settled status is granted, you will have the same access to work, study, healthcare, pensions and other benefits in the UK according to current EU rules.

If you arrive in the UK after 11pm on 31 December 2020:

EU, EEA and Swiss citizens who move to the UK after 11pm on 31 December 2020 (and who have not already been granted pre-settled or settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme) will need to apply for immigration permission as a student. You will not be eligible to apply under the EU Settlement Scheme and will not have access to the benefits that currently exist under EU rules.

See our information on making a Student Visa application outside the UK.

You may find UK Visas and Immigration’s ‘UK’s points-based immigration systems: An introduction for EU students’ guide useful.

EU Settlement Scheme – advice for students resident in the UK before 31 December 2020

  • 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. Check your eligibility through the UK Government webpages.

    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).

  • I have already applied for and been granted pre-settled or settled status. Do I need to do anything else?

    If you have already been granted pre-settled or settled status under EUSS, then you have secured your continued right to study in the UK after 31 December 2020. Make sure you can access proof of your status through the online checking service. You may need to provide this to the University in the future.

    If you have been granted pre-settled status and would like to apply for settled status in the future (which has no time limit on how long you can stay in the UK), you need to be aware of the eligibility criteria for settled status. There are strict rules on how long you are permitted to be outside of the UK to qualify for settled status. Watch our presentation and let us know if you have any questions.

  • I am currently in the UK but have not yet applied for or been granted pre-settled or settled status. What do I do?

    You should submit an application for EUSS as soon as possible. See the information above for details.

    We advise that you don’t leave the UK until your status has been granted.

  • I am currently studying remotely outside the UK and have not been previously been resident in the UK. What do I do?

    If you have not been previously resident in the UK and want to apply for pre-settled or settled status, you must enter the UK on or before 11pm on 31 December 2020. You should then make an application under EUSS as soon as possible. We strongly advise that you don’t leave the UK/Common Travel Area until you have been informed by the Home Office that your application for pre-settled or settled status has been granted.

    Please note that the many University services (apart from essential services) will be closed from Saturday 19 December 2020, re-opening on Monday 4 January 2021. If you have any questions about accommodation for when you arrive in the UK, please contact our Housing team.

  • I was previously resident in the UK but I am currently studying remotely outside the UK. Can I apply under EUSS whilst I am outside the UK?

    This may be possible, but depends on why you were previously in the UK and how long you have been absent. Please read through the following scenarios and if none of these apply or you have any questions, contact the Immigration team for advice.

    Scenarios

    • 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 had been studying and living in the UK before 31 December 2020, AND have not been absent from the UK for longer than 12 months. In order to qualify for pre-settled/settled status, if you have an absence of between 6-12 months from the UK, it has to be for an ‘important reason’. The Home Office have stated that Coronavirus-related absences of up to 12 months will be regarded as acceptable for an “important reason” similar to other stated reasons of serious illness, study or pregnancy.

      We recommend you submit evidence to prove when you were in the UK (immigration stamps or used flight tickets/boarding passes) and a student status letter.

      Alternatively, if you are returning to Sussex, you can apply once you are back in the UK but need to re-enter before 11pm on 31 December 2020.

    • I have been out of the UK for longer than 12 months. Can I still apply to the EU Settlement Scheme from outside the UK?

      No. Absences of longer than 12 months are not permitted (apart from compulsory military service, posting on a crown service or any period spent working in the UK marine area). If you want to apply under EUSS you must re-enter the UK before 11pm 31 December 2020 (to begin another period of residence) and then apply for pre-settled status.

  • I have dual nationality. Should I apply for settlement status?

    You do 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

    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 and used flight tickets/boarding pass.

  • 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 researchstudentoffice@sussex.ac.uk.

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

  • How long will it take for my application to be processed?

    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 can take several weeks for complete applications to be processed.

  • I have questions or need to check my application status?

    If you have questions and queries about an ongoing application please contact the EU Resolution Centre.

  • What is the difference between settled and pre-settled status?

    Settled status

    This 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

    This 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. However, if you plan to apply for settled status in the future, you will need to ensure you maintain your continuous residence in order to qualify (see above for information on absences).

  • 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 Coronavirus pandemic, study abroad, pregnancy, childbirth or work posting can be discounted as absence). Any periods of compulsory military service are also allowed.

    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.

Student status letter

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 researchstudentoffice@sussex.ac.uk.

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

Tuition fees and student loans

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.

Find out more about student finance eligibility on the UKCISA website.

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.

Reciprocal EU/EEA healthcare arrangements after the 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.

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.

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.

Non-EEA nationals

There are no foreseeable changes to the arrangements for non-EEA nationals to visit, study, work or settle in the UK.

Contact us

We realise that the above information is complex and that individual circumstances will also have been further complicated by Covid-19 and remote study.

If you ever have any questions about applying for the EU settlement scheme, or your immigration status in the UK following Brexit, please get in touch.

The advisers in International Student Support are the only staff at the University of Sussex qualified to give immigration advice relating to study.