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 9 October 2019.

Leaving date

When we refer to the ’date the UK leaves the EU’, this is currently expected to be 31 October 2019.

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 about ‘home’ fee status eligibility on the UKCISA (UK Council for International Student Affairs) 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 about student finance eligibility on the UKCISA website.

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 that date, you and your family can apply to the EU Settlement Scheme. You will get ’settled’ or ’pre-settled’ status, depending on how long you have been living in the UK. It is advisable to apply as soon as possible. If the UK leaves the EU without a deal you will need to apply before 31 December 2020. (Note that Irish citizens and students with indefinite leave to remain in the UK do not need to apply.) If you intend to remain in the UK after this date, whether for work or study purposes, and have not secured status under the EU Settlement Scheme you will need to apply for another immigration status. See further information on the UK Government’s proposals.

Using the ID Document Check app on Android

If you would like to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme but do not have access to an Android device that can use the EU Exit: ID Document Check app, you can book an appointment with us to do this.

We have Android devices so you can start the application process.

Appointment are available between 10am and 4pm, Monday to Friday.

How to book an appointment

Email international.support@sussex.ac.uk to book a slot.

Tell us your:

  • name
  • student registration number (on your student ID card, beginning 21)
  • three preferred days and times.

Book onto a EU Settlement Scheme briefing session

Throughout October, the International Student Support team will be running weekly briefing sessions to guide and support Sussex students through the EU Settlement Scheme and how to apply. These will all take place in Pevensey, room 1A7. To book a place via Eventbrite, choose from one of the following dates:

  • 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.

  • 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 your application, you need to provide identity documents. You can do this using the EU Exit: ID Document Check app.

    Currently, this is only available on Android devices with NFC capability (the technology to make contactless payments). If you haven’t got access to an Android device you can book an appointment with our International Student Support team to use one.

    See the section above: "Using the ID Document Check app on Android".

    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. The application process has been designed to be easy and user-friendly.

    In a no deal, although the UK government has confirmed that EU, EEA and Swiss citizens who are lawfully residing in the UK before the Brexit date can continue to do so, ’free movement’ in its current form will end. After 31 October, those coming to the UK would be able to do so for visits or short trips, but would need to apply for European Temporary leave to Leave to Remain if they wish to stay after 31 December 2020. They would need then to make a further application under the new immigration system under consideration by the UK Government.

  • 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 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 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 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:

    • 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 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. 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. However, if 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.

  • 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.

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

The UK government has said that, for the time being, border crossing arrangements will remain unchanged. EU citizens will enter the UK as they do now, using their passport or national identity card, and will be able to use eGates if they are travelling on a biometric passport. During 2020, the use of EEA national identity cards for travel to the UK will be phased out.

EU citizens studying in the UK before Brexit

Anyone living and studying in the UK before 11pm on 31 October 2019 is eligible to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme. When re-entering the UK, you should not be subject to any scrutiny about your intentions. However, if you have not yet been granted settled or pre-settled status, it may be advisable to carry a University student status letter as evidence that you were residing in the UK before the date the UK left 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.

Find out more on the UK Government’s website.

EU citizens arriving to study in the UK after Brexit

The UK government has recently announced that, in a no deal Brexit, between 31 October 2019 and 31 December 2020, EU citizens will generally 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 will 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.

The current UK policy states : “Successful applicants to the Euro TLR scheme will be granted a period of 36 months’ leave to remain in the UK, running from the date the leave is granted. Successful applicants to the Euro TLR scheme will be granted a period of 36 months’ leave to remain in the UK, running from the date the leave is granted. This will provide EU citizens who move to the UK after exit and their employers with greater confidence and certainty during the transition period, and ensure that they have a secure legal status in the UK before the new immigration system is introduced from January 2021.

EU citizens may choose to use the evidence of this UK leave – in the form of a secure digital status – to establish their entitlements to work and rent property during the transitional period until 31 December 2020. During this period, they will also be able to evidence those rights using their passport or national identity card.”

Find out more information on the Government’s website.

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

The UK government has published informed 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

UK citizens

For the latest information on visiting Europe after Brexit, go to the Government’s website.

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?

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 mechanism by which non-EEA nationals can visit, study, work or settle in the UK.

Advice and guidance


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