On 29 March 2017, the Government triggered Article 50, which began the formal process for the UK to leave the EU on 29 March 2019.

In December 2017, the UK reached an agreement with the European Commission on citizens’ rights to secure the status of UK nationals living in other member states and EU citizens living in the UK after it exits the EU.

The UK remains a full member until it exits the EU, and all rights and obligations of membership remain in place until then.

European Economic Area (EEA) and Swiss students

You are an EEA national if you are a citizen or national of one of the following countries:

  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Bulgaria
  • Croatia
  • Republic of Cyprus
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Estonia
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Hungary
  • Iceland
  • Ireland
  • Italy
  • Latvia
  • Liechtenstein
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Malta
  • Netherlands
  • Norway
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Romania
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • United Kingdom

If you have permanent residence in any of these countries, but not citizenship you are not an EEA national.

Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway are EEA member states, but they are not members of the European Union (EU).

Switzerland is not a member of the EU or the EEA. However, since 1 June 2002, Swiss nationals have had rights similar to those of nationals of EEA countries. The information in this area of the website applies to both EEA and Swiss nationals.

Find full details from UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) and UKCISA.

Current status of UK nationals in the EU

Until the UK leaves the EU, the UK remains a full member of the EU and UK nationals retain their legal status as EU citizens. There will be no change to the rights and status of UK nationals living in the EU while the UK remains in the EU. All UK nationals lawfully residing in another EU Member State on 31 December 2020 will be covered by the citizens’ rights agreement.

The UK and EU Commission have so far agreed that UK nationals and their family members covered by the agreement will continue to have the same access as they currently do to healthcare, pensions and other benefits.

UK nationals and their family members covered by the agreement will also be able to leave their Member State of residence for up to five years without losing their right to return.

EU citizens currently in the UK

If you are an EU student concerned about possible changes to residency rules, read the information and advice here.

Progress in the negotiations – citizens’ rights agreement

On 19 March 2018, an agreement with the Commission on the terms of a time-limited implementation period that will start on 30 March 2019 and last until 31 December 2020 was reached.

The agreement means that if you are an EU citizen living in the UK before the UK leaves the EU on 29 March 2019, you will be able to continue to live and work in the UK. Your rights to healthcare, work arrangements, and access to benefits will continue.

Your existing close family members will be able to join you in future, in the same way that they can now. You can read more here on
the Status of EU citizens in the UK: what you need to know.

If you are an EU citizen in the UK, we strongly encourage you to sign-up for email updates from the Government.

Agreement on rights for EU citizens and their families

The agreement the UK has reached for EU citizens and their families is:

  • people who, by 29 March 2019, have been continuously and lawfully living here for five years will be able to apply to stay indefinitely by getting ‘settled status’. This means they will be free to live here, have access to public funds and services, and go on to apply for British citizenship.

  • people who arrive by 29 March 2019, but won’t have been living here lawfully for five years when the UK leaves the EU, will be able to apply to stay until they have reached the five-year threshold. They can then also apply for settled status.

  • family members who are living with, or join, EU citizens in the UK by 29 March 2019 will also be able to apply for settled status, usually after five years in the UK.

  • close family members (spouses, civil and unmarried partners, dependent children and grandchildren, and dependent parents and grandparents) will be able to join EU citizens after exit, where the relationship existed on 29 March 2019.

EU citizens with settled status or temporary permission to stay will have the same access as they currently do to healthcare, pensions and other benefits in the UK.

See the Brexit Flowchart for more detailed information.

Further information is available in the joint report about the agreement reached between the UK and the European Union on citizens’ rights.

The UK and European Commission will continue to negotiate on the detail of these agreements, to be included in the overall Withdrawal Agreement between the UK and the EU.

Comprehensive sickness insurance (CSI)

Most students are able to obtain a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) from their country of residence prior to coming to the UK. This card allows EEA nationals to get the same medical treatment, which is free to residents of the country they are visiting, without being charged.

The UK government has produced a leaflet about EHIC and access to medical treatment while in the UK.

You also need to have CSI in order to have an EU citizen’s right of residence as a student. The European health insurance card (EHIC) obtained from your country of residence is acceptable evidence of CSI, as long as you intend that your stay will be temporary. Advice on obtaining the EHIC is available from Student Services.

If you plan to make a Permanent Residence application as an EU citizen, or you are unable to get an EHIC from your country of residence, you will need to obtain separate insurance. Full details are available from UKCISA.

Working in the UK

All EEA and Swiss national students can work in the UK. You can work during or after studies. However, if you are a national of Croatia you may be subject to the 'Worker Authorisation Scheme' and will need to obtain the appropriate registration certificate before you can start work unless you are exempt.

The information on this page is based on the current situation for EU students. Updated information will appear here when it is announced by the UK government.

If you are an EU student and have any concerns about your current status and right of residency, feel free to attend our daily drop-in advice sessions and speak to a Student Immigration Adviser.

You can also contact us through SAMIS online Student Service Helpdesk (University login details required).