Last updated 12 January 2021.
The UK has now left the EU and agreements have been reached under International Treaty between the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the European Union.
Brexit: new rules are here
New rules are now in place and we strongly recommend that you familiarise yourself with them if you are an EU (except Irish), EEA or Swiss national.
Use the Brexit checker to find out how the new rules may affect you and your family members.
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:
- Republic of Cyprus
- Czech Republic
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.
Citizens of Ireland
If you are an Irish national, the UK's exit from the EU does not change your status as you are automatically deemed to hold settled status in the UK. However, you can continue to apply for British citizenship if you meet the requirements. In particular, you must not have been absent from the UK for more than 450 days in the five year period before you apply, or 90 days in the year immediately before the application.
Travel advice around the UK's exit from the EU
Now that the UK has left the EU, travellers who are travelling between the EU and the UK are advised to:
- check with the embassy of the country where they plan to visit to make sure they are aware of any extra documents that might be needed
- check their passports for validity (and process any renewals online via the HM Passport Office if necessary)
- allow more time within itineraries
- familiarise themselves with relevant travel insurance policies
Current status of UK nationals in the EU
All UK citizens who were legally resident in an EU country before 1 January 2021 have their rights protected by the Withdrawal Agreement, but need to apply for residence status in the country they are residing in by 30 June 2021.
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.
Studying in the EU
As a UK national, if you were living in an EU country before 1 January 2021 you have the same rights to access education as nationals of that country. You also retain home fee status (the fee rate that students who live in that country are charged). If you do not have permanent residence, you may not be entitled to maintenance grants.
If you were not already living in that EU country before 1 January 2021, make sure you meet all visa requirements for your destination or you may not be allowed to stay.
EU nationals coming to the UK from 1 January 2021
The Government guidance pages provide information on what EU and EEA nationals need to do to visit the UK from 1 January 2021.
Anyone intending to come to the UK from 1 January 2021 needs to apply under the relevant category of the Immigration Rules. For students coming for courses longer than 6 months, this means that they will be coming on the Student visa. For courses of up to 6 months, students are able to come on the Standard Visitor visa.
EU nationals residing in the UK by 31 December 2020
EU citizens living in the UK by 31 December 2020, along with their family members, are able to stay and continue their lives with the same access to work, study, benefits and public services that they enjoy now, as long as they apply for settled or pre-settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme by 30 June 2021.
Should you wish to apply for the Settlement Scheme, the Student Immigration Service is available to support you to submit your application for settled or pre-settled status. Please note: you are only eligible to apply for the Settlement Scheme if you were residing in the UK by 31 December 2020.
If you are an EU citizen in the UK, we also strongly encourage you to sign-up for email updates from the Government.
Travelling to the EU
The European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) and UK Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) let you get state healthcare in Europe at a reduced cost or sometimes for free.
Travellers applying for a (new) European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) will now get the new UK Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) instead. They are both valid if travelling to an EU country.
Some people can apply for a new UK EHIC that they can continue to use from 1 January 2021 in the EU, Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Switzerland. People who can apply for the new card include:
- UK students studying in the EU
- some British State Pensioners who live in the EU and their families
- EU nationals (including students) in the UK
Other travellers will need travel insurance with healthcare cover if they're travelling from 1 January 2021 to Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein.
The EHIC covers treatment that is medically necessary until the card holder returns home. This includes treatments for pre-existing medical conditions. The card is not an alternative to travel insurance, so it is important to have make sure you also have a valid private travel insurance policy before you travel.
You can also use a UK passport to get medically necessary healthcare in Norway (for example emergency treatment, or to treat a pre-existing condition).
The UK government has produced a visitor and student leaflet about EHIC and access to medical treatment while in the UK.
EU nationals in the UK
Students who have secured pre-settled or settled status are able to benefit from UK healthcare and the NHS.
Students who have not secured pre-settled or settled status and come to the UK on a Student visa are able to benefit from UK Healthcare as part of the Immigration Health Surcharge they pay for when applying for their visa.
Working in the UK
All EEA and Swiss national students who have secured pre-settled or settled status can work in the UK. Students on a Student visa can also work during their studies, subject to the working conditions attached to their immigration permission.
If you are an EU student and have any concerns about your current status and right of residency, feel free to attend our advice sessions and speak to a Student Immigration Adviser.
You can also contact us through SAMIS online Student Services Helpdesk (University login details required).