Last updated 4 February 2020
The UK has now left the EU and there is now a transition period until 31 December 2020 while the UK and EU negotiate additional arrangements.
The current rules on trade, travel, and business for the UK and EU will continue to apply during the transition period, which means that, during this period of time, EU citizens and their family members can come to or remain in the UK on the same basis as they can now.
The UK has separately negotiated with Norway, Iceland, Lichtenstein and Switzerland to reach a similar agreement on the rights of non-EU EEA and Swiss nationals and their family members who also benefit from the implementation period.
Getting ready for new rules in 2021
Use the Home Office transition checker to find out what you will need to do to get ready for the new Immigration Rules in 2021. It should only take a few minutes to complete.
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
Travel between the EU and the UK will remain the same until 31 December 2020. You will not need to apply for a visa to travel or work in the EU during this time.
However, 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
- be more vigilant when choosing a travel insurance policy as it is likely that the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), which currently allows any EU citizen to access state medical care when they are travelling in another EU country, could cease after the transition period for UK citizens going to the EU and for EU citizens in the UK.
Current status of UK nationals 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.
Current status of EU nationals coming to the UK
The Government guidance pages provide information on what EU and EEA nationals need to do to visit the UK from 1 February 2020. During the implementation period, what you need to enter the UK will stay the same as before the exit date.
A new immigration system is expected to be operating from 1 January 2021. Anyone intending to come to the UK from January 2021 will need to apply under the relevant category of the Immigration Rules in place at that time. We will update our pages as new information is released.
EU citizens currently in the UK
EU citizens living in the UK, 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. Existing close family members living overseas will be able to join them here in future. In order to do so, EU citizens will need to apply for settled or pre-settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme.
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.
If you are an EU citizen in the UK, we also strongly encourage you to sign-up for email updates from the Government.
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 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 will still be able to access healthcare through EHIC for visits that begin after 1 January 2021 if you’re either:
a UK student studying in in the EU before the end of 2020
an EU national living in the UK before the end of 2020
The UK government has produced a leaflet about EHIC and access to medical treatment while in the UK.
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 Services Helpdesk (University login details required).