Last updated 15 April 2019

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. This date has since been extended until 31 October 2019, with the option of leaving sooner if the government can agree a deal in Parliament.

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.

Citizens of Ireland

If you are an Irish national, Brexit will not change your status as Irish people are automatically deemed to hold settled status in the UK, so you are not required to do anything in preparation for Brexit. 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 Brexit

If the UK leaves the EU without a deal, the rules will change.

Travellers who are going to the EU from the UK in the next couple of weeks are advised to:

  • check with the embassy of the country where they plan to visit to make sure they are aware of what type of visa, if any, may 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 31 October 2019 for UK citizens going to the EU and for EU citizens in the UK.

Further information is available on the University of Bath travel blog

Current status of EU nationals coming to the UK after Brexit

The Government guidance pages provide information on what EU and EEA nationals will need to do to visit the UK after the UK leaves the EU, including whether they will need to apply for a visa.

If a final agreement is reached

EU, non-EU EEA and Swiss citizens and their eligible family members already in the UK on or before 31 October 2019 and those who come to the UK during the transitional/ implementation period (from 31 October 2019 until 31 December 2020) can apply for immigration permission in the UK under a scheme designed by the UK government known as the EU Settlement Scheme. They will need to do this if they wish to remain in the UK after the end of the transitional / implementation period , or otherwise apply under another category of the Immigration Rules.

If no final agreement between the UK and the EU is reached

  • The settlement scheme will still operate in the same way for EU citizens and their eligible family members who are resident in the UK before 11 pm on 31 October 2019 (with certain permissions for temporary absence) with an application deadline of 31 December 2020.

The UK government has reached separate agreements with the EFTA EEA countries and Switzerland protecting non-EU EEA citizens and their eligible family members and Swiss citizens and their family members who are resident in the UK by 31 October 2019. They will be eligible to apply under the settlement scheme, but the deadlines within which to apply vary according to the two agreements.

  • EEA citizens and Swiss citizens coming to the UK from 31 October 2019 up until 31 December 2020 will be permitted entry into the UK for up to three months (at no cost). Study and work will be permitted during this period.

If they wish to stay in the UK beyond this three month period they will be required to make an online application for 'European Temporary Leave to Remain'. If this application is successful, they will get immigration permission ('limited leave') for a period of three years. This leave cannot be extended, will not lead to indefinite leave to remain (ILR) or lead to status under the EU settlement scheme.

Those wishing to stay in the UK after this three-year period will be required to make an application under the immigration system in place at that time. Non- EEA family members will require a family permit to enter the UK.

  • 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.

Prospective EEA students concerned about the duration of study leave granted in a no deal scenario may choose to apply for a Tier 4 visa instead.

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.

UK nationals travelling to EU after 31 October 2019

If the UK leaves with a deal, travel to the EU will remain the same as now until at least 31 December 2020. You will not need to apply for a visa to travel or work in the EU during this time.

If the UK leaves the EU without a deal after 31 October 2019, the rules for travel to most countries in Europe will change. In the case of a 'No Deal Brexit', the following new rules will apply:

  • UK nationals should have at least 6 months left on their passport from their date of arrival. This applies to adult and child passports

  • if their passport was renewed before it expired, up to 9 extra months may have been added to their new passport’s expiry date. Any extra months on their passport over 10 years may not count towards the 6 months that should be remaining for travel to most countries in Europe.

The new rules will apply to passports issued by the UK, Gibraltar, Guernsey, the Isle of Man and Jersey.

The new rules do not apply when travelling to Ireland.

The European Commission has proposed that in a no deal situation, British citizens would not need a visa for short stays in the Schengen area or elsewhere in the EU. They would be able to stay for up to 90 days in any 180-day period. Visits to the Schengen area within the previous 180 days before their date of travel will count against the 90-day limit.

If they are intending to stay in the Schengen area for longer than 90 days, or their stay would take them over the 90 days in the 180-day limit, they may need to get a visa before travelling.

EU citizens currently in the UK

On 21 June 2018, a Statement of Intent on the EU Settlement Scheme was published by the Home Office.

This Statement highlights the agreement reached with the EU guaranteeing the rights of EU citizens living in the UK and of UK nationals living in the EU.

EU citizens living in the UK, along with their family members, will be 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.

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

EU settlement scheme

To obtain settled status you will need to have lived continuously in the UK for five years. Students are also eligible. If you have less than five years’ continuous residence you will be eligible pre-settled status and be able to apply for settled status once you reach the five-year point.

The same has been agreed for British citizens living in Europe.

Under the settlement scheme:

  • EU citizens and their family members who have been continuously resident in the UK for five years by 31 December 2020 will be eligible for ‘settled status’, enabling them to stay indefinitely - this covers the implementation period running from 31 October 2019 (day after the UK leaves the EU) until 31 December 2020

  • EU citizens and their family members who arrive by 31 December 2020, but will not yet have been continuously resident here for five years, will be eligible for ‘pre-settled status’, enabling them to stay until they have reached the five-year threshold. They can then apply for settled status

  • EU citizens arriving during the transition period, between 31 October 2019 and 31 December 2020, will need to register to stay here for more than three months

  • EU citizens on temporary settled status can spend up to six months of each year out of the UK, and, in exceptional circumstances (e.g. for healthcare, training or work), one period of up to 12 months of continuous time outside the UK

  • EU citizens with permanent settled status can spend up to five years of continuous time out of the UK without losing their settled status

  • EU citizens and their family members with settled status or pre-settled status will have the same access as they currently do to healthcare, pensions and other benefits in the UK

  • Close family members living overseas will still be able to join an EU citizen resident here after the end of the implementation period, where the relationship existed on or before 31 December 2020 and continues to exist when the person wishes to come to the UK. Future children are also protected

  • EU citizens granted status under the scheme will be able to travel to and from the UK using a valid passport or (at least until 31 December 2025) a valid national identity card

Application for Settled Status

The EU Settlement Scheme opened on 30 March 2019, and you will have until 30 June 2021 to apply, in line with the draft Withdrawal Agreement. You and your family members are not be required to apply immediately; there will be no change to your current rights until the end of the implementation period on 31 December 2020, and the deadline for applications to the scheme by those resident here by the end of 2020 is 30 June 2021.

It is delivered through a streamlined, digital application process.

  • Applications are be online, with documents (where required) and proof of ID provided by post or in person, or via an online app (please note the app does not currently work with Apple devices). The Government has released full guidance and comprehensive step-by-step information on how to apply, including where to source your nearest location offering ID document scanning and how to get Assisted Digital support to use the EU Settlement Scheme online

  • All applications are free of charge. If you have already been granted status under one of the private testing phases, you will be able to get any fee you have paid reimbursed. Details on how this will happen will be published later - we do not yet know if you will be automatically repaid or whether you will have to apply for a refund

  • If you have already obtained a valid permanent residence or indefinite leave to remain document, you can apply for settled status in a few easy steps

  • Applications are automatically linked to the past seven years of HMRC / DWP data, so any work you have paid tax on, or benefits you have claimed in this period, will automatically prove eligibility

  • If you do not have a HMRC / DWP record, you can use further evidence (e.g. bank statements, P60, tuition fee invoice, SLC letter, tenancy agreement, council tax bill, payslip, utility bill)

Submitting your EU settlement application

The Student Immigration Service is available to support you to submit your application for settled or pre-settled status under the EU settlement application.

You need to prepare any documents you need for the application and then book an appointment by going to the Student Services Centre at the 4 West Roper Student Services Centre, or by calling +44 (0)1225 383838. Please note, no immigration advice will be given over the phone.

Healthcare for EU citizens visiting the UK in the case of 'no deal' scenario

The UK government (the Department of Health and Social Care) has published guidance pages for EU, EEA and Swiss citizens visiting the UK about accessing healthcare in the UK in the event of a ‘no deal’ situation.

Under new agreements, if you are an EU, EEA or Swiss national living lawfully in the UK on exit day you will be able to access the NHS as you do now.

If you are an EU, EEA or Swiss national visiting the UK after is has left the EU your healthcare cover may change and you are advised to visit NHS.UK for information on accessing healthcare in the UK.

Healthcare for EU citizens living in the UK in the case of 'No Deal' scenario

The UK government (the Department of Health and Social Care) has published guidance pages for EU, non-EU EEA and Swiss citizens living in the UK about accessing healthcare in the UK in the event of a ‘no deal’ situation.

The government has confirmed that if there is no deal, it will protect the rights of citizens from EU member states, who are living lawfully in the UK on exit day, and this includes their entitlements to NHS cover.

Under this agreements, if you are an EU, EEA or Swiss national living lawfully in the UK on exit day, you will be able to use the NHS as you do now.

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.

If you are applying under the EU Settlement Scheme you will not be required to show that you meet all the requirements of current free movement rules, such as any requirement to have held comprehensive sickness insurance or generally to detail the exercise of specific rights (e.g. the right to work) under EU law. The UK has decided, as a matter of domestic policy, that the main requirement for eligibility under the settlement scheme will be continuous residence in the UK.

Applicants under the scheme are not required to pay the Immigration Health Charge.

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.

Getting advice

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).