Page:EEA Students and Family Members - Brexit update

EEA Students and Family Members - Brexit update

Last modified: 22.3.19

We know that many EU students will be concerned about their rights in the UK following Brexit and it continues to be uncertain time. Under EU law you have a right to be in the UK to study and work and are not required to have proof of this entitlement.  This right will remain whilst the UK remains a member state of the EU which will be for at least until 11pm on 29 March 2019 or the date that the UK does actually leave the EU. As the UK has now asked for an extension to Article 50 this is likely to be later. If parliament votes to accept the Withdrawal Agreement , Article 50 will be extended to 22.5.19. If Parliament votes against the Withdrawal Agreement, there will be a short extension until 12th April 2019. It is still not certain that the UK will leave on that date. Brexit updates are available from the University at 

The UK government has sought to assure EU citizens currently in the UK that their rights will be protected. Under the terms of the proposed withdrawal agreement they have confirmed that EU citizens and their families will be able to apply for 'settled status' . If there is a deal there will be a  transistional period until December 2020. All EU citizens resident in the UK by the end of the transition period will be able to apply for settled or pre settled status. This also includes any relevant Non EU- family members as long as the relationship existed by 31.12.2020. EU citizens will have until June 2021 to register for pre settled or settled status. 

The government has also produced guidance on EU citizen rights in event of No Deal.  If there is no deal the all EU citizens who are resident in the UK before the UK leaves the EU will be able to apply for settled or pre settled status. Non EU direct family members will also be able to apply if the relationship existed at the time UK leaves. In the evnt of No Deal Eu citizens who wish to register for settled status will need to do so before 31.12.2020.

EU citizens should be able to travel freely in/out of UK after Brexit and before they have registered for settled status, you may however wish to carry evidence with you that you were already resident in UK prior to Brexit e.g student status certificate, bank statement. We do not think you will need this but it may help prove you are an EU citizen resident in UK before Brexit in case you are asked at the border. Some EU students have been asking about this and are concerned about travel around Brexit.

It has also been confirmed that an agreement has been reached with the EFTA states  and Switzerland. This also applies in the event of No deal, with similar arrangements in place as those for EU citizens.

EEA students can get advice about their personal immigration situation from an adviser at the Student Advice Centre. However, we do only have one Immigration adviser and so to ensure that all EU students and their families can get access to advice and information we will be running group information sessions and workshops to provide information,advice and support with applications for the EUSS scheme.  The Student Advice Centre will also be supporting family members of EU students.

The next EU Settlement Scheme briefing session will be held on Thursday 25th April 2019 from 1pm Gallery Room 3. Level 4, Students Union Building, book your place here

Here is a copy of the Presentation slides from the EU Settlement briefing session which was held on Friday February 15th 2019.

If you wish to register for settled status and make an EUSS application we are application and document checking sessions. Email to get details of next session. Further details of how to prepare for the application will be sent to you. Android devices compatible with the EUSS app will be made available at the workshop.

Please see below for main overview of settlement scheme, Q & A's and guide to making the application.

EU Settlement Pilot Scheme open from 21.1.2019

The Government have been piloting the new scheme in recent months and has just announced an extension of the pilot scheme and From 21 January 2019, it will be open to most students.

There is no need to rush to register and EU citizens will have until at least December 2020 to do so. If you do want to apply under the pilot scheme we suggest that you come along to one of the information sessions and /or use the resources referred to below to help you with the application.

You will be eligible to apply under it if you are either:

  • an EU national with a valid passport (not identity card), or
  • a non-EU citizen who has a residence card or permanent residence card issued on the basis of an application you made on or after 6 April 2015

The scheme will not be available under this stage of testing to the family members of British citizens who are currently in the UK under EU law provisions.

You will need evidence of your residence in the UK if you choose to apply under this third phase of testing.

If you have a National Insurance number, your work records will be automatically accessed as part of the application and will be used to calculate your length of residence. Other evidence of your stay in the UK can include letters from education and healthcare providers - see Home Office information about the EU settlement scheme for examples of evidence and full details of how the application process works. 

You will be granted settled status, or indefinite leave, if you have been in the UK for a period of five years (absences of up to six months in any 12-month period and of 12 months, or longer, in specific circumstances are permitted - see Home Office caseworker guidance for details). If you have been in the UK for under five years, or cannot prove that you have been resident for five years, you will be granted pre-settled status, or limited leave. Although the government has announced that there will be no fee for this application moving forward there is a feee if applying under the pilot scheme , which will be refunded at a later stage. After 29.3.19 you will not be required to pay the £65 fee or £32.50 for child applications)

See UKCISA blogs by Urszula and Marcel who applied recently under the first and second phases of the EU settlement scheme trials respectively. They explain why they applied, how the application process works, and give helpful hints and tips on what to expect and how to prepare for a successful application.

Seraphus Solicitors, linked to Free Movement, also has a very useful list of relevant documents including links to other organisations ('News and updates') and its own presentations on who is eligible under the scheme, how to apply and grounds for refusal ('Seraphus documents').

The following information is based on what we know so far about EU citizen rights post Brexit. You may also find the UKCISA information on this useful.

Overview of the 'settled status' scheme for EU nationals in UK after Brexit

The UK gave formal notification of its intention to withdraw from the European Union (by triggering Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union), on 29 March 2017. The process is likely to take a minimum of two years, and the UK remains a member of the European Union during this time.  Therefore, there is no change to the position of EEA nationals and their family members in the UK during this time which means students and their family members can continue to exercise their residency rights in the UK up until 29.3.2019 (or the date that UK leaves the EU if this changes).

The Home Office has continued to update their information to provide assurances and information for EEA nationals currently in the UK, and those wishing to come to the UK. 

Under the terms of the  Withdrawal Agreement, there is an agreement on citizens' rights during a transitional/ implementation period from 29 March 2019. This is a period of time (likely to continue until 31 December 2020) during which EU nationals and their family members can come to, or remain in, the UK on broadly the same basis as they can now. The UK has also confirmed in January 2019 that agreement has been reached with Norway, Iceland, Lichtenstein and Switzerland on the rights of non-EU EEA and Swiss nationals and their family members.

If a final deal is reached, those already in the UK before 29 March 2019 and those who come to the UK during the transitional/ implementation period will be able to apply for status in the UK under a scheme designed by the UK government. The status granted will be ‘settled’ status or ‘pre-settled’ status depending on the length of time in the UK.

If there is No Deal only those EU citizens resident in uk by 29.3.2019 will be eligible to apply.

The Home Office has published details of how it intends its EU settlement scheme to work, including draft Immigration Rules in Annex B.

The aim of the scheme, as stated in the foreword, is that "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". The introduction stresses the value placed on the contribution EU citizens and their family members have made to the UK  and that "We want those who have chosen to make their home in this country to stay here permanently".

The statement of intent provides details of the requirements, how the online application system will work, the forms of evidence which will be needed (in Annex A) and how status will be evidenced (digitally).

We have put together some FAQ's together please see below.

Some key points for students are:

  1. Comprehensive sickness insurance is not required for the purposes of the settled status scheme (unlike current EEA registartion); ordinary residence will remain the test for eligibility for free NHS treatment
  2. There is no need to register if you arrive after 29 March 2019, but if you arrive during the transistion period you can register and will have same rights as EU citizens resident before 30 March 2019 and so it would be worth registering in case you wish to stay in UK in the future.(Please note information below about EU citizens arriving after 29.3.19 if there is no deal)
  3. Evidence of residence includes letters from schools, colleges and universities, invoices for tuition fees and documentation issued by student finance bodies
  4. Permitted absences are the same as under EU law now, ie if you have not yet been continuously resident in the UK for 5 years, you should ensure that your absences do not exceed six months in total in any 12-month period, though you may be absent for one period of up to 12 months for an important reason such as study, vocational training, an overseas posting, serious illness, pregancy or childbirth, and absence for compulsory military service is not limited
  5. Holders of settled status may be absent from the UK for up to 5 years without losing this status.
  6. Holders of pre settled status may be absent for up to 2 years without losing this status.
  7. People who have already acquired the right of permanent residence in the UK will need to transfer evidence of this right to the new settled status scheme, but this application will be free of charge and holders may be absent from the UK for up to 5 years (not 2 as is currently the case) 
  8. The application should be straight forward and, in most cases, granted quickly unless you have a serious criminal conviction (seek legal advice now if you are worried about this) 
  9. Section 6 of the statement of intent deals with family members: EU citizen family members can apply in their own right on the basis of continuous residence in the UK, though additional evidence may be needed if they are relying on retained rights of residence; further details are now published in relation to Chen carers, Ibrahim and Teixeira children and their carers and relatives, and for Zambrano carers (Surinder Singh family members of British citizens are covered by the scheme)
  10. Irish citizens are not required to apply under this scheme but may do so, and their family members are covered by the scheme 

It was announced on 21.1.19 that there will not be any fee for applying. You may still be charged during the pilot phase but anyone who does pay should be automatically refunded.

The online application process is currently being piloted with full access by 30 March 2019.

To keep up to date with all the rapid changes in rights for EU nationals we recommend that you also you use the following sources:

Updates about the negotiations and the post Brexit position of EU nationals in the UK can be found at



EU citizens arriving in the UK after 29.3.19 in the event of a No Deal Brexit

On 28.1.2019 the Government published details of proposals for  EU (and Swiss) citizens entering the UK after 29.3.19 and in event of there being No Deal. See] Please note that the Bill is not yet law and is subject to amendment.

It states that between 29.3.19 and 31.12.2020 EU citizens will be able to enter the UK without visa and stay for up to 3 months.

If the EU citizen wishes to stay longer they must apply for temporary leave to remain before the expiry of 3 months or would risk staying unlawfully in the UK.

Temporary leave to remain can be granted for up to a maximum of 36 months. After this time if the EU citizen wished to stay longer, after 1.1.2021 they would have to apply under a different immigration route. Details of any future immigration policy which may apply to EU Citizens beyond that time are not yet specified.

EU family members will need to apply for a family permit before entering the UK in the event of No deal.

Further details of the scheme and how to apply are not yet available.


Your rights to be joined by family members including those from outside the EU will continue whilst the UK remains a member of the EU. (Family members will be able to join you under the proposed settled status scheme see EU Settlement scheme information )

You can bring your spouse/partner and children to the UK even if they are not themselves EEA nationals. This includes civil partners and unmarried partners.

If your family member is here in the UK they will need to apply for a residence card on an EEA(FM) or EEA(EFM) form available to download. There is a charge of £65 for this application. It can take up to 6 months for these applications to be processed in the UK.

If your non-EEA family member is outside the UK they will need to apply for a family permit before they travel to the UK.There is no fee for applying outside the UK.

If you are from Croatia your non-EEA family members cannot apply for a residence card until you have completed 12 months' continuous employment in the UK. Until that time, your family member can apply for a family member residence stamp to confirm their right of residence under European law.

Can my family members work in the UK?

If your spouse or partner is from a non accession EEA country they will be able to work without permission in the UK.

Accession national family members

If your family member is from one of the accession states they may need to apply for worker registration or authorisation.

Non EEA national family members (pre Brexit)

Last modified 29/10/18

If your family member is from outside the UK they will be allowed to work provided you are also allowed to work. However, they will need to apply for a residence card to confirm these rights to an employer (see above). If you are not married to each other then your non EEA partner will need to wait until the registration card has been processed. If you are married you should get an acknowledgement letter which confirms your right to work before the application has been processed.

What help can I get with my applications?

You can have a 1-1 with our International Student Adviser who will also be able to check any European applications for you before you send them to the Home Office or British Embassy abroad. You will need to have:

1. Proof of your living costs (3 months bank statements and sponsor letter if appropriate)

2. Certificate of student status for EEA national

3. European Health Insurance Card issued outside of UK (for proof of Comprehensive Sickness Insurance) plus letter confirming you are temporarily resident in the UK

Last modified 29/10/18

The current EEA residence certificate application process (for EEA students resident in UK before 29 March 2019)

You can download free ebook guides to making EU residence applications at

How to apply

There is currently a charge of £65 for these applications and it can take up to 6 months to process.  You do not need to use the specified application form provided by UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI), however, it easier in most cases to use it.

1. Download  the form EEA(QP.  We have prepared a guide to how to complete the paper form which you can download here. A new online form has been launched.

2. You need to provide 2 photos (get these done at  Max Photo

3. A certificate of student status from SSiD.

4. Proof of your comprehensive sickness insurance (a European Health Insurance Card issued in your home country).  If you do not have this you will be required to show you have additional private medical insurance which covers you for the duration of your studies in the UK.  It is not sufficient to show that you are entitled to use the National Health Service (NHS) for your proof of CSI under current UK government rules. For more information about what CSI is see here

5. Proof of your finances (see detailed guide).  There is no specified amount you must show.  However, you should be able to show that you have enough money to cover your rent and living costs.  The documents you can provide include bank statements, grant/loan letter, letter from parents, pay slips (if you are working).

What happens if I complete my studies?

If you complete your studies whilst the UK is still a member state of the EU and become a worker you will continue to have a right of residence in the UK.  You can apply for confirmation of this right using the EEA(QP) form.  You will need to provide evidence of your employment but will not have to show proof of comprehensive sickness insurance.

Can I apply for permanent residence in the UK as a student?

If you have been in the UK exercising Treaty rights as a qualified person (student, worker, job seeker, self-employed or self-sufficient person) for five years you may apply for confirmation of your rights to permanent residence.    If you want to apply for British citizenship you will  need proof of your permanent residence card to support your application.

If you are considering a permanent residence



Free Movement also provide free ebook guides to making EU applications see here

How to apply

There is currently a charge of £65 for these applications and it can take up to 6 months to process.  You do not need to use the specified application form EEA(PR) provided by UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI), however, if you choose to apply for example by just submitting a letter it will be important that you get advice on the preparation of your evidence. An online form has also recently been introduced. download it from here

1. Download the application EEA(PR) form. We have prepared a guide to how to complete the paper form which you can download here.

2. If you have been studying (and not working) in the UK you will need to show that have been covered by comprehensive sickness insurance (CSI) for the duration of your studies.  You will be required to provide a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) issued from your home country.

3. If you have been working during your studies you may be able to apply as a worker rather than as a student depending on the number of hours of work.  Generally speaking if you have only being doing casual work for a small number of hours you will not be considered to be a worker.  You should seek further advice if this applies to you.

1. Who can apply for settled status?

You can apply for settled status if you are an EU citizen and have lived in the UK for a continuous period of 5 years.

Where you do not want to wait for the new scheme, you can apply for permanent residence now only if you meet the criteria. However, you will have to apply again for settlement when the applications open. If you wish to do this, please contact the Student Advice Centre.

2. I haven’t lived in the EU for a continuous period of 5 years. Can I still apply for settled status?

You can apply for pre-settled status if you have arrived in the UK on or before 31st December 2020.

Once you have lived in the UK continuously for 5 years

3. What does “pre-settled status” mean?

You will be granted 5 years limited leave to remain during which your rights to healthcare, work arrangements and access to benefits will continue.

You will be eligible to apply for settled status (indefinite leave to remain) as soon as you have completed 5 years continuous residence in the UK.

4. How much will it cost to apply for settled status

It was annunced onThere is no fee for the application but if you apply during pilot phase you may still have to pay £65 or £32.50 for child. This should be refunded.

5. I already have a valid permanent residence document. Do I still have to apply?

You will still have to apply but the process will be more straightforward. Those with PR will not be charged even in pilot phase.

6. Once I have been granted pre-settled status, how much will it cost to apply for settled status?

All application for pre or settled status will now be free following announcement on 21.1.2019.

7. What does “continuously” mean? What if I have travelled outside the UK during 5 years?

Living in the UK for a continuous period of 5 years means you have not been absent from the UK for more than 6 months in any 12 month period. There is no restriction on the number of absences.

8. Are there any exceptions if I left the UK for a single period of more than 6 months?

You will still be eligible for the scheme if you do not leave for more than 12 months and it is for an important reason such as childbirth, pregnancy, serious illness, study, vocational training or overseas posting.

Any period of absence on compulsory military service is permitted.

9. What rights will I have by obtaining settled status?

You will be able to continue to live and work in the UK permanently.

Your rights to healthcare, work arrangements and access to benefits will continue.

After holding settled status for 12 months, you will be eligible to apply for British citizenship.

10. I will have lived in the UK for 5 continuous years by 31st December 2020. When is the deadline for me applying for settled status?

You will have to apply for settled status by *30th June 2021.*

11. I have already lived in the UK for 5 continuous years. When will I be able to apply for settled status?

The scheme will be fully open by 30th March 2019 but the Pilot Scheme has been extended from 21.1.19 and is open to most EU citizens including students.

12. I am an Irish citizen. Do I have to apply for settled status?

You will not be required to apply for status under the scheme, but you may do so if you wish.

Irish citizens enjoy a right of residence in the UK under the common travel area regulations. This is not reliant on the UK’s membership of the EU.

Your eligible family members (who are not Irish citizens) will be able to apply for settled status without the Irish citizen doing so.

13. Will I have to provide my passport or national identity card?

Where you do not want to send your physical passport or identity card by post, you can use an app which will confirm the relevant details remotely using a mobile phone or tablet.

14. Will criminal convictions affect my application for settled status?

Where the Home Office considers your criminal conviction as “serious” your application may be refused.

You must self-declare your criminal convictions in your application (without having to submit evidence).

Minor offences such as parking fines will not be grounds for refusal.

Seek further advice if you are concerned about this.

15. How will I be able to prove my continuous residency?

The Home Office will verify dates using data held by the HM Revenue and Customs and The Department for Work and Pensions.

Where there is no government data you will be able to upload additional evidence.

A draft list of acceptable documentary evidence can be found in Annex A of the UKVI document.

16. Can I apply outside the UK?

It is currently assumed that applications will need to be made inside the UK. This may be subject to change.

17. Will the application be online or on paper?

It will be an online application form. Only in particular circumstances can a paper application form be requested and details are not yet available.

18. Will I have to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge?

No, you will not have to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge.

19. Will I have to show that I have held comprehensive sickness insurance?

You will not have to show that you have held comprehensive sickness insurance during your qualifying period.

However, where you want to apply for permanent residence before this is replaced with the Settlement Scheme, you will have to show that you have held CSI or an EHIC card for the whole 5 years of your qualifying period.

20. What happens if my application is refused?

Where your application is refused, you will have the right to request an administrative review.

Where you are refused under the scheme before 31st December 2020, you can make a fresh application before 30th June 2021.

A right of appeal may be established if you apply under the scheme after *30th March 2019*, however this is yet to be approved by parliament.

21. What document will I receive to prove my status?

There will be digital means of evidencing your status.

No physical document will be issued to EU citizens.

Non EU citizens will be issued with a biometric residence document.

22. Will I have to enrol my biometrics?

You will not have to enrol your fingerprints.

You will be required to upload a passport style photograph of yourself as part of the digital application process. This must be a different photograph than the one in your passport.

23. Will the University help me with my EU settlement application?

Yes, we will offer briefing sessions, group workshops and hopefully support with making applications. Further details are to follow. Next Briefing session is February 15th 2019 in the Student Union Auditorium from 12pm please register  here

24.What other useful resources are there to help me with the application?

You can find useful updates and a guide to making an application for EU settlement on Free Movement. See

Look out for information about Workshops for help with making applications. 

Guide to making an application under the EU Settlement Scheme.

If you are using your own Android device, please complete these steps before starting the application process:

  1. Enable NFC (Near Field Communication) on your phone
    1. Go to settings
    2. Type in “nfc” into the search field
    3. Make sure it is activated
  2. Download the UKVI app
    1. Go to Google Play Store
    2. Type EU Exit ID Document Check into the search box
    3. Click and download to your phone


  1. Verify your identity

Scan your passport

Scan the photo page of your passport using the camera on your Android device. The full page must be inside the frame, including the two lines of numbers at the bottom of the page. Make sure your phone camera is focused on the text on the page.

The app will prompt you to adjust your Android device to make sure you capture your document effectively. These prompts will appear in a text box at the top of your screen.

Try taking the photo of your document at arm's length if you are having problems

Check your document’s information

Remove any cases or covers from your document and Android device and make sure the volume is turned up.

Click the ‘check now’ button in the app when you are ready to start checking your document.

Place the Android device on top of your document when the app tells you to ‘check your document’s information’. Move the device around the document until the app recognises it.

A progress bar will let you know when the check begins and when it is complete. Do not move the Android device until the check is complete.

If the app doesn’t recognise your document, you should slowly move your device around the document until the app recognises it. You’ll hear a beep if your document has been recognised and the volume on your device is turned up.

If you’re using a passport and you continue to have problems, place the phone on the reverse cover or the photo page.

If the app cannot read the chip in your passport or UK residence card

If the app is not able to read the chip in your document, we’ll ask you to send your passport to us for manual checking of your identity and nationality.

Details of how you can do this are provided in the application. We’ll ensure that your document is returned to you without delay.

Scan your face

The screen will flash as it scans your face. You should hold your device’s camera in front of your face until the scanning is complete.

You can skip this step and provide different evidence to prove your identity if flashing light may cause you difficulties. You can do this by going to the ‘Find out more’ menu and selecting ‘Skip this step’.

Take a photo of yourself

You should:

  • look straight into the camera
  • have a neutral expression – do not smile or frown
  • remove tinted glasses, for example sunglasses

Your photo should:

  • be well-lit in neutral lighting
  • have no other faces in the background
  1. Completing your application

After using the app to verify your identity, you can complete the rest of the application either on that device or on any smartphone, laptop or computer. We have already set up the relevant webpage to continue your application on the laptop. Or type in the following web address:

    1. Type in your passport number and answer the questions about yourself. UKVI will use your answers to confirm how long you have been resident. In most cases this means you will not have to provide any evidence.
    2. Answer questions about yourself. We will use your answers to confirm how long you have been resident. In most cases, this means you will not have to provide any evidence. You can give your National Insurance number to allow an automated check of your residence based on tax and certain benefit records.
    3. Check your result. We will tell you what status you will be considered for based on your answers. You can accept this result if you agree, or add evidence of your residence if you disagree. If this check is successful, you’ll not need to provide any documents as proof of residence. You’ll only need to provide documents if there is not enough data to confirm you’ve been here for 5 years in a row.
    4. The Home Office will tell you immediately after you apply if you need to provide any documents. You’ll be able to submit photos or scans of your documents through the online application form.
    5. Pay the £65 fee using your credit or debit card. You will receive a refund once the scheme is fully open after 29th March 2019.
    6. You will receive an email confirming the submission of your application.


  1. What happens next?


  1. You will receive an email from UKVI confirming the submission of your application.
  2. Once your application has been decided (UKVI haven’t published any processing times but it can take from a few hours to several weeks to receive a decision), you will receive an email from UKVI. This will have a letter attached which confirms your status.
  3. You can then access your status online. Go to, enter the passport number you used to apply and you will be able to see your status. You can get a link which you can share with other institutions, e.g. employers, education establishments who need evidence of your status although this shouldn’t be necessary until the UK has formally left the EU.