The UK left the EU on 31 January 2020 under the terms of the Withdrawal Agreement, which was made between the UK and the EU (Separate agreements were made between the UK and Norway, Iceland, Lichtenstein, and Switzerland). These agreements became law in the UK under the European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Act 2020. This enactment included the current transitional period, which is expected to continue until 31 December 2020.
During this transitional period, EU, EEA, and Swiss nationals can travel to and from, live and study in the UK as they could before the UK left the EU.
Immigration for new arrivals - Do I need a visa?
There is currently no requirement for EU/EEA or Swiss nationals arriving in the UK by 31 December 2020 to apply for immigration permission to travel to and study in the UK. You will still be able to use a valid passport or EU national identity card to enter the UK.
Important to know: EU/EEA or Swiss students and eligible family members who are living in the UK by 31 December 2020 and wanting to stay beyond the end of the transitional period will either need to apply for the EU Settlement Scheme by the relevant deadline or apply under another relevant immigration category.
Arriving to the UK after 31 December 2020
Current information states that after the transitional period ends on 31 December 2020, EU citizens (who do not qualify under the EU Settlement Scheme or other routes protected by the Withdrawal Agreement) will need to apply and qualify for immigration permission on the same basis as non-EU citizens.
This means that EU/EEA/Swiss nationals arriving in the UK after 31 December 2020, (who do not qualify for the EU settlement scheme) will need to apply under the new student route to be eligible to study a course in the UK. The government outlined its intended plans for the new immigration system in a policy paper that was released in February 2020 and have produced a paper for EU nationals -The UK's points based immigration system: An Introduction for EU citizens.
Important to know:
- EU/EEA/Swiss nationals wanting to remain/arrive in the UK beyond 31 December will need to apply for immigration permission to do so.
- For further support contact Visa and International Student Advice
- EU/EEA/Swiss nationals who were resident in the UK before 31 December 2020 and whose temporary absence from the UK is within the UKVI’s definition of ‘continuous qualifying period’ and takes them beyond the end of the transitional period, may still be eligible for the EU Settlement Scheme.
Guidance for Students on an Interruption
If you are wanting to leave the UK during your interruption and not return until after the 31 December 2020:
Pre-settled status is valid for 5 years and allows you to study, live and work in the UK. 'Pre-settled' status will be lost after a continuous absence of more than two years from the UK. If you're hoping to be eligible to apply for settled status at a later date, you should ensure that any absences from the UK are “permitted absences”.
Permitted absences are up to a total of 6 months (including lots of short trips) within a 12-month period, and/or 1 continuous absence which is less than 12 months and for an important reason (e.g. study). Please contact the Visa & International Student Advice if you require further guidance.
Settled status is indefinite leave to remain. You'll only lose settled status if you are absent from the UK for more than 5 continuous years (4 continuous years for Swiss nationals)
If you have not applied under the EU Settlement Scheme:
If you are wanting to leave the UK during your interruption and not return until after 31 December 2020 and you have not yet applied for the EU Settlement Scheme, then we would advise that you do so as soon as possible.
Important to know: We would also advise that you contact Visa & International Student Advice for further guidance on absences from the UK and the EU Settlement Scheme.
Will I need a visa when I return to my studies?
However, if your absence does not meet the period and/or reason of permitted absences under the UKVI’s definition of ‘continuous qualifying period’ in Appendix EU of the immigration rules then you may need to apply for a visa to return to the UK to resume your studies, if you are arriving in the UK after 31 December 2020
- Please get in touch with the Visa & Immigration Student Advice if you need further support with this.
- We will continue to update this article as soon as we receive new information.