skip to content

International Students

 

EEA and Swiss citizens, and their family members, resident in the UK prior to 1 January 2021 are eligible to apply for the EU Settlement Scheme to protect their longer-term residency status. The application deadline is 30 June but it is advisable to apply as soon as possible.

What is the EU Settlement Scheme?

The scheme will enable EEA and Swiss nationals to continue living in the UK longer-term with the same access to work, study, benefits and public services.

The EU Settlement Scheme will grant you either settled or pre-settled status:

Settled status

If you have lived in the UK for a continuous 5 year period you can apply for indefinite leave to remain, referred to as settled status. This status enables you to continue living in the UK permanently. To be eligible to apply for settled status you must have been in the UK for at least 6 months in any 12 month period over 5 continuous years. There is an exception permitting one period of absence of up to 12 months in certain circumstances. Read the section on ‘Absences from the UK’.

Pre-settled status

You can apply for limited leave to remain on the basis of residing in the UK prior to 1 January 2021. This is referred to as pre-settled status and is granted for a period of 5 years.

Once you have pre-settled status, you can apply for settled status once you have met the 5 year continuous residence period. You will need to consider the eligibility requirements in relation to absences from the UK (see section on Absences from the UK).

You will not be asked to choose which status you are applying for in the application. Which status you get depends on how long you have been living in the UK when you apply.

Irish citizens are not required to apply under the scheme in order to remain in the UK. 

Application Process

It is a free online application and the Home Office's aim is to make the process ​simple and straightforward. The deadline to apply is 30 June 2021 but to be eligible under the scheme you must have been resident in the UK prior to 1 January 2021. It is advisable to apply as soon as possible.

Decide how you will prove your identify

There are three options to do this: 

  • use the 'EU Exit: ID Document Check' app which scans the biometric chip in your passport or national identity card and can be used to take your photo. You will need either an Android phone or an iPhone 7 or above to complete this step. Once you have used the app to check your document and take the photo, you can complete the application online on the phone or using a computer.
  • send your passport or national identity card to the Home Office by post. Using this option, you will first need to complete the online application. You will upload your photo as part of this. At the end of the application you will be provided with an address to send your document.
  • ​visit one of the locations to have your document scanned. You will need an appointment and may have to pay a fee. The easiest location to travel to is London. Some locations may have temporarily suspended this service owing to the coronavirus outbreak. 

Prove your residency in the UK

You will be able to upload this evidence as part of the online application. Students can use a student status letter as evidence of current residency in the UK in order to apply for pre-settled status. If you are proving 5 years’ continuous residency in the UK to apply for settled status you can use a dated and signed letter from the institution confirming registration, attendance and, if applicable, completion on a course of study with the relevant dates. If you have a National Insurance number and worked in the UK, the online form will undertake an automated check of UK tax records to establish residency for that period of time. Information on other acceptable evidence of residency is provided by the Home Office.

When assessing an application, the Home Office will be looking to grant the status. If any information is missing, you should be contacted and given the opportunity to provide it.​ ​

What you will receive

When you have been granted the status, you will not be issued a physical document unless you are a non-EEA family member and you do not already have a BRC. You will be emailed a link to an online service for the status to be verified online. Your status will be attached to the passport you use in your application so if you get a new passport, you will need update your details online. You can also update your mobile phone number, email address, name or change the ID document attached to your status, if these change.

Absences from the UK

Pre-settled status

You may be eligible to apply for pre-settled status if you were living in the UK on or before 31 December 2020 but you were not here on that date. You can apply on the basis of being ‘continuously resident’. This means you have been overseas for less than 6 months, or more than 6 months but less than 12 months for an ‘important reason’. The Home Office has confirmed that studying outside the UK due to COVID-19 can be considered as an ‘important reason’. Other examples include serious illness or pregnancy.

You can make an application for pre-settled from overseas if your absence does not exceed 6 months, or 12 months for an ‘important reason’. 

Settled Status

If you are granted pre-settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme and intend to apply for settled status in the future, you will need to consider the eligibility requirements in relation to absences from the UK.

Pre-settled status is granted for 5 years. You will be able to apply for settled status once you have completed a qualifying period of 5 years’ residence in the UK. You will need to do this before your pre-settled status expires. You can spend up to 2 years outside the UK without losing pre-settled status but you will need to maintain continuous residence to qualify for settled status.

This means to be eligible for settled status you will need to have been resident in the UK for 5 continuous years and not been absent from the UK for more than 6 months (in a single period or more than one) in any 12 month period. There is an exception permitting a single period of absence of more than 6 months but not exceeding 12 months for an ‘important reason’ and stated examples include overseas study or serious illness but the list is not exhaustive.

In December 2020, the Home Office issued updated guidance relating to absences from the UK owing to COVID-19. This includes the following:

If you are a student who was studying in the UK and are studying outside the UK because of coronavirus, that absence will not cause you to break your continuous qualifying period, where it is for a single period of more than 6 months but not more than 12 months, during your 5-year continuous qualifying period.

If this applies to your circumstances, you should note that only a single absence of more than 6 months but less than 12 months for an ‘important reason’ is permitted during the 5 year continuous qualifying period. More than one such absence will break your continuous qualifying period regardless of the reason for it.

Once you hold settled status, you will be able to spend up to 5 continuous years outside of the UK without losing the status. Under separate arrangements, Swiss citizens can spend up to 4 continuous years outside the UK without losing the status.

 

Please note that the limits on time spent outside the UK for a British citizenship application are different to the requirements for a status under the EU Settlement Scheme. The International Student Office is unable to advise on citizenship applications but further information is outlined on the Goverment website

Family members

We are currently updating this section, in the meantime if you have any questions on family member eligibility under the EU Settlement Scheme please contact the International Student Office. 

Additional sources of information

You are advised to read the information on the EU Settlement Scheme on the gov.uk website.  

The UK Council of International Student Affairs (UKCISA) has information for students on the EU Settlement Scheme

 

FAQs

Do I have to apply for a status under the EU Settlement Scheme?

​If you intend to stay in the UK after 30 June 2021, and you meet the eligibility requirements based on being resident in the UK prior to 31 December 2020, you will need to apply for a status under the scheme. Even if you do not intend to stay in the UK after 30 June, it is advisable to apply for a status under the scheme as you retain the status for a particular period of time after you leave the UK, as outlined in the section on Absences from the UK.

What if I don’t have a status under the EU Settlement Scheme by 31 December 2020?

Eligibility requirements are based on being considered resident in the UK by 31 December 2020. However, the deadline to make an application is not until 30 June 2021 during which time your rights in the UK remain the same and you will be able to enter at the Border based on your passport or national identity card.

It is advisable to make an application as soon as possible.

The app doesn’t seem to work on my phone – what can I do?

The app can be used on an Android phone or iPhone 7 or above. The phone will need to have Near-Field-Communication (NFC) to work. You should be able to check this in the phone’s settings.

Some students have found that the app works on the second or third attempt.

If the app does not work on your own phone, you could borrow a friend’s phone to complete this step. No data is stored on the phone and the app can be deleted once you have completed this step. You will need to take into consideration the latest coronavirus guidance on socialising.

I am a current student but studying remotely outside the UK, can I apply for a status under the scheme?

If you have not previously lived in the UK and will be moving here after 31 December 2020, you will not be eligible for the EU Settlement Scheme and will need to apply for a student visa.

If you were previously living in the UK, you may be eligible to apply for the scheme from overseas on the basis of being ‘continuously resident’. This means if you were living in the UK for less than 5 years and have been overseas for less than 6 months, or more than 6 months but less than 12 months for an ‘important reason’, you can make an application for pre-settled status from outside the UK.

If you were previously resident in the UK for 5 years, you are eligible to apply for settled status from overseas if you have not left the UK for more than 5 years since then.

Non-EEA family members must be documented under EEA regulations in order to apply from outside the UK, including spouse and children.

Further questions?

If you have any questions about the EU Settlement Scheme, you can contact the University's International Student Office

Alternatively, you can ask a question directly to the Home Office using the online submission form or by calling their EU Settlement Scheme Resolution Centre