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International Students


After the UK leaves the European Union, the government intends to end freedom of movement for EEA and Swiss citizens coming to live in the UK. Under current plans, EEA and Swiss citizens will, in future, be required to apply for a visa to come and study in the UK. The EU Settlement Scheme has been introduced to protect the rights of EEA and Swiss citizens, and their family members, currently resident in the UK. An application to the scheme grants a status confirming the right to continue living in the UK with the same access to work, study, benefits and public services as currently. 

The International Student Office will be holding information sessions on the EU Settlement Scheme in October. Sign up for these events via the 'Information Sessions' section below. 


What is the EU Settlement Scheme?

The EU Settlement Scheme allows you to apply for 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. You can still apply if you have had absences from the UK during the 5 year period of up to 6 months in any 12 month period, or one period of up to 12 months in certain circumstances including serious illness or study. 

Pre-settled status

You can apply for limited leave to remain on the basis of currently residing in the UK. This is referred to as pre-settled status. Once you have pre-settled status, you can apply for settled status once you have met the 5 year continuous residence period.

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.

The UK is currently scheduled to leave the EU on 31 October 2019 but the arrangements have not yet been finalised. Under a withdrawal agreement, EEA citizens moving to the UK to study after the UK leaves the EU until 31 December 2020 will also be eligible to apply for the EU Settlement Scheme. In the event of a no-deal Brexit, EEA citizens moving to the UK to study after the UK leaves the EU will continue to be able to enter the UK using only their passport or ID card but will be required to apply for 'European Temporary Leave to Remain' (EURO TLR) by 31 December 2020. Further details are on the government's webpages



Key Points
  • You have until at least 31 December 2020 to apply for the EU Settlement Scheme during which time your rights in the UK remain the same (this would be extended to 30 June 2021 under a withdrawal agreement). ​The UK government has confirmed that if the UK leaves the EU with 'no deal', the EU Settlement Scheme will continue to be offered to EU citizens resident in the UK by the exit date under the same terms. ​
  • Under current proposals, those who arrive in the UK after 31 December 2020 will be subject to the immigration system in place at that time and EEA and Swiss students will require a visa to study.
  • If you intend to continue living in the UK after 31 December 2020 (or 30 June 2021 if a withdrawal agreement is approved), you will need to apply for the EU Settlement Scheme.
  • ​The current political situation is uncertain and subject to change. 
Application Process

It is a free online application and the Home Office's aim is to make the process ​simple and straightforward. It is a three-step application and you will need to:

  • Prove your identity and nationality through your passport or national identity card and provide a digital photo of your face. You have the following options to do this:  ​
    • use the 'EU Exit: ID Document Check' app which scans the chip in your passport and can be used to take your photo. You will need either an Android phone with NCF (Near Field Comunication) or an iPhone 8 or above to complete this step and this option only allows you to verify an EU biometric passport. A link to the app will be provided when you start the application. The rest of the application can be completed on the phone or a computer / laptop. The Home Office has advised that the app will be compatible with iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus following an upcoming iOS software update. 
    • ​send your document to the Home Office by post and upload your photo using the online application.
    • ​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. 
  • 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
  • Provide any information about criminal convictions, if applicable. This will be checked against the UK’s crime databases.   

​To start your application, visit Applying to the EU Settlement Scheme. ​

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.

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. 

Further Details
  • ​​Both settled and pre-setted status allow you to travel in and out of the UK. 
  • If you have a 'UK permanent residence document’ you will need to apply for settled status but you will not need to provide any evidence of residency.
  • If you have 'historic' indefinite leave to enter or remain in the UK you are not required to apply.​
  • ​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. 
  • You can spend up to 2 years outside the UK without losing pre-settled status but you will need to maintain continuous 5 year residence to qualify for settled status. ​
  • ​With a status under the EU Settlement Scheme will you be able to study and work in the UK and are eligible to use the National Health Services. 
  • ​An EU/EEA/Swiss national with settled status will be able to apply for British citizenship after holding this status for at least a year (or immediately if married to a British citizen). Any children born in the UK will automatically become British citizens. 
Non-EEA family members

Family members of EEA and Swiss citizens are eligible to apply under the scheme. 

The evidence of relationship you need to provide depends on your circumstances: 

  • If you hold a valid permanent residence card issued under EEA regulations on the basis of your family relationship to that EU citizen, you will not need to provide any further evidence. 
  • If you hold a valid biometric residence card as a family member of an EEA national or a family permit, this can be used as evidence if the relationship continues to exist. You will also need to provide evidence of the nationality of the EEA national and their UK residence. You will also need to provide evidence of your UK residence. This evidence can be uploaded as part of the application process. 
  • If you are married or in a civil partnership and do not hold the documents above, you will need to provide the marriage or civil partnership certificate. This evidence can be uploaded as part of the application process. You will also need to provide evidence of the nationality of the EEA national and their UK residence as well as evidence of your UK residence. This evidence can be uploaded as part of the application process. In addition, as part of the application, you will be asked to book an appointment at a UK Visa and Citizenship Application Services (UKVCAS) service point to provide your biometric information (fingerprints and a photo). The nearest UKVCAS service point is located in Cambridge Central Library in the Grand Arcade but availability can be limited. Other services points are located across the UK, including at locations in London. Please note that depending on the location, you may need to pay for this appointment. 
  • If you are an unmarried partner, you will first need to apply for a relevant document under EEA Regulations

The Home Office advises that you are likely to get a quicker decision if you apply at the same time as your family member. You can link the applications using the application number. 

As part of the applicaiton process, you should be asked to book an appointment to enrol your biometrics if you do not already have a Bioemetric Residence Card issued under EEA regulations. 


Information Sessions

The International Student Office will be holding information sessions for students about the EU Settlement Scheme in October. The sessions will provide a detailed overview of the scheme and guidance on the application process. There will also be the opportunity for questions and answers.

 Sessions will be held at the Student Services Centre at 4pm on Monday 14 October, Friday 25 October, Tuesday 29 October and Monday 11 November. 

Register to attend one of the sessions 

You will need to book a place on one of the sessions using the link above. Please note this link takes you to the external event booking system, Eventbrite. 

Further sessions will be added as required to meet demand. 

Additional sources of information

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

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



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