Important update due to Covid-19: we are aware that many students have left the UK and returned to your home countries. You may still have the opportunity to apply for Pre-settled Status if you meet certain conditions - please see the section below 'Can I apply outside the UK'. It is also very important that you understand how your absence may affect your right to return to the UK and to stay long term. In particular please read the section 'What happens if I spend some time outside the UK' so you can make an informed choice about when to return.
- If you are already resident in the UK before starting your degree then please see the rest of the information on this page
- If you were resident in the UK but have since moved back to your home country, please see the section of this page 'Can I apply outside the UK' and 'What happens if I spend some time outside the UK'
- If you have never lived in the UK because you are studying online from home, please see the information below
Full degree students
Arriving by 31 December 2020
EU/EEA/Swiss nationals and their family members were able to come to the UK under EU free movement rules until 31 December 2020 (the end of the transition period).
If you moved to the UK by 31 December 2020 you will need to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS) by 30 June 2021 to continue residence in the UK (unless exempt). However we would advise you to apply as soon as possible as having Pre-settled or Settled status is likely to make it more straightforward for travelling in and out of the UK.
There is no minimum period of residence required before you can apply to the EUSS, meaning that as soon as you are resident in the UK, you can apply. Please note that it is not possible for an EU citizen who is overseas and has not lived in the UK to submit an application under the EU Settlement Scheme on the basis that they will move to the UK later.
Please read the section of this page 'What happens if I spend some time outside the UK' to understand what absences are permitted if you want to apply for settled status after five years of UK residence.
Arriving from 1 January 2021 - EU students who move to the UK from 1 January 2021 to study on a course of longer than six months will need to apply for Student immigration permission. You will need to complete an application, pay an application fee, and have a current passport or other valid travel document. You will need to meet specific requirements and to pass relevant checks, including UK criminality checks. There is more information in our Guide called Applying for student immigration permission. For a course of up to six months you can come to the UK as a Visitor.
Exchange programme students
Spring semester students (January to May 2021): If you moved to the UK by 31 December 2020 you are here under EU free movement rules. You have until 30 June 2021 to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme, however if you will be leaving the UK before 30 June 2021 you are not required to make an application but you may choose to if you wish.
If you move to the UK after 31 December 2020 you will need to have immigration permission. You can enter the UK as a Visitor to study for up to six months. The current requirements are explained here. This includes needing evidence of your studies and having enough money to live in the UK for the duration of your stay, and you must intend to leave the UK at the end of your studies. Please read our guidance on the Visitor Route.
As long as you have a biometric symbol on the cover of your passport, you will be able to enter the UK through the e-gates and will not need to meet a Border Force Officer. It is advisable to keep evidence of the date you arrived in the UK i.e. flight ticket and boarding pass.
Full year students (September 2020 to May 2021): If you moved to the UK by 31 December 2020 were able to enter under existing EU free movement rules. You have until 30 June 2021 to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS). If you will be leaving the UK before 30 June 2021 you are not required to make an application to the EUSS but doing so would be advisable if you are travelling in and out of the UK after 31 December 2020 as it should make this more straightforward.
If you move to the UK after 31 December 2020 and are studying on a course of up to six months duration you can enter as a Visitor. The current requirements are explained here. This includes needing evidence of your studies and having enough money to live in the UK for the duration of your stay, and you must intend to leave the UK at the end of your studies. Please read our guidance on the Visitor Route.
If you move to the UK after 31 December 2020 and are studying on a course of longer than six months you will need to apply for Student immigration permission. You will need to complete an application, pay an application fee, and have a current passport or other valid travel document. You will need to meet specific requirements and to pass relevant checks, including UK criminality checks. There is more information in our Guide called Applying for student immigration permission.
If you were already resident in the UK before 31 December 2020 please see the rest of the information on this page about applying to the EU Settlement Scheme.
If you have not yet moved to the UK: EU students who move to the UK from 1 January 2021 to study on a course of more than six months will need to apply for student immigration permission. You will need to complete an application, pay an application fee, and have a current passport or other valid travel document. You will need to meet specific requirements and to pass relevant checks, including UK criminality checks. There is more information in our Guide called Apply for student immigration permission.
Please also see our information about tuition fees and funding for courses starting from September 2021.
The UK left the EU on 31 January 2020. This was followed by a transition period from 31 January 2020 to 31 December 2020, during which EU law continued to apply in the UK. After the transition period, the UK government ended reciprocal European Freedom of Movement to the UK.
EU/EEA & Swiss nationals & their family members already resident in the UK by 31 December 2020 can apply to the EU Settlement Scheme by 30 June 2021 for Pre-Settled or Settled status so that they can continue living in the UK.
Irish citizens will not need to apply because the Common Travel Area agreements existed between the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland prior to the EU Directive. There is some specific information for Irish citizens on the UK government website.
Family members of EU,EEA and Swiss nationals who are not EU, EEA or Swiss nationals themselves may also be eligible. Please see the section:'What about my family members?'
Pre-Settled Status gives you permission to remain in the UK for a further 5 years from the date that you are granted this status. Once you have reached five years continuous residence, you can apply again to obtain Settled Status if you want to remain in the UK longer. However, you must apply before your five years on Pre-settled status expires if you wish to remain in the UK. You do not have to wait until you have had pre-settled status for 5 years to apply for Settled Status if you will have reached 5 years residence in the UK before that. For example you may have moved to the UK in September 2019, but only applied for and were granted pre-settled status in September 2020 - as long as you meet the criteria for five years continuous residence you can apply for settled status in September 2024.
Whilst in the UK with Pre-Settled Status you can continue to study & work in the UK without restriction. You can also access any public funds you may be eligible for and use the National Health Service (NHS). You are free to travel in and out of the UK
Additionally, after obtaining Pre-Settled Status you can spend up to 2 years outside the UK without losing your status. However, absence from the UK can impact on your eligibility to later apply for Settled Status - see the page: 'What happens if I spend some time outside the UK' for details.
The qualifying criteria for Pre-settled Status is explained in the section below 'How do I get Settled or Pre-Settled status?'
Settled status allows you to remain in the UK indefinitely. Whilst in the UK with Settled Status you can continue to study & work without restriction. You can also access any public funds you may be eligible for and use the National Health Service (NHS). You are free to travel in and out of the UK.
After obtaining Settled Status you can spend up to 5 years outside the UK without losing your status (or if you are a Swiss national or their family member you can spend up to 4 years outside the UK), you can choose to apply for British citizenship and any children born in the UK will automatically become British citizens.
The qualifying criteria for settled status is explained in the section below 'How do I get Settled or Pre-settled status?'
Please refer to our guide to completing the EU Settlement Scheme Application
You need to meet the qualifying criteria, prove your identity, provide your biometric details, complete the online application form and provide evidence of your residence in the UK.
The deadline for a first application is 30 June 2021, but it is advisable to apply as soon as possible. This means you can avoid delays - there may be a large volume of applications nearer the deadline of 30 June 2021.
Holding pre-settled status is likely to make it more straightforward to travel in and out of the UK, and to prove your rights in the UK for example your right to work, to study, or to rent a property.
Please refer to the section below to understand if you can apply outside the UK.
Please refer to the section below about what evidence to provide as part of your application.
There are two circumstances in which you can apply outside the UK:
1. You can apply outside the UK if you were resident in the UK at any time in the previous six months and before 31 December 2020; or
2. You can apply outside the UK if you meet the following criteria:
- you were previously resident and studying in the UK before 31 December 2020; and
- you have been outside the UK for between 6 and 12 months; and
- you are studying outside the UK because of Coronavirus
'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.'
You can apply within 12 months of leaving the UK, even if you plan to continue staying outside the UK for longer. But please read the section 'What happens if I spend some time outside the UK' to understand the implications of absences from the UK as this can impact your eligibility to later apply for Settled Status.
The EU Settlement Scheme is open to all EU/ EEA & Swiss nationals resident in the UK by 31 December 2020.
The scheme is also open to non EU/ EEA or Swiss nationals resident in the UK if they are the relevant family members of an EU/ EEA or Swiss national who is resident in the UK. (Relevant family members are: spouse/ civil partner/ unmarried partner, children under 21, dependent children 21 or over including grandchildren and other direct descendants, parents, grandparents and other direct ascendants, and other family members who are dependent).
All applications are subject to an identity, criminality and residence in the UK check
The application for Settled or Pre-Settled Status is the same process through the EU Settlement Scheme. You don’t need to choose which status you are applying for initially. At the end of the application, based on the information provided by you, you are informed if you are being considered for settled or pre-settled status. You have the ability to change that by providing additional evidence at the end of the application.
Settled Status: To be granted Settled Status you must complete the EU Settlement Scheme application and demonstrate that you have been resident in the UK for at least 5 continuous years with no absences of longer than 6 months in any 12 month period. The continuous 5 year period can be any historical 5 year continuous period, provided that you have not spent 5 years or longer outside the UK.
In addition, a one off absence from the UK of up to 12 months for particular reasons is permitted, and is not deemed to disrupt your continuous period of five years qualifying residence required for Settled Status. Please see the page: 'What happens if I spend some time outside the UK' for more information about what types of absences are permitted.
Your residence in the UK must have started by 31 December 2020.
If you are under 21 and are applying with your parents, you may not need to have been resident in the UK for 5 continuous years to obtain Settled Status if your parent(s) have met the requirements.
Pre-Settled Status: To be granted Pre-Settled Status you must complete the EU Settlement Scheme application and demonstrate that you established residence in the UK by 31 December 2020, even if you are applying to the EUSS after that date.
The deadline for your first application to the EU Settlement Scheme is 30 June 2021.
If you have been resident in the UK for any period of time less than 5 years, you will need to provide evidence that you are resident in the UK before by 31 December 2020. Please note that applying for pre-settled status requires genuine residence. While you must have completed a continuous qualifying period of residence in the UK, the rules do not specify any minimum period, so you could apply as soon as you start living in the UK if you wish to, as long as your stay would be regarded as 'residence'.
If you have a National Insurance Number and you have been working in the last six months, the National Insurance Number should be sufficient evidence for Pre-Settled Status.
Someone without a National Insurance contribution record in the last 6 months will be told near the end of their application that there isn't evidence to consider them for settled or pre settled status and that they can upload a document(s) to show that they meet the residence requirement. The document(s) that you provide as evidence must be less than 6 months old. You can use a Queen Mary student status letter as evidence of your residence. Other acceptable documents are listed on the gov.uk website. As EU/EEA/Swiss nationals can enter the UK through e-gates it may be useful to keep evidence of your arrival date into the UK for example your e-ticket.
If you are applying from outside the UK, as well as providing a Queen Mary student status letter as part of your EUSS application (see the section 'Can I apply outside the UK'), it would also be useful to retain evidence of your remote studies during this period. This could be, for example, the emails from the Principal at Queen Mary confirming students can study remotely at this time or screenshots from the UK government web pages, or your own country’s government web pages (in English), confirming travel restrictions.
As long as you are genuinely resident in the UK, if you then need to leave the UK while your Pre-settled status application is being considered you can do so, as the EU Settlement Scheme caseworker guidance states that "An application made under Appendix EU will not be treated as automatically withdrawn if the applicant travels outside the Common Travel Area before the application has been decided". If your application remains undecided and you need to return to the UK it's advisable to carry evidence in your hand luggage to show you were living in the UK before the end of the transition period. Pages 131 - 135 of the EU Settlement Scheme guidance: EU, other EEA and Swiss citizens and their family members gives examples of the type of evidence that may be accepted. Where possible it's advisable to carry evidence from the 'preferred list'.
To be granted Settled Status, you will need to evidence that you have been resident in the UK for 5 continuous years. The gov.uk website explains which documents you can use.
If you have been working/self-employed in the UK for a continuous period of at least 5 years, the easiest and quickest way to prove this is by providing your National Insurance Number (NINo) on your application. UK Visas & Immigration (UKVI) can check this with HM Revenues & Customs by accessing your NINo records. In this case it is likely that no further documents will be needed to prove residence for settled status.
If you haven’t been working during some or all of the continuous 5 year period, you can provide other documents listed on the gov.uk website. All documents you provide must be dated and have your name on them.
If you want to use a Queen Mary student status letter as evidence of your residence, find out how to get this letter here.
If you have had an absence from the UK of longer than 6 months but less than 12 months for one of the important reasons listed, you will need to provide official evidence of the reason.
If you are an EU/EEA/Swiss citizen with a biometric passport you should use your passport with the EU Exit: ID Document Check App. You do not need to send it to the UKVI unless requested.
Non EU/ EEA or Swiss family members of an EU national with a UKVI issued Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) Card, you must use your BRP with the EU Exit: ID Document Check App. You do not need to send it to the UKVI unless requested.
As well as completing the stages on the App, you will also need to provide evidence of your residence in the UK and any evidence to justify absences as explained in the previous section
If you are a non EU/ EEA/ Swiss family member of an EU/ EEA, Swiss national, you will also need to provide evidence of your relationship.
Depending on your circumstances, you may need to provide additional evidence (for example: evidence of absence from the UK of more than 6 months if for a permitted important reason or evidence of dependency if child over the age of 21)
There is information on the gov.uk website about acceptable evidence of residence in the UK.
The EU Settlement Scheme Guidance in general highlights the other documents you may require in specific circumstances (such as absences from the UK for an important reason, evidence of relationship etc)
The application is free of charge.
An application can be rejected if it is considered as invalid, for amongst other reasons; not using the correct application process, not providing the required proof of identity or nationality, or failure to provide biometrics.
An application can be refused in certain cases, including amongst others; an application not meeting the requirements, providing false or misleading information or evidence, failure to disclose information requested such as criminal convictions and where an applicant has certain criminal convictions in particular those which led to a prison sentence
It is important to read the Suitability Requirements for more details and seek advice if you think this may apply to you.
If you wish to apply for Settled Status you need to hold five years continuous residence in the UK. In the section 'What happens if I spend some time outside the UK' we explain the rules on permitted absences from the UK while you hold pre-settled status. If, before your study abroad year takes place, you have already had a single absence of up to 12 months for 'an important reason', then going on your study abroad year might mean you are not found eligible for Settled Status when you later apply, if this would mean a second absence of up to 12 months, taking you over the permitted absences.
If you have not already been absent from the UK for 6-12 months since you began your residence in the UK, then your Study Abroad can be considered an 'important reason' for you to spend up to 12 months outside the UK. In this case, provided you have not exceeded the other permitted absences from the UK, you can still be eligible to apply for Settled Status after 5 years continuous residence.
Please read the section 'What happens if I spend some time outside the UK' carefully so that you understand the rules. If you believe you have exceptional reasons for exceeding the permitted absences, you might still decide to try applying for Settled Status. You might decide to ask for discretion and include evidence of why you exceeded the permitted absences, for example evidence of travel bans to the UK or cancelled flights. The application may not be successful, because it would not meet the UK government's published rules and guidance. You may wish to seek specialist advice about your options from the AIRE Centre.
If you do not mind that you might not be eligible for Settled Status later, please do also take into account that if you have Pre-settled Status but then spend 2 consecutive years or more outside the UK, your Pre-settled Status will be cancelled. If you spend more than 2 consecutive years outside the UK after your Pre-settled Status has been granted, you would not be able to return to the UK with your Pre-settled Status in order to complete your course. You would require Student immigration permission instead.
You may be able to apply to join or stay with your EU/EEA/Swiss national family member if they have been granted Pre-settled or Settled Status in the UK, or they are eligible to apply because they were resident before 31 December 2020.
Joining family members
Relevant family members who are either European nationals or of a non European nationality currently outside the UK can apply for an EU Settlement Scheme Family Permit to come to the UK and join their EU/EEA/Swiss family members. Your family relationship must normally have begun before 31 December 2020.
Once you have arrived in the UK, you can apply for the EU Settlement Scheme.
Please see the information on the UK government website which explains which family relationships are eligible, and how to apply, and what the deadlines are.
Your right to accessing healthcare in the UK depends on your immigration permission to the UK, which will vary according to when you moved here. This is explained on Queen Mary University of London's Student Health web pages The page includes information on seeing a doctor, medical emergencies, other healthcare services, dental and eye care.
We recommend that you register with a doctor (GP) as soon as you can after you arrive in the UK.
Your Pre-settled Status will be valid for 5 years from the date that it is issued. We recommend that you diarise the end of the 5 year period. If you want to stay in the UK, you should apply for Settled Status when you meet the requirements and by the end of the 5 year period at the very latest. If you don't wish to stay in the UK, you should leave the UK by the end of the 5 year period at the latest.
You can view your status or prove it to someone else online. You will not usually get a physical document.
You must keep your details up to date, this includes if you move address in the UK, get a new UK mobile telephone number or get a new passport.
Those with Permanent Residency status will be required to apply to exchange this to settled status if intend to remain in the UK beyond 30 June 2021, “subject only to criminality and security checks”.
Those with Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK do not need to apply to exchange this to settled status, but can choose to do so if they wish. One benefit of this is that whereas ILR normally lapses after 2 years absence from the UK, Settled Status doesn’t lapse until 5 years absence from the UK.
Should I apply for British citizenship?
The rules for acquiring British citizenship are explained on the UK Government website and the decision whether to apply if you meet the criteria is a personal one.
There are a small number of jobs in the UK Civil Service which are reserved for British citizens alone. Holding permanent residence or settled status would not be sufficient to qualify for permission to work in those specific roles. Anyone holding permanent residence or settled status in the UK should otherwise be able to access the UK’s job market; indeed, it may well prove an advantage to be able to live and work in European Union countries without restrictions
In order to vote in general elections, you must be a British, Irish or Commonwealth citizen. Otherwise, the majority of the same rights are afforded to those with permanent residency status or settled status, including access to public healthcare, schools and pensions.
For many people, the cost of applying for British citizenship means it is unaffordable.
We cannot advise on citizenship questions. We explain options for seeking advice in the section below.
If you have questions about the information on this page, you can email a Welfare Adviser via our web form.
The United Kingdom Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) has detailed information on the EU Settlement scheme and other issues relating to EU, EEA & Swiss nationals, as well as a free student information line
The UK Government website has a section for EU, EEA & Swiss nationals which contains information on the EU Settlement Scheme, the Application form, policy guidance, immigration rules and other important information.
If you have questions about your EU Settlement Scheme application you can contact the Home Office EU Settlement Resolution Centre by phone or online.
The gov.uk website lists organisations who can advise 'vulnerable people' on their applications. This includes some Local Authorities so you could try contacting yours to see if they are advising European nationals.
The AIRE Centre (Advice on Individual Rights in Europe) is an advice centre which specialises in European rights. You can email them for written legal advice which they take around 2-3 weeks to provide.
The Citizens Advice Bureau has branches across the UK and provides free independent advice on a range of legal matters including immigration related issues.
The Immigration Law Practioners’ Association is an umbrella body for immigration solicitors and advisers many of which specialise in EU rights.