Brexit information for EU & EEA and Swiss Nationals
Last updated: 30 October 2019
EU & EEA and Swiss Nationals
On the 28 October, the European Union formally agreed to the UK Parliament’s request for a flexible extension to the Brexit deadline, until 31January 2020. The flexible extension means that if a deal is both agreed to and passed into law by Parliament before 31 January 2020, the UK could leave the EU earlier.
During the extended period, the UK will remain a member of the EU and UK/EU/EEA/Swiss nationals will have the same rights as they do today.
On the 29 October the UK Parliament backed a snap general election, which will take place on the 12 December 2019. It is the first December election in the UK since 1923. The result of the general election could impact the UK’s departure from the EU.
After the general election, the Brexit debate will continue in parliament. If the new UK Government passes the current withdrawal agreement by the new extended deadline of the 31 January 2020 or before, the UK will begin the process of leaving the EU.
Under the present withdrawal agreement, there is an implementation or transitional period which currently continues until 31 December 2020. During the transitional period, EU, EEA and Swiss students and eligible family members will be able to enter, or remain in, the UK on the same basis as they can now.
EU/EEA/Swiss students and eligible family members wanting to stay beyond the end of the transitional period will either need to apply for the EU Settlement Scheme or apply under another relevant immigration category.
In the event of a no deal Brexit, EU/EEA/Swiss nationals and their eligible family members, living in the UK before exit day, currently 31 January 2020 (or earlier if a deal is agreed before then), will have at least until the 31 December 2020 to apply for the Settlement Scheme.
The current political landscape is unpredictable and may cause some uncertainty for prospective students wanting to come to the UK to study. UKCISA provides up-to-date information for prospective EU/EEA and Swiss nationals wanting to come to the UK to study and how the current situation will affect them and their families. It touches on fee status, student funding and immigration:
UKCISA - Brexit: what does it mean for students and their family?
For current students, please visit our internal pages, where we have additional information and FAQs for you:
Immigration for new arrivals - Do I need a visa?
EU Settlement Scheme applications
There is currently no requirement for EU/EEA or Swiss nationals to apply for any immigration permission to travel to and study in the UK. You will need a valid passport or EU national identity card to enter the UK.
Do I need to apply for the EU Settlement Scheme now?
The EU Settlement Scheme is open to all EU, EEA and Swiss nationals and is free.
The Settlement Scheme is an immigration application and as such you should ensure you are eligible and have the relevant documentation available before submitting your application. A refusal can impact on your immigration history, so please ensure you read the most up-to-date guidance available before applying.
To apply you can either use the identity (ID) app (available on android phones/tablets and now available on an iphone device) to confirm your identity and then complete an application online or you can upload your documents via an application centre and complete the application online.
Both UKCISA and gov.uk have some useful information and guides on the EU Settlement Scheme:
Gov. UK - Settled and pre-settled status for EU citizens and their families
UKCISA - Brexit - EU Settlement Scheme
Can you help me submit my application for Settled Status?
Immigration Rules post leaving the EU
You do not need to apply at present, but, if you are already in the UK, you can do so if you wish. Please note, if you are a current student and intend to travel outside of the UK for more than 6 months, please contact the Advice & Guidance Team. Otherwise, please visit our FAQs.
Gov.UK have provided a very useful tool, which gives some information on what to do and when, depending on your current status - Continue to live in the UK after it leaves the EU
Health Insurance whilst in the UK
In the event of a deal - The immigration routes for EU/EEA/Swiss nationals arriving after the transition period in the event of are still under discussion with the Home Office and UK Parliament. An Immigration White Paper was released by the current Government on 5 September 2019, which outlined the proposed immigration options for all Non-UK/Irish nationals moving forwards.
In the event of a no deal, the UK has published a policy paper for EU, EEA and Swiss citizens and their eligible family members. This policy is not yet supported by UK legislation and is subject to change.
We will continue to update our webpages as this develops.
Whilst the UK is a member of the EU: EU/EEA and Swiss nationals can access the NHS with a valid EHIC card. You can find more information about this scheme, including the exceptions, here: https://ec.europa.eu/social/main.jsp?catId=559
Without a valid EHIC card you could be charged for using the NHS, unless you have alternative private medical insurance. You cannot apply for your EHIC in the UK.
EU/ EEA and Swiss students are required to have Comprehensive Sickness Insurance (CSI) to be exercising your treaty rights whilst in the UK. This includes a valid EHIC card or comprehensive private medical insurance. However, you do not need to provide evidence of Comprehensive Sickness Insurance for the EU Settlement Scheme application. You can find out more about CSI here:https://www.ukcisa.org.uk/Information--Advice/EU-EEA--Swiss-Students/Staying-in-the-UK-as-a-student#layer-5121
When the UK leaves the EU: It is currently unclear whether an EHIC card will still be valid if the UK leaves the EU. Whilst the government have stated it is their intention for the EHIC card to still be valid, this will depend on decisions by individual countries on agreeing reciprocal healthcare arrangements.
EU, EEA and Swiss students should therefore be prepared to purchase private medical insurance if the UK leaves the EU without a deal, to ensure they still have access to healthcare in the UK.
As the situation is subject to change, it is advisable to check the government website regularly to assess whether you would have access to healthcare after the UK leaves the EU: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/healthcare-for-eu-and-efta-citizens-visiting-the-uk