Information for prospective undergraduate and postgraduate students who are from the EU and/or are planning a European exchange as part of their studies, and students who are planning an Erasmus+ exchange to Edinburgh.
Edinburgh is a truly global university, so at this time it’s especially important that we emphasise our ongoing commitment to international diversity and a community in which students and staff continue to feel valued and welcome.
Amid the continued uncertainty surrounding the UK’s withdrawal from the EU, we understand our prospective students – whether from the UK, the EU or outside the EU – will have questions.
It is crucial that you feel informed and supported throughout what many will find an unsettling period. Information for prospective students is available below, which answers many of the concerns that have already been raised around living and studying in the UK post-Brexit, fees and funding, travel and visas, Erasmus+, and insurance.
Fees and funding
The Scottish Government has confirmed it will meet the cost of tuition fees for eligible undergraduate EU students starting their degrees in 2020-21, for the duration of their degree programme.
If you start undergraduate or postgraduate studies in 2020 or earlier, you can apply to the Student Awards Agency Scotland (SAAS) for funding. Your tuition fee status will not change for the duration of your degree programme. This applies if the UK leaves the EU with a withdrawal agreement and also in the event of a no-deal Brexit.
For more information, please refer to guidance on the SAAS website.
The Scottish Government confirmed that funding would be available for students entering in 2019/20 who wish to study a taught or research Masters degree or Postgraduate Diploma in any subject. Eligible Scottish domiciles are able to access a loan up to £10,000 (comprising £5,500 for fees and £4,500 for living costs). Full-time EU students are eligible to apply for a tuition fee loan (£5,500) in the 2019/20 academic year.
In April 2019, the Scottish Government confirmed commitment to provide tuition fee support to EU national students in academic year 2020/21, on eligible postgraduate courses that currently attract tuition fee support from the Scottish Government.
For more information, please refer to guidance on the SAAS website.
EU students are presently eligible for fees-only funding under Research Council support for postgraduate training.
The UK Government has confirmed that EU postgraduate research students commencing their studies in 2019/20 and 2020/21 will retain their fee status and eligibility for Research Council support for the duration of their programme.
Living and studying in the UK
The University of Edinburgh has a long tradition of welcoming students and staff from across Europe and the rest of the world to join our vibrant academic community. We are committed to continuing to make this possible, regardless of Brexit.
Currently, 44% of our student community are from outside of the UK, including more than 4,800 students from the EU.
As the world’s leading festival city, Edinburgh welcomes visitors from all over the world. In particular, the city benefits from close cultural and economic links with European partners. Five of Edinburgh’s ten sister cities are European, illustrating the city’s European heritage.
In the words of Scotland’s First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, “Scotland is your home, you are welcome here, and you are valued.” The University of Edinburgh wholeheartedly shares this view.
The EU Settlement Scheme is designed to offer EU, EEA and Swiss nationals (as well as their family members) living in the UK the opportunity to protect their status in the UK after Brexit. Despite its name, the EU Settlement Scheme is not only for those who intend to settle in the UK. Those eligible to apply under the scheme can do so if they wish to remain in the UK after Brexit and the relevant implementation period.
If you are resident in the UK before 31 December 2020, and wish to continue to live and work in the UK after this date, you will need to apply under the EU Settlement Scheme. You will need to apply by 30 June 2021. Applicants can be granted ‘settled’ or ‘pre-settled-status’, depending on how long they have lived in the UK. If you can demonstrate that you have been living in the UK continuously for five years, you will be able to apply for ‘settled’ status. If you have been living in the UK for less than five years, you will be granted ‘pre-settled’ status and will be able to update this to ‘settled’ status when you have been continuously resident for five years.
In the event of a No Deal, and assuming you were already living in the UK at exit date, you will have until 31 December 2020 to apply to the Scheme. If you arrive in the UK after 11pm on 31 October 2019, you will need to apply for European Temporary Leave to Remain if you wish to stay in the UK after 31 December 2020.
For more information on the Scheme as well as links to external resources, please see our information for EEA students.
EU, EEA or Swiss citizens who already live in the UK before 31 October 2019 will be able to come and go from the UK and live, work and study as you do now. If you wish to stay in the UK after 31 December 2020, you must apply under the EU Settlement Scheme and will be able to do so up until 31 December 2020. For more detailed information, please refer to the UKCISA website.
If you arrive by the end of the transitional period - currently 31 December 2020, though this date could be extended - but do not qualify for settled status, you will be eligible for pre-settled status enabling you to stay until you have reached the five-year threshold. All EU Settlement Scheme applications must be submitted by 30 June 2021.
In the event of a no deal and if you are an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen who arrives in the UK after 31 October 2019 but before the end of the transitional period (currently 31 December 2020), you will need to apply for either a EU temporary leave to remain (Euro LTR); or another type of immigration permission (if eligible) by 31 December 2020. This will give you the right to continue living, working and studying in the UK for 36 months.
If you come to the UK after the UK leaves the EU you will be able to continue living, working and studying in the UK without the need for immigration permission. The special status which currently exists between the UK and Ireland will continue. This means you will be treated as being settled in the UK from the day you come to the UK.
However, you can choose to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme if you wish to obtain official confirmation of your settled status and indefinite right to live and work in the UK.
Please note that if you have a family member who originates from outside the UK or Ireland, they will need to apply to the Scheme, unless they have immigration permission under a different category, for example under the Points Based System, and want to remain on this route.
You can find out more about the Scheme on the UK Government’s dedicated website.
In the event of a ‘no-deal’ exit on 31 October 2019, you will be able to come to the UK and live and work here indefinitely if you so wish. The special status which currently exists between the UK and Ireland will continue.
Leaving and re-entering the UK
The Withdrawal Agreement is highly likely to stipulate the inclusion of a transitional period lasting until 31 December 2020 (the deadline can possibly be extended). During this time EU, EEA and Swiss nationals (as well as your family members) can continue coming to the UK as normal. Your right to work and study in the UK remains unchanged.
In order to secure your status in the UK, EU, EEA and Swiss nationals (and your family members) who are here prior to the end of the transitional period and who wish to stay in the UK will need to apply for the EU Settlement Scheme. The current deadline for application is 30 June 2021. Those granted status under the EU Settlement Scheme can continue studying and working in the UK without restrictions.
EU, EEA and Swiss nationals wishing to come to the UK after the end of the transitional period will be subject to a new immigration system. You will need to apply under the relevant category of Immigration Rules in place at the time.
The University of Edinburgh prepares students for global futures. Many of Edinburgh’s graduates progress to careers outside the UK. Degrees from the University of Edinburgh will continue to be recognised by employers and universities across Europe and the rest of the world. The UK’s membership of the European Higher Education Area is unaffected by its EU member status.
If you gain your qualification during the Brexit transition period, your degree will still be recognised. We do not yet know whether, or how, professionally accredited qualifications gained in the UK will be recognised within the EU after the transition period, or in the event the UK leaves the EU without a deal. Continued mutual recognition is a priority for UK professional bodies and universities.
Health and wellbeing
If agreed, the transition period (starting on the date on which the UK leaves the EU and ending on 31 December 2020, or possibly after) will mean that EU and UK citizens will continue to enjoy many of the same rights as at present, including reciprocal health insurance. However, if the UK leaves the EU with no deal, your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) will no longer be valid, and you will need to arrange private health insurance.
The UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) have published information about healthcare in the UK for EU, EEA and Swiss nationals, and useful information on Brexit and what it means for students and their family.
Studying and working abroad
The University of Edinburgh is committed to continuing hosting students from our European partner institutions, regardless of the outcome of Brexit negotiations.
The UK is currently participating in the Erasmus+ programme and will continue to do so until further notice. If the UK leaves the EU with a withdrawal agreement which includes a transition period, the UK will continue to participate in the Erasmus+ programme in the academic session 2020/21, and students can continue to receive Erasmus+ funding for their exchange.
If the UK leaves the EU without a deal, and the UK ceases to participate in Erasmus+, the University of Edinburgh will continue to host incoming exchange students in the academic session 2020/21 from those European partner institutions that have agreed to countersign Erasmus+ replacement agreements with the University of Edinburgh. Please check with your home institution if they are happy to continue nominating you as an exchange student to the University of Edinburgh before applying for exchange.
Students coming to study at the University of Edinburgh through the Erasmus+ programme will continue to be eligible for an Erasmus+ grant from their home institution for as long as the UK participates in the Erasmus+ programme.
If the UK leaves the EU with a withdrawal agreement which includes a transition period, the UK will continue to participate fully in the Erasmus+ programme and students will continue to be eligible for an Erasmus+ grant throughout the 2020/21 academic session.
If the UK leaves the EU without an agreement, the EU has put in place regulations ensuring that students who are studying/working in Europe through Erasmus+ on the day the UK leaves the EU will not see their mobility period interrupted and will continue to receive Erasmus+ funding.
The EU contingency measures do not cover students due to start their Erasmus+ placement at the University after the UK leaves the EU if there is no deal. Whilst the University of Edinburgh is committed to continuing hosting exchange students from European partners, incoming exchange students starting their placement after the UK leaves the EU may no longer be able to access funding from their home university if there is no deal. Please check if your home institution provides alternative sources of funding to cover mobilities to the UK if there is a no-deal Brexit.
The UK’s continued participation in the Erasmus Programme beyond Brexit is not clear. In order to provide reassurance for those undergraduate students starting in 2020, and required to spend a period of study or work abroad in Europe as a mandatory part of their degree, the University has committed to offering students on eligible programmes the same level of funding that participants currently receive through Erasmus+. The funding guarantee does not extend to students studying in Switzerland.
Help and advice
As the UK prepares to exit the EU, we understand that this is an uncertain and anxious time for many people. The University is wholly committed to providing specialist support for our European students. Our Student Immigration Service can provide guidance on how to apply for the EU Settlement Scheme or concerns related to your immigration status following Brexit.
UKCISA also provide up-to-date advice up-to-date advice on the immigration status of future EU students who choose to study in the UK.