Student Immigration Service

Information for EEA and Swiss students

Following the referendum on 23 June 2016, the UK has formally signalled its intent to withdraw from the European Union by the triggering of Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty. This is commonly known as "Brexit”.

Below, we aim to address some of the questions you might have, and provide information on how to secure documentation confirming your right to reside in the UK.

At the time of writing, any changes to EU citizens’ rights are subject to the approval of a withdrawal agreement.  Negotiations between the EU and the UK are now complete, but the agreement has yet to be approved by Parliament.

Therefore, this information is to highlight the current position and includes our best advice based on the current situation.

Has my immigration status changed?

At present, the UK remains in the EU. A date of departure has not been confirmed yet, though the government has signalled their intention to leave the EU on 31 January 2020, following a further extension. 

This means there are no immediate changes if you are an EEA or Swiss national, including where you have a dual nationality with a non-EEA/Swiss passport.

We do not yet know exactly what the future implications for residency will be for EEA nationals and their family members who wish to come to, or remain in, the UK to study after Brexit. Parliament has not approved a Withdrawal Agreement, which includes an agreement on citizens' rights during a transitional/ implementation period after Brexit. This is a period of time (likely to continue until 31 December 2020) during which EU nationals and their family members can come to, or remain in, the UK on broadly the same basis as they can now.

If a final agreement is approved by Parliament:

Those already in the UK prior to Brexit and those who come to the UK during the transitional/ implementation period will need to apply for status in the UK under a scheme designed by the UK government. The status granted will be ‘settled’ status or ‘pre-settled’ status depending on the length of time in the UK.

If there is no final agreement and the UK leaves the EU without a deal:

If you arrive after  the UK leaves the EU, you will  still be able to travel to the UK but you will need to apply for European Temporary Leave to Remain by 31 December 2020 if you intend to stay beyond this date. You will be granted with temporary immigration status that will allow you to stay in the UK for 3  years from the date the status is granted.   If you want to stay longer than the 3 years granted, you will need to apply for a new immigration status under the UK’s  immigration system in place at that time, details of which are not yet available.

When to apply for the Settlement Scheme

If you arrive in the UK prior to ‘Brexit day’, you will be able to apply for the EU Settlement scheme. You should not worry about applying (or about obtaining settled-or pre-settled status) prior to 31 January 2020, as the deadline for this remains unchanged (30 June 2021 if a deal is approved, or 31 December 2020 if the UK leaves the EU without a deal).

We will post further details as soon as they become available. In the meantime, you can refer to the links below or sign up for Home Office alerts so that you can keep up with any relevant developments.

Home Office email alerts – sign up

University of Edinburgh - Information for current students and applicants 

Home Office - Information for EEA nationals

UKCISA Information - EU Settlement Scheme 

EU Citizens Rights in the Event of a No-Deal Brexit

Family members of EEA nationals

Non-EEA family members of EEA nationals can continue to come to the UK. Their right to reside, study or work has not yet been affected by the outcome of the EU referendum.

We will post further information on the status of family members of EEA nationals as soon as it becomes available. 

GOV.UK - EEA Family Permit

UKCISA – Family Members of EEA nationals