Can students apply for the EU Settlement Scheme?

European Union flag and Union Jack

This article was published by the Great British Mag content team on 16 February 2021. 

Are you a student from the EU, EEA or a Swiss citizen that was in the UK before Brexit? Did you enter the country before 31 December 2021? Then you might be entitled to apply for the EU Settlement Scheme to study, live and work in the UK indefinitely.

Read on to see if you could be eligible for this new visa and how to apply before the 30 June 2021 deadline.

What is the EU Settlement Scheme

On 31 January 2020, Britain left the EU and entered into its transition phase. Nothing really changed for EU citizens who wanted to come and live in the UK though, until that transition period ended on 31 December 2020.

EU, EEA and Swiss citizens who arrived in the UK after that date won’t have the same rights to come and live in the UK as they did before Brexit, including students who now have to apply for the same student visa as those from outside the EU. The only exemption is Irish citizens who maintain the same rights as before Brexit. 

The EU Settlement Scheme is a programme designed to protect the rights of those who were living in the UK before Brexit, meaning they can continue to live, study or work in the UK. 

Who is eligible for the EU Settlement scheme?

To be eligible for the EU Settlement Scheme, you need to be an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen and have been in UK on or before 31 December 2020, which was the end of the Brexit transition period. 

What does it mean for EU, EEA and Swiss students?

If you’re granted residency in the UK under this scheme then it means you can continue to live, study and work in the UK indefinitely, even after your university course is over. You won’t need to apply for any other visas. 

The conditions of your studies will remain the same as when you started your course, pre-Brexit as long as you started your course on the academic year 2020/2021. This means you’ll still be eligible for university ‘home fees’ as opposed to the higher international fees, will be able to access government-funded student loans, and can continue to access free medical care through the NHS. 

If you’re not eligible for the EU settlement scheme, you’ll need to apply for a student visa and then, if you want to stay after your course finishes, you’ll need a two-year post-study work visa.

How do I apply for the EU Settlement Scheme?

You can apply for the EU Settlement scheme for free through the government website. You’ll need to supply proof of identity and proof that you were residing in the UK on or before 31 December last year. The application process will let you know which forms of proof to submit, and if there are any additional documents needed. 

Your application will then be picked up by the Home Office who will decide whether or not to grant your settlement. 

Is there a deadline for applying?

Yes – applications close on 30 June 2021. It’s essential you apply by that date, but the advice is not to leave it that long if you can help it. So get your application underway as soon as possible.

What will I get if my application is successful?

If your application to the EU Settlement Scheme is successful, you’ll be granted either settled status or pre-settled status. 

Settled status will be given to those who have been living in the UK for five years or more. This means that you can remain in the UK indefinitely and won’t need any other visa 

If you’ve been here for less time than that, you’ll receive pre-settled status, which will grant you residence for five years. Then, once you have been living in the UK for five years, you’ll be able to apply for settled status.

Whichever status you’re granted, you’ll be able to live, study, work, claim public funds like benefits and pensions, and use the National Health Service for free whilst you are in the UK.

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