Staying in the UK as a student

Last modified: 29 September 2016

You are entitled to enter the UK freely and have an automatic right of residence for up to three months without needing to demonstrate that you are exercising a right of free movement, for example, to study or work. Once you are enrolled onto a course of study at an institution which meets the criteria below and you meet the conditions as set out below (which include having comprehensive sickness insurance), you have the right of residence in the UK. 

The UK currently remains a member of the European Union. Therefore, if you meet the criteria highlighted on this page you still have a right to reside on this basis. We have provided some information about the UK's position since the EU referendum.

You do not have to register or apply for any particular documents in order to stay in the UK. However, you can choose to apply for a registration certificate which confirms that you have a right of residence as a student. You might want to apply for a registration certificate if you have family members who are not themselves EEA or Swiss nationals, as this can make it easier for your family to apply for an EEA family permit or residence card. Also, it may help in making an application for the right of permanent residence.

If you are a Croatian national, you can apply for a student registration certificate on form CR1. For all other EEA nationals, apply on form EEA(QP). From 1 October 2016, there will be a European passport return service for those applying under the EEA(QP) route or under the EEA(PR) route. 

You will need to enclose the following with your application:

  • your passport or national identity card
  • evidence of your studies, for example, a current letter from your institution confirming your enrolment on a course. You must be studying, either part-time or full-time, at an institution which is:
    • publicly-funded OR
    • is 'otherwise recognised by the Secretary of State as an establishment which has been accredited for the purpose of providing such courses or training within the law or administrative practice of the part of the United Kingdom in which the establishment is located'
  • evidence that you can support yourself (and any family members) financially. This can be a bank statement, a document confirming the receipt of a grant or scholarship, or a declaration of sufficient funds. Any requirement that you  produce specific documents to demonstrate this criteria is not in compliance with EU or domestic legislation and can be challenged if necessary
  • evidence of comprehensive sickness insurance for you and your dependants
  • two passport photographs of yourself

Your place of study

Last modified: 29 September 2016

In order for the educational institution to be acceptable, the institution must be:

  • a Tier 4 sponsor
  • on the Knowledge of life (KoL) accredited college database
  • on the Euro educational establishment database

Otherwise, there should be independent evidence that it is publicly funded or otherwise accredited.

The Home Office has confirmed in their response to a freedom of information (FOI) request, that the two databases have not been maintained since 2013, and so even if an institution appears on one of the two databases, it is not necessarily the case that the institution will satisfy the criteria specified in the directive.

If they are not on any database, the Home Office will accept evidence from you that the institution is either publicly funded or otherwise accredited.

Registration certificates can be issued immediately if you apply in person at the Home Office's Croydon premium service centre. You must make an appointment in advance. However, there are very few slots available for EEA applications. Alternatively, you can apply by post. The fee for either application is £65. 

You can ask the Home Office to return your passport if you need to travel, but make sure that you allow plenty of time (at least two weeks) for the passport to be located and sent back to you before your trip.


Comprehensive sickness insurance

Last modified: 01 August 2016

In order to show that you have a right of residence in the UK as a student you have to show that you have comprehensive sickness insurance (CSI).

The European heath insurance card (EHIC) obtained from your country of residence is acceptable evidence of CSI, if your stay in the UK is to be temporary. Therefore, if applying on form EEA(QP) or CR1 using this card, you will also need to send a letter (called a 'statement of intent’ in the application form) confirming that you do not intend to stay in the UK permanently. If your stay is to be permanent, or you are unable to get an EHIC card from your country of residence, you will need to obtain separate insurance.

The UK government does not accept entitlement to the National Health Service as sufficient evidence, so you will need to get the EHIC before you leave your country of residence, or obtain the adequate insurance. The government has produced a leaflet about EHIC and access to medical treatment while in the UK.

Family members of students are now also required to obtain CSI. The Home Office has required dependants of students to have comprehensive sickness insurance since 22 June 2015. Information about the requirement for family members to obtain CSI and the transitional measures the government introduced are contained in Home Office guidance.

The Free Movement blog has published a post containing useful information about comprehensive sickness insurance following the UKs EU referendum result.