Brexit: what we know for EEA students and their family

Last modified: 06 February 2019

UPDATE 1 NOVEMBER: Please read our latest guidance for students on post-Brexit rules and entitlements. This paper is aimed at students currently in the UK or intending to study in the UK and will be updated as web content on a regular basis.

The UK gave formal notification of its intention to withdraw from the European Union (by triggering Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union), on 29 March 2017. The process is likely to take a minimum of two years, and the UK remains a member of the European Union during this time.  Therefore, there is no change to the position of EEA nationals and their family members in the UK during this time which means students and their family members can continue to exercise their residency rights in the UK.

The Home Office has continued to update their information to provide assurances and information for EEA nationals currently in the UK, and those wishing to come to the UK. 

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. However, the UK government and the EU are in the process of negotiating a Withdrawal Agreement, which includes an agreement on citizens' rights during a transitional/ implementation period from 29 March 2019. 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. The UK are also in the process of negotiation with Norway, Iceland, Lichtenstein and Switzerland to reach an agreement on the rights of non-EU EEA and Swiss nationals and their family members.

If a final agreement is reached, those already in the UK before 29 March 2019 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. The UK government published the EU Settlement Scheme: Statement of Intent on 21 June 2018. The Statement outlines how the scheme will operate and who will be covered. The scheme, once confirmed and finalised, will consist of an online application process to be piloted from 'autumn' 2018, with an aim to make it more widely available from early 2019 and full access by 29 March 2019. See our news item of 21 June 2018 for more details.

The Free Movement blog has posted a briefing entitled: How to apply for “settled status” for EU citizens

We will continue to publish relevant information here as soon as it becomes available.

Government Student Support and 'home' fee status eligibility

The funding bodies in England, Scotland and Wales have all given some assurances to EU nationals about continuing eligibility for loans and grants. See our information on:

UKCISA priorities and concerns over Brexit

Read the seven principles and proposals that UKCISA has put forward to address the extensive concerns about the effect of Brexit on the continued mobility of international students – including young academics and researchers – and in particular on the position of EU and EEA nationals, and their dependants, who are currently in the UK.

Download UKCISA's seven principles and proposals

View a magazine version of the priorities and concerns:

Short videos about Brexit

Last modified: 17 October 2018

We worked with Universities UK, British Council and NUS to create some short films about Brexit for students.