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EU referendum student FAQs

The UK government has confirmed that they have reached an agreement with the EU that safeguards the rights of EU citizens and their families once the UK leaves the EU. A summary of what has been agreed is below, and you can find full information on the EU citizens' rights website

  • EU citizens who arrive by 29 March 2019 and have lived in the UK for 5 years will be able to apply to stay indefinitely by getting ‘settled status’.
  • People who won’t have been here for 5 years when we leave, but arrive here by 29 March 2019, will be able to apply for permission to stay on until they reach the 5-year threshold. They can then also apply for settled status.
  • All family members who are living with or join EU citizens by 29 March 2019 will also be able to apply for settled status after 5 years in the UK. Children born after exit are protected if their parents are protected. Close family members will be able to join their families in the UK after exit.
  • EU citizens looking to remain in the UK will be able to apply for their new status through a new streamlined, user-friendly application scheme, due to launch in late 2018.
  • Rights to healthcare, pensions and other benefits in the UK will remain the same.The agreement extends the citizens’ rights protections above to include EU citizens and their family members arriving in the UK during the implementation period (from 30 March 2019 to 31 December 2020). This ensures that those planning to come to the UK after March next year know what the arrangements will be. During this time, new arrivals will need to register through a new Home Office registration scheme after three months in the UK. 
  • There is no need for EU citizens living in the UK to do anything at this stage, but you can sign up for email updates to receive an alert when there is further news on the application scheme.

Further details, case studies and resources are available on the EU citizens' rights website

The UK has given formal notification of its intention to withdraw from the European Union (by triggering Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union), but still remains a member of the European Union. Therefore, there is no immediate change to the position of EEA nationals in the UK. Therefore, students and their family members can continue to exercise their residency rights in the UK.

The UK government has confirmed that they have reached an agreement with the EU that safeguards the rights of EU citizens and their families once the UK leaves the EU. Full information is available on the EU citizens' rights website.

It has been confirmed in government statements that current EU students studying at UK universities will pay the same fees as 'home' students for the full duration of their course, even if the course finishes after the UK has left the EU.

The government has also confirmed that EU students applying for entry in 2017-18 and 2018-19 will be eligible for home fee status, which means they are charged the same tuition fees as UK students. Other non-EU, international students do not have their tuition fees capped in this way.

EU students currently in higher or further education, who are eligible under current rules to receive loans and grants from the Student Loans Company will continue to do so for the courses they are currently enrolled on or about to start this coming year (2017-18) and for the duration of their course, even if the course concludes after the UK’s exit from the EU. The government has made the same commitment for students enrolling in 2018-19.

The government has confirmed that EU students will continue to remain eligible for undergraduate, masters, postgraduate and advanced learner financial support in the academic years 2017-18 and 2018-19. This will be the case even if the course concludes after the UK’s exit from the EU.

EU students who are currently in receipt of a scholarship which lasts for the duration of their course will maintain that. UK/EU students who are assessed by Student Finance England, as eligible for maintenance support will continue to be eligible for the QMUL Bursary.

More information on our undergraduate bursaries and scholarships for home and EU students is available here.

More information on our postgraduate bursaries and scholarships for home and EU students is available here.

EU nationals will also remain eligible to apply for Research Council PhD studentships at UK institutions for 2018 to 2019 to help cover costs for the duration of their study. More information on funding a PhD is available here.

Following the outcome of the referendum, Queen Mary confirmed our commitment to our values, recognising the great benefits that are brought to our community as a result of the diverse backgrounds of both our staff and students, and that the pursuit of academic excellence requires an outlook and activities that are truly international in their nature.

We want to assure you that here at Queen Mary, we are proud to be one of the most international universities in the world. Our work and our communities are enriched by a diverse staff and student community, who join us from over 150 countries. We benefit greatly from the diversity of perspectives and talents that derives from being such an international institution, and we will work tirelessly to preserve this special character.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has also made the following statement: “All EU citizens living in London – who make a huge contribution to our city – are very welcome here.”

QMUL strongly supports the #WeAreInternational and #LondonIsOpen campaigns.

The slides and QReview recording of a briefing session from a lawyer on 'Brexit and its implications for students' can be found on my.qmul.

The UK Council for International Student Affairs offers free advice to all students and applicants: www.ukcisa.org.uk/Our-services#RL

If you have any specific questions about your application to study at QMUL, please email EUstudents@qmul.ac.uk.


The European Commission has confirmed that EU law continues to apply to the full in the UK until it is no longer a member. This, therefore, also applies to the projects financed through the Erasmus+ programme.

The UK government and the EU have also now agreed that the UK will contribute to the annual budgets for the years 2019 and 2020 (the remaining two years of the EU budget after the exit) as if it remained in the EU. This means that UK universities and students will continue to be able to participate in Erasmus+ until the programme's end date.

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

The European health insurance card (EHIC) obtained from your country of residence is acceptable evidence of CSI, if your stay in the UK is to be temporary. If your stay is to be permanent, you are unable to get an EHIC card from your country of residence and do not have in place a reciprocal arrangement in respect of insurance which protects you, you will need to obtain separate insurance.

Home Office guidance contains detailed information (on pages 30 to 38) on what the UK government considers acceptable evidence of CSI.

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.

Every member state of the European Economic Area provides information about how to apply for an EHIC in that country.

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.

You can also find more information on comprehensive sickness insurance in our immigration FAQs.

If you are unable to get an EHIC card from your country of residence and your country does not have a reciprocal arrangement with the UK in respect of insurance, you will need to purchase comprehensive health insurance from a private company. The Home Office defines comprehensive sickness insurance as insurance that will “cover you (and your family members if applicable) for the majority of risks while you are in the UK”.

The Free Movement website has published a post containing useful information about comprehensive sickness insurance.

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 using form CR1. For all other EEA nationals, apply using form EEA(QP). Since 1 October 2016, there has been 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 QMUL confirming your enrolment on a course, either part-time or full-time. This can be obtained from the Student Enquiry Centre.
  • 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

Nothing has changed in relation to your ability to work in the UK and will not change while the UK remains a member of the EU. If there were to be any changes to your ability to work in the UK in the future, we would not expect these to come into place until formal agreements have been reached in relation to issues such as freedom of movement.

While the UK remains a member of the EU, citizens from member states have the right to live and work here. It is not expected that the UK will exit the EU until 2019. Any changes in circumstances will depend on the kind of relationship the UK negotiates with the EU.

There is currently no automatic EU-wide recognition of academic diplomas. However, QMUL degrees are recognised worldwide and we do not expect this to change.

No, this is not a requirement of remaining in the UK. Our lawyer’s view, however, is that making this application may well be good evidence of the right to live and work in the UK at a future date after Brexit takes effect. While the terms on which EEA citizens may stay in the UK after this are to be negotiated, our lawyer feels this may well help in, for example, showing a future employer the right to work. 

Please note, at the date of application for permanent residence, you need to prove at least five years’ residence in the UK. Applying for permanent residence is the mandatory step prior to being able to apply for British citizenship. 

For more information on applying for permanent residence as a student, see the immigration FAQs from our lawyer.

FAQs on making an application for permanent residence or naturalisation as a British Citizen

QMUL Advice and Counselling


Free Movement

Immigration Law Practitioners’ Association

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