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EU Settlement Scheme

Key updates (10 September):

Read the latest information on travelling to the UK (England) and self-isolating.

Useful links: 

Attend a live webinar designed to provide EU, EEA and Swiss students with expert advice and guidance on the EU Settlement Scheme and visa information. Register here.

Quick question about the EU Settlement Scheme? Attend a live Question and Answer sessions, register here.

Since 31 January 2020, the UK has no longer been a member of the European Union (EU). A transitional implementation period is in place until 31 December 2020. Students entering the UK on or before 31 December 2020 will be able to study and work here without restriction as long as they apply for pre-settled or settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme before 30 June 2021, although we would recommend that students make their application before 31 December 2020 if possible.

Students entering the UK after 31 December 2020 will need to apply for a visa in the same way as any other non-UK national. More information about the two current student visas is available here: Tier 4 and Short Term Study.

Nationals of the Republic of Ireland are not required to apply for the EU Settlement Scheme and will not be required to apply for visas to study in the UK.

Who is eligible to apply for the EU Settlement Scheme?

All EU/EEA and Swiss national arriving in the UK on or before 31 December 2020. You do not need to have lived here for a long period of time or be exercising an EU treaty right. You are considered to be resident as long as you have entered and are currently living in the UK.

Do I qualify for settled or pre-settled status?

If you have lived in the UK for less than 5 years, you will qualify for pre-settled status. You will just need to prove that you are living here now (or if you apply after 31 December 2020, that you were living here before then). For currently enrolled Exeter students, you will just need a Student Status Letter from the University to prove this. You can download this from SRS. If you decide to submit your application with help from International Student Support, we can produce this letter in your appointment.

If you have lived in the UK for 5 years or more, you should qualify for settled status. You must not have been outside the UK for more than 6 months in any 12 month period, but there are exceptions to this in some cases, such as study abroad and work placements. You will need to provide documents covering the full 5 year period with your EU Settlement Scheme application. If you think you will qualify for settled status, we would strongly recommend booking an appointment with International Student Support to talk through your eligibility and the documents that you should prepare in your particular circumstances.

How to apply

The EU Settlement Scheme application is entirely free and is made electronically. In most cases, you will not need to send any original documents to the Home Office. The detailed process, including the application form and app are on the Home Office website: Apply to the EU Settlement Scheme

The first stage of the application is identity checks completed using an app on an Android or Apple device. Your passport details will be checked and the chip in your passport will be read. It will also take a scan and photo of your face. The second stage is a short application form completed via a web browser. You will then need to upload any documents that you are submitting as proof of your residency in the UK.

Applying for Pre-settled Status

Attend an EU Settlement Scheme live webinar for a more in-depth understanding and the opportunity to ask questions. Alternatively, you can watch the recording of a previous session.

Follow our step by step EU Settlement Scheme Application Guide to complete your identity checks and fill in and submit your application form and documents. We strongly recommend all students follow this guide step-by-step

If you have questions at any point during the process, attend one of our frequent EU Settlement Scheme Q&A sessions or email

Applying for Settled Status

If you are applying for Settled status, all of the above steps will still be useful to you. However, we also recommend that you book a 1 to 1 Digital Appointment (50 minutes) with an International Student Adviser as the eligibility and documentation requirements for Settled Status are much more complicated. Your adviser will help you make sure that you qualify for Settled Status and advise on the documents you need to prepare. We aren’t able to answer in-depth questions about Settled Status at our Q&A sessions – you will need a full appointment as each student’s situation is different. 

After your status is granted

Your status will be granted electronically, you will not receive a physical visa. When entering the UK, the status should be automatically visible to the Immigration Officer or e-Gate technology when you present your passport or national ID card. You are not currently required to provide evidence of your status to the University, but that may change in future years.

If you are granted Pre-settled status, you can remain in the UK for 5 years. If you wish to stay in the UK indefinitely, you must make sure that you maintain continuous residence, meaning that you are not outside the UK for more than 6 months in any 12 month period. For a limited number of reasons, you can be outside the UK for a single period between 6 and 12 months, but we would recommend that you seek advice from us. Once you have been continuously resident in the UK for 5 years, you will need to apply for Settled Status in order to remain indefinitely.

If you are granted Settled status, you can remain in the UK indefinitely. You can leave the UK for up to 5 years (if you are an EEA citizen) or up to 4 years (if you are a Swiss citizen) without affecting your status. Once you have had Settled status for 1 year, you may be able to qualify for British citizenship.


If you have any questions at all regarding the EU Settlement Scheme or your rights in the UK, attend one of our EU Settlement Scheme Q&A sessions or email and we will be happy to help.