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EU Settlement Scheme

EU Settlement Scheme

EU Settlement Scheme

EU Settlement Scheme

EU Settlement Scheme

The UK completed its exit from the EU on 31 December 2020. EU/EEA and Swiss students who were resident in the UK on or before 31 December 2020 are in a different situation from those who are due to arrive on or after 1 January 2021. Note that nationals of the Republic of Ireland can continue to travel and study freely in the UK and do not require a status under the EU Settlement Scheme or a visa.

Students wishing to apply for a status under the EU Settlement scheme must apply by 30 June 2021.

Do I need a visa or a status under the EU Settlement Scheme?

You will need a visa to travel to and study in the UK. For courses of more than 6 months, you will require a Student Visa. For courses of less than 6 months you will likely need a Visitor visa. Unfortunately, you do not qualify for the EU Settlement Scheme, even if you started your course remotely before 31 December 2020.

You are considered ‘resident’ if you are an EU/EEA or Swiss student who entered the UK on or before 31 December 2020 and are currently living here. You can remain in the UK without a visa as long as you apply for a status under the EU Settlement Scheme by 30 June 2021. The rest of this page explains how to do this. 

What status should I apply for under the EU Settlement Scheme? 

Pre-settled statusYou will need to prove that you were living in the UK on or before 31 December 2020. Pre-settled status will be granted for 5 years and allows you to travel to, study and work in the UK without restriction. You can leave the UK for up to 2 years without losing your Pre-settled status. 

Once you have been resident in the UK for 5 years, you can apply for Settled status to remain in the UK permanently. If you think you might like to apply for Settled status in the future, make sure that you are aware of the requirements now as there are stricter restrictions on time spent outside the UK in order to qualify. 

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. You will use the same process to apply for Pre-settled or Setlted status, although the documents are different. 

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. 

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 

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. If you are applying for Pre-settled status, you may be able to do this without assistance. If you are applying for Settled status, we recommend that you attend an appointment with International Student Support (see Documents for Settled status below). 

If you have questions at any point during the process, attend one of our Drop-in sessions or email visaadvice@exeter.ac.uk and an adviser will be happy to help. 

Documents for Pre-settled Status 

Evidence you will need: 

If you were enrolled on your Exeter programme before 31 December 2020: 

  • Student Status letter from the University 

If you started your programme after 31 December 2020: 

  • Student Status letter 

  • Additional evidence that you arrived in the UK before 31 December 2020 such as boarding passes, accommodation bookings. We recommend that you seek advice from International Student Support if you are in this situation. 

If you have any questions at all, please contact International Student Support at visaadvice@exeter.ac.uk or attend a Q&A session.

Documents for Settled Status 

You will need documents proving that you have been in the UK for the past 5 years and have not been outside the UK for more than 6 months in any 12 month period, except for the specified exemptions. These documents might letters from education providers, UK bank statements, or National Insurance Records showing that you have been working. 

If you are applying for Settled status, all of the above stepsincluding our EU Settlement Scheme Application Guide 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 more complicated than for Pre-settled status. Your adviser will help you make sure that you qualify for Settled Status and advise on the documents you need to prepare in your particular situation. We aren’t able to answer in-depth questions about Settled Status at our Drop-in 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 will likely change later in 2021. 

You can remain in the UK for 5 years. If you do not wish to stay in the UK permanently, you can leave the UK for up to 2 years and retain your Pre-settled status until its expiry date. If you think you might want to stay in the UK permanentlyhowever, there are stricter rules regarding absences from the UK. 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 of up to 12 months, but we would recommend that you seek advice from International Student Support before doing this. 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. 

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.

I have studied remotely during 2020/21 due to Covid-19. Will I still qualify for the EU Settlement Scheme or do I need to apply for a visa? 

If you did not live in the UK before 31 December 2020, then you will need a visa to come to the UK to complete your programme., 

If you have lived in the UK at some point during 2020, but have had to return home due to the Covid-19 pandemic, it is possible that you will still qualify for the EU Settlement Scheme. This depends on how long you were resident in the UK for, how long you have been outside the UK now, and the reasons for your absence. Please contact visaadvice@exeter.ac.uk with the above information and one of our advisers will advise on your particular situation. 

Questions? 

If you have any questions at all regarding the EU Settlement Scheme or your rights in the UK, attend one of ouDigital Drop-in sessions or email visaadvice@exeter.ac.uk and we will be happy to help.