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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 arrived or will 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.

Arriving in the UK on or after 1 January 2021

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.

Arrived in the UK on or 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.

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, even if you started your course remotely before 31 December 2020.

If you have lived in the UK before 31 December 2020 and have only been absent from the UK due to Covid-19, it is possible that you will still qualify for the EU Settlement Scheme. Contact visaadvice@exeter.ac.uk immediately with information about your previous residence and absence from the UK and one of our advisers will advise on your particular situation.

You will no longer qualify for a status under the EU Settlement Scheme and will have to apply for a visa to remain in the UK. You may have to leave the UK and apply for your visa from overseas. Visas are much more expensive and complex to qualify for. They are also restrictive in terms of the activities that you can do and are time-limited. You are unlikely to be able to apply for a visa which will allow you to live permanently in the UK. If you fail to apply for the EU Settlement Scheme before 30 June 2021 but want to carry on with your studies, you will likely need to leave the UK and apply for a Student visa.

You can apply either inside or outside the UK. If you decide to apply from outside the UK, you may need to show additional evience of your residence prior to 31 December 2021.

If you have lived in the UK for less than 5 years:

You should qualify for Pre-settled status. You will need to prove that you were living in the UK on or before 31 December 2020.

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

  • Student status letter from the University. You can download and print a digitally signed and stamped student status letter from the self-service letters section of your Student Record (SRS).
  • If you are applying from outside the UK, we would recommend that you include additional proof of your physical residence in the UK such as accommodation contracts, boarding passes, etc.

If you started your programme after 31 December 2020, you will need:

  • Student status letter + additional evidence that you arrived in the UK on or before 31 December 2020, such as boarding passes and accommodation bookings. We recommend that you seek advice from International Student Support if you are in this situation by emailing visaadvice@exeter.ac.uk or attending one of our Digital Drop in sessions.

If you have been (or continue to be) absent from the UK due to Covid-19, you may still be eligible for the EU Settlement Scheme but will likely need additional documents. Please contact visaadvice@exeter.ac.uk for advice.

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. There are also exemptions for absences due to Covid-19. For all Settled status applications, you will need to provide documents covering the full 5 year period.

Acceptable documents include letters from education providers (including the University, other universities or colleges, and any UK schools you may have attended), UK bank statements, or National Insurance Records showing that you have been working. These are the most common documents that students use to prove their continuous residence but there are many others that you can use.

If you think you will qualify for Settled status, we would strongly recommend you contact us at visaadvice@exeter.ac.uk or book a 50 minute digital appointment to talk through your eligibility and the documents that you should prepare in your particular circumstances. Remember if you do not yet have any status under the EU Settlement Scheme and you think you are eligible, you must apply by the deadline of 30 June 2021. If you will qualify for Settled status after the deadline, even by a few days, you need to apply for Pre-settled status before the deadline or you will not be eligible to make any application under the EU Settlement Scheme.

The EU Settlement Scheme application is entirely free and is made electronically. You will use the same process to apply for Pre-settled or Settled status, although the documents are different, detailed above.

Identity checks

The first stage of the application is identity checks completed using the EU Exit 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.

Application form

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. The application form (and detailed process) is available here: Apply to the EU Settlement Scheme.

Documents

In most cases, you will not need to send any original documents to the Home Office. You will upload scans of your supporting documents (see above section for advice on the documents to prepare) at the end of your application form.

How we can help

Our EU Settlement Scheme Application Guide will help you to complete you identity checks and fill in and submit your application form and documents. Please note, since 31 December 2020 there may now be additional questions you need to answer as part of the application process. If you have questions at any point during the process, attend one of our Digital Drop in sessions or email visaadvice@exeter.ac.uk and an adviser will be happy to help.

Your status will be granted electronically, you will not receive a physical document. You will be given a secure log-in to access the electronic record of your status and you will be able to share your status with anyone who requires evidence. In the future this will include employers, education providers, landlords, etc. 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.

Pre-settled status

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. If you think you might want to stay in the UK permanently, however, 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.

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 Digital drop-in sessions or email visaadvice@exeter.ac.uk and we will be happy to help.