Brexit & English language students from the EU

Last updated 21 August 2019

Students from the EU can currently study in the UK without a visa

The UK's decision to leave the European Union has not yet affected entry requirements for international students.

Students from the EU, EEA and Switzerland can currently study in the UK without a visa. They can enter with their passport or ID card. 

After the UK leaves the EU there will be a new system, but it will still be easy for students to enter the UK.

In the short term, we do not expect many changes for EU students

If the UK leaves the EU with an agreement

If the UK leaves with an agreement, there will be no change for EU/EEA and Swiss students until 31 December 2020. Until then, students will be able to work and study as they do now.

If the UK leaves the EU without an agreement

If the UK leaves the EU on 31 October 2019 without a deal, some changes will take place which will have a small impact on long-term students.

The current government policy says that EU/EEA and Swiss students will be able to study without a visa for up to 3 months. If they plan to stay for more than three months they will need to apply for permission to remain (European Leave to Remain). This will allow them to stay in the UK for up to three years.

The government has made it clear that all EU citizens resident in the UK by 31 October 2019 will be welcome to stay and they are eligible for the EU Settlement Scheme.

In the future, there will be a new immigration system for all visitors

It will still be easy for EU/EEA/Swiss students to enter the UK. The expected changes are:

  • all visitors will require a passport to enter the UK
  • EU/EEA and Swiss visitors will need to apply in advance for an Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA), which the UK Government says will be cheap and easy. 
  • When students arrive, they will receive a short-term study visa. 

Will students still be able to use ID cards to enter the UK?

The UK government currently accepts ID cards for entry to the UK. In the future, we expect that all visitors to the UK will require a passport to enter the UK.

Whatever happens, there will be an "implementation period" while laws are changed. The current government policy is that ID cards will be accepted for entry until 31 December 2020.

What will happen to Erasmus+ programmes?

If there is an agreement between the UK and the EU, Erasmus+ programmes are likely to continue as now until the end of 2020.

If there is no agreement, the UK government is keen to guarantee that the UK will continue to participate in Erasmus + programmes until the end of 2020. 

Confused? Contact English UK for advice

If you are unclear about these changes, please contact the English UK team.