Brexit Q&As for Students
Common questions answered on the implications of Brexit for students.
If you are unable to find a response below, have any further queries or wish to communicate to us about Brexit and how Ulster University can better support you, please email email@example.com.
Please note that the answers will be updated on a regular basis and a number of queries are currently in the process of being researched and will be added once confirmation received.
The UK left the EU on Friday 31 January 2020; for the next 11 months the UK and EU will enter a negotiations period with the aim of agreeing a deal. During the current period the potential implications of Brexit on the University remains, and the continued lack of clarity will be of concern to staff and students.
As an EU national Student will I still be able to study at Ulster University and how will Brexit impact on my immigration status? What is Settled/Pre-Settled status?
Yes, you will still be able to study and apply to study at Ulster University as an EU national Student.
The UK Government confirmed there will be no change to the immigration status of EU students and their family members who are already residing in the UK by exit day.
EU nationals who already live in the UK will be able to apply for ‘settled or pre-settled status’. This will enable them to live, work and study in the UK for as long as they like. The settlement scheme will open fully in March 2019 and close on 30 June 2021 or on the 31 December 2020 if the UK leaves the EU without a deal.
The EU Settlement Scheme will open fully by 30 March 2019. You may be able to apply now if you meet the criteria.
Update and Clarification:
Following reports in the media in early August, that the newly appointed Prime Minister, Boris Johnston had stated that freedom of movement would cease on Brexit Day, the UK's Home Office responded to clarify that this would not be the case.
On 19 August 2019; the UK Home Office issued a factsheet with reassurance that despite media reports to the contrary, all EU citizens and their family members in the UK still have until at least 31 December 2020 to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme, even in the event of a no-deal Brexit. Furthermore if someone who is eligible for status is not in the UK when we leave the EU, they will still be free to enter the UK as they are now.
Those who have not yet applied to the EU Settlement Scheme by Brexit Daywill still have the same entitlements to work, benefits and services. Those rights will not change. EU citizens will continue to be able to prove their rights to access these benefits and services in the same way as they do now.
A requirement of the Settlement/Pre-Settlement Application Scheme is that applicants must use the EU Exit: ID Document Check app for mobile phones to confirm their identity. If you do not have access to a compatible device, you have the option to either post away your passport or identification documents or have them scanned to be processed at a local centre. There is one centre in Northern Ireland located in Belfast.
UKVI Premium Service Centre
Law Society House
90-106 Victoria Street,
Email firstname.lastname@example.org to book an appointment to have your documentation scanned at Belfast UKVI Premium Service Centre.
UK Government Guidance has stated that EU citizens applying to the Scheme from 30 March 2019, will be able to send their passport or other identity documents by post if they do not wish to or cannot use the EU Exit ID Document Check App.
As from 21st October 2019, The ‘ID Document Check’ beta app is now available for iPhone 8 and newer models as well as Android Mobile Phones. The app will be available on the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus shortly following an upcoming iOS software update. The UK Government's Home Office has issued guidance on installing and using the app, including video and photograph guides
The following link provides a list of documentation which the UK Government will accept as proof of UK residence.
If you choose the option of:
- letter or certificate from your school, college, university or other accredited educational or training organisation showing the dates you enrolled, attended and completed your course
Please find details on how to fill in and obtain this document by following this link:
On 30th March 2019, the UK Government updated information on Assisted Digital support to use the EU Settlement Scheme online application form if you’re in the UK and do not have the appropriate access, skills or confidence to complete the form. This includes details of the locations and home visits for the Assisted Digital Support Service.
Applying from outside of the UK
The Gov.UK issued guidance also states that from 9 April 2019, EU citizens and certain family members will be able to apply to the Scheme from outside the UK, free of charge and based on their previous residence in the UK, without needing to travel here to make an online application. For details on this and further updates: Gov.UK - EU Settlement Scheme: Applying from Outside of the UK
It is advisable that for updates concerning the scheme, including detailed information on how to apply once it is fully live, will be posted here.
Proof of settlement status
Waiver of Fee and Refund update
In January 2019, the UK Prime Minister announced that settled status will be free for all applicants once the application scheme is fully opened on 30 March 2019. The Home Office have also now confirmed that those who have paid an application fee during the test phases will receive a refund after 30 March 2019. If you are due a refund you do not need to do anything and the UK Government will automatically refund the fee to the card that was used to pay it. An email will be sent to the contact address provided in the application, confirming when the refund has been processed.
You will be told in your decision letter if you can apply for the decision on your application under the EU Settlement Scheme to be reviewed. This is called an administrative review. Updated details are on the Gov.UK website pages.
Further information on the arrangements for EU citizens who are not yet resident in the UK can be found in the Secretary of State for Exiting the EU’s Written Ministerial Statement and the accompanying policy paper issued on 6th December 2018.
The following links provide up to date guidance from the UK Government as during the UK’s negotiation period with the EU there may be some changes made to the above.
- UK Government Guidance – EU Immigration after free movement ends if there’s no deal - (30th January 2019)
- UK Government Guidance – European Temporary Leave to Remain in the UK (published 28th January 2019)
I am a student from the Republic of Ireland, what additional measures will I have to take when the UK leaves the EU?
According to Government Guidance from both the UK and Irish Governments, Irish citizens will continue to have the right to enter and live in the UK. If there is no deal, these rights will continue under domestic Common Travel Area arrangements.
Even though you do not need to apply for settled status yourself, if you have family members from outside of the UK and Ireland they will need to apply.
The Irish Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade have also issued Guidance for those living in the Republic of Ireland.
Please also see FAQ below on Additional measures required for driving between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland
Are there future plans for student mobility when the UK leaves the EU?
On 12 September 2019, the UK Government announced a two year post-study work visa for international students.
UK Government Guidance for students from China:
UK Government Guidance for students from India:
EU national students
The UK Government in its white paper, The Future Relationship between the United Kingdom and the European Union, committed to ‘facilitating mobility for students and young people, enabling them to continue to benefit from world leading universities’ once the UK leaves the EU.
Universities UK (UUK), of which Ulster University is a member, is calling on the UK Government to use the upcoming Immigration Bill to ensure that future academic and student mobility is not impeded by unnecessary bureaucracy regardless of the immigration status of EU/EEA nationals after the UK has left the EU.
The UK Government is also in negotiations with governments of EEA countries (Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein) and Switzerland about the rights of their citizens.
As an EU national student, will there be a change to my fees following Brexit?
Update: On 4th June 2019, the Student Loans Company confirmed that EU students part way through their higher education courses, or starting in the 2020/21 academic year, will have guaranteed ‘home fee’ status for the duration of their courses in Northern Ireland (for eligible full-time undergraduate students in academic year 2020/21 this means their tuition fee charges will be up to £4,395).
The Department further confirmed that in respect of the future UK and Republic of Ireland (ROI) arrangements, it is the firm intention of both the Irish and UK Governments to protect the right of UK and ROI students to pursue higher education in the ROI and the UK, respectively. The Department will update legislation, as necessary, to ensure that the agreed Common Travel Area rights are properly reflected.
Will EU national students continue to be eligible to receive loans and grants?
EU nationals who are currently in receipt of student loans from Student Finance NI, and EU students applying for university places in Northern Ireland in the 2018/2019 and 2019/2020 academic years will continue to have access to student loans and certain grants, even if the course concludes after the UK’s exit from the European Union.
This applies to all student finance from Student Finance NI for students in Northern Ireland for which EU nationals are eligible and includes certain grants and loans to cover tuition fees.
EU nationals, or their family members, who are assessed as eligible to receive grants and/ or loans by the Student Loans Company will then be eligible for the duration of their study on that course.
After the UK leaves the EU, will professional qualifications I have be recognised?
The UK Government in its white paper, The Future Relationship between the United Kingdom and the European Union, has stated its intention to establish a system on mutual recognition of professional qualifications (MRPQ) that covers the same range of professions as the existing MRPQ Directive.
The UK Government has also issued a 'no deal' technical notice on professional qualifications in which it confirms that professionals arriving in the UK with EEA and Swiss qualifications after the exit date will have a means to seek recognition of their qualifications.
Where can I get further information on the impact of Brexit on EU National students?
If you would like more information on what is currently known about Brexit and how it may affect European students, UKCISA provide useful guides which can be found at the following links:
Will collaborative teaching and student exchange programmes with EU Universities continue after Brexit?
Collaboration across world-class research, innovation and teaching makes an impact on organisations, local economies and student and staff opportunities. In the context of Brexit, these links remain vital, fostering a dynamic exchange of talent and ideas through staff and student mobility. Ulster University enjoys longstanding, mutually beneficial partnerships providing rich student exchanges, innovation or research partnerships.
Ulster University's Vice-Chancellor Professor Paddy Nixon is continually lobbying at the highest level on issues affecting the university, including the recruitment of EU staff and students, research and impact funding and student mobility opportunities and has written to over 300 of our EU partners directly on our desire to continue to build on these well-established and successful relationships.
We echo the calls across higher education for sufficient funding and the minimising of regulatory barriers post Brexit in order that we can sustain our existing links and seek new ways to work in partnership in the future for the benefit of students, our universities and wider society.
What is the status of Erasmus+?
Ulster University values and is committed to student mobility to Europe and to continued co-operation with European partners and with partners from across the world.
There are ongoing updates to the Erasmus+ programme. We are closely monitoring the situation and will continue to provide further updates as soon as more information becomes available in the Brexit section of our Global Engagement webpage on Erasmus.
Ulster University would also encourage students to visit our Go Global webpage, which offers a range of study abroad programmes that offer a flexible range of options and destinations to enhance your study.
Update February 2020
The Withdrawal Agreement was ratified on 31 January 2020 meaning that UK has now agreed a deal and left the EU. The UK and the EU will now enter a transitional phase until 31 December 2020.
Under the Withdrawal Agreement the UK will continue to participate fully in the current Erasmus+ programme. This means that Ulster University's current Erasmus+ programme will continue to receive funding for the full duration of the project. Students will be eligible to apply for funding for work and study placements lasting until 31 May 2021. Students currently taking part in a 2019/20 Erasmus+ placement will continue to be funded as normal.
Any Erasmus+ projects in the UK or with the UK funded under the Erasmus+ 2020 call or earlier will continue to be funded by the European Commission as normal, even if activity takes place after 31st December 2020, and will run for the full duration of their grant agreements.
Be mindful, however (particularly for Erasmus+ work placements), that there is currently no clarity on the future UK-EU immigration system, and therefore, although all activities will be eligible for funding post-December 2020, some activities may be restricted. Negotiations on the future immigration system will most likely be forthcoming as one of the principle areas of discussion once the Withdrawal Agreement Bill is passed into UK law.
As an EU national, will I be able to apply for a part-time job while studying in the UK?
In the event of a no deal Brexit, according to UK Government Guidance; work and study will be permitted for those granted leave to remain for 36 months. Further clarity is being sought as there is no advice on whether both study and work are permitted during the first three months after arrival; however, there is nothing in the advice issued to say that either work or study would be restricted/prohibited.
- I have experienced problems obtaining Settled Status/Pre-Settled Status - is specialist legal advice on my immigration status available?
As an EU/EEA national, I currently use a non-UK issued driving licence, will this be valid following Brexit?
If you are considering changing your current driving licence to a Northern Ireland driving licence, please visit the NIDirect webpage for further information on how to go about this.
Please note that there has been an increase in unofficial websites offering online driver licensing. You cannot apply for a Northern Ireland driving licence online.
I am an EU national applying for Settled or Pre-Settled Status, however I have travelled home and have plans to go on holiday post-Brexit, what impact will this have on my application?
This will depend on the duration of your stay.
To be eligible for settled status, UK Government's Guidance outlines that this requires that you lived in the UK for at least six months in any 12 month period for five consecutive years prior to exit day. You’ll need to provide proof of this when you apply. If you have not lived in the UK for five consecutive years you may still be eligible for pre-settled status.
As a UK passport holder, where can I find further information on travelling to EU countries after the date the UK leaves the EU, if there is no deal?
The UK Government’s current guidance on travelling under UK passports to EU countries is that UK nationals will need a minimum of six months remaining on their existing passport prior to travelling to Europe. A passport checking service has been provided on the gov.uk website.
The UK Government has also issued specific guidance for UK passport holders wishing to travel after exit day, in the event of no deal, as new rules will apply depending on the country that you are visiting. There is also additional guidance to cover travel to the EU by land, sea or rail.
- Passport rules for travel to Europe after Brexit
- UK nationals travelling to the EU: Essential Information – Published 30 January 2019
What are the additional measures required for driving between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland as an UK or a Republic of Ireland driving licence holder?
Green Cards and IDPs
For UK driving licence holders; the Association of British Insurers (ABI) issued guidance (published on 17th January 2019), that if you live in Northern Ireland and drive to the Republic of Ireland or plan to drive your vehicle to mainland Europe after a no-deal Brexit you will need to obtain a Green Card to prove that you are insured. This can be acquired by contacting your insurer prior to travel.
On 22 July 2020, the Irish Government's Department of Transport confirmed that drivers travelling from Northern Ireland over the border to the Republic of Ireland after the transition period (1 January 2021 onwards) would be required to carry a green card.
Both businesses and individuals are recommended to obtain the Green Card at least one month before intending to travel (after exit day). Some motor insurance companies have automatically sent this out to their clients.
The Green Card is an additional document to your UK driving license which will be also be required during travel.
For Republic of Ireland driving licence holders, the Motor Insurers Bureau of Ireland has issued guidance on Green Cards in the case of a no deal Brexit.
On 13th March 2019, RTE News reported that the Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, told the Dáil that there will be a grace period for drivers crossing the Northern Ireland/Republic of Ireland border without a Green Card in the event of a no-deal Brexit. However, there is as yet no legislation or policy announcement to formalise this as yet.
If you are driving for work in the Republic of Ireland, you will require a valid Green Card in order to ensure mileage claims can be processed.
In a statement to BBC NI published on 22 July 2020, the Irish Government's Department of Transport confirmed that it would not be an offence under EU or Irish legislation for GB or Northern Ireland registered vehicles to drive in the Republic of Ireland without a GB sticker attached to the vehicle.
Will there be access to healthcare for EU students while at Ulster University?
In March 2019, the UK Government issued guidance on healthcare for EU and EFTA nationals living in the UK.
In the event of no deal, the UK Government has confirmed it will protect the rights of EU Citizens living in the UK, lawfully, on exit day, and have specified that this includes entitlements to NHS Cover, which will ensure that can continue to use NHS services as have done so.
Where can I find advice on healthcare access for UK travellers to EU National States?
In September 2019; UK Government Guidance on how healthcare might change for UK residents after Brexit when visiting the EU, Norway, Iceland, Liehtenstein and Switzerland was updated, and advises;
- get travel insurance to cover the duration of your trip
- speak to your doctor and insurance provider before you travel if you have a pre-existing health condition
The Department of Health and Social Care has also issued guidance entitled: Healthcare advice for UK Travellers in the event of a no-deal EU Exit.
The Department's Guidance states that all UK nationals planning to reside in, work or study in EU or EFTA states are strongly advised to check country-specific guidance that has been issued on Gov.UK (https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice). and NHS.UK (https://www.nhs.uk/using-the-nhs/healthcare-abroad/healthcare-when-travelling-abroad/) about healthcare arrangements if the UK leaves the EU without a deal.
What arrangements will I have to make before driving in other EU countries (except NI) if I have a UK driving licence?
UK Government Guidance entitled 'Driving in the EU After Brexit' published in August 2019, states that drivers with a UK licence are required to display a GB sticker on their rear of their vehicle. It specifies that this includes NI registered drivers who are travelling over the Irish Border to the Republic of Ireland.
Ireland's newspaper, The Journal, subsequently has produced a factchecker on the requirement of GB stickers for travelling in the Republic of Ireland if you are an NI driver: https://www.thejournal.ie/factcheck-brexit-gb-stickers-ireland-4793337-Sep2019/
Green Cards and IDPs
In the event of no deal being agreed, UK drivers who are taking their car to, or driving in EU countries (except for the Republic of Ireland), may require additional documentation alongside their UK driving license. Click below for guidance on International Driving Permits (IDPs).
UK driving licence holders now need a 1969 IDP to drive in Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bahrain, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Cote d’Ivoire, Cuba, Democratic Republic of Congo, Eswatini, French Polynesia, Georgia, Guyana, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Liberia, Moldova, Monaco, Mongolia, Montenegro, Morocco, Niger, North Macedonia, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Qatar, Russian Federation, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Serbia, Seychelles, South Africa, Tajikistan, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, Zimbabwe.
UK Government: International Driving Permits for UK drivers from 28 March 2019 for updates.
As an Irish passport holder, where can I find further guidance?
The Irish Government has published guidance online for Irish citizens living in Northern Ireland on a range of issues including access to healthcare, cross-border travel and rights which can be accessed at the following link: https://www.gov.ie/en/publication/060fdf-northern-ireland/
A UK exit from the EU does not change anything regarding entitlement to Irish citizenship. Further information is available on the Irish Government's Department of Foreign Affairs' website at https://www.dfa.ie/passports-citizenship/citizenship/
What do I need to do as an EU national to visit the UK after Brexit?
On 12 September 2019, the UK updated it's guidance on what will be needed to enter the UK for a visit in both a deal and no deal scenarios.
To check if you require a Visa to visit the UK, please click here
Irish citizens will be able to enter, work and study in the UK without a visa, as they can now.
- an EU country
- Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland