On the 23rd of June 2016 the British people decided in a historical referendum to exit the European Union. Since then, both the EU and the British citizens are still facing uncertainties about what the future has to offer for the inhabitants of the island country. The following article aims to clarify the European Union citizen’s rights after Brexit. Moreover, the economic aspect will be addressed to prepare future students for what university life in the United Kingdom might look like.

The European Settlement Scheme

For the future EU students wishing to follow a university degree in the UK during the academic year 2020/2021 they do need to register for the European Settlement Scheme. The European Settlement Scheme “processes the applications of European Union (EU) citizens currently living in the UK to allow them to remain in the UK after Brexit went live on 21 January.”[1] As an EU citizen, studying in the UK will require an application for the European Settlement Scheme by the 31st of June 2021. The deadline represents the end of the transition period in which the UK finds itself after leaving the EU.

To apply for the EU Settlement Scheme, you will need proof of:

  1. Your identity
  2. Your residence in the UK, unless you have a valid permanent residence document, or valid indefinite leave to remain in the UK.

[1] EU Student Advice | British Council. study-uk.britishcouncil.org, https://study-uk.britishcouncil.org/moving-uk/eu-students.

Your rights

The rights of  European citizens are not neglected. Therefore, following the Withdrawal Agreement signed between the UK and the EU, it is stipulated under Article 13: “The host State may not impose any limitations or conditions for obtaining, retaining or losing residence rights on the persons referred to in paragraphs 1, 2 and 3, other than those provided for in this Title. There shall be no discretion in applying the limitations and conditions provided for in this Title, other than in favor of the person concerned.”The first and second paragraphs concern Union citizen’s rights negotiated between the UK and the EU to facilitate no infringement upon EU citizens living in the UK. As a result, European Union students starting their academic journey in Autumn 2020 would not suffer any major changes regarding their residency status. As long as European citizens arrive in the UK before the 31st of December 2020, there is very little that will change. After the 1st of January 2021, changes may appear, but they are still subject to negotiation between the EU and the UK. 

[1] “New Withdrawal Agreement and Political Declaration.” GOV.UK. www.gov.uk, https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/new-withdrawal-agreement-and-political-declaration; New Withdrawal Agreement doc. ; Article 13, paragraph 4, p.26


From a financial perspective, as the British Council suggests: “At present, EU students have ‘home fee status’ in the UK. This means that if you’re an EU student, you pay the same fees as students from the part of the UK where your university is located (England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales). You can also apply for UK student loans. This won’t change if you’re applying for a place at a university or further education institution in the UK in the 2020-21 academic year.” As for the rights of the European citizens, the financial schemes are still the same as during the UK was a member of the European Union. Due to the transition period, changes in the educational sector do not take place. Further details regarding changes in the near future ( after the end of 2020) have not reached the public yet. Very important, the British Council reassure us that the benefits which are granted for EU students could not be taken away once given. In other words, after enrolling in the university in Autumn 2020, the same fees would cover your whole academic years with no changes along the way.\

Erasmus +

The European program of education, Erasmus + is not abandoned by the UK government in terms of its importance for future generations willing to benefit from exchanging experiences Therefore, the UK’s Department for Education stated: “As previously set out, the government remains open to considering participation in some elements of the next Erasmus+ program, provided it is in the UK’s interest to do so. This does not include the European Solidarity Corps (ESC) program”[1] Of course, we could not predict the outcome of EU-UK negotiations, but it is important to take into consideration UK’s ( as the country leaving the European Union ) willingness to maintain educational benefits. 

[1] The Transition Period | Erasmus+. https://www.erasmusplus.org.uk/the-transition-period. ; the latest statement from the Department for Education

[1] EU Student Advice | British Council. study-uk.britishcouncil.org, https://study-uk.britishcouncil.org/moving-uk/eu-students.

You should also check out the best mobile plans for international student here. We also have a great piece on the best bank accounts for international students, you can find that here.


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