BCU and Brexit

At a time of significant change in the relationship between the UK and Europe, the University is committed to supporting staff and students through the Brexit process.

We continue to value and welcome students and staff from other EU countries, and remain dedicated to ensuring ongoing positive relationships with our partners across the continent and beyond.

As a university we remain committed to our role in maintaining the cross-border flow of scholarship – and of scholars – which adds such value to our institution and to wider society.

Staff advice can be found here (login required)

If you are a BCU student and have any concerns about how Brexit will affect you, please speak to your school office in the first instance. We will continue to update these pages as the situation develops.

Pages last updated 4 January 2021


The government has previously stated that EU nationals starting courses in the 2019/20 or 2020/21 academic years will continue to be eligible for ‘home’ fee status, meaning they will pay the same amount as UK students.

It has also been confirmed that EU students starting courses in 2019/20 or 2020/21 will still be able to access undergraduate or postgraduate financial support and Advanced Learner Loans for the duration of their course, if they meet the residency requirements. Please find the Government guidance on undergraduate student finance here. In order to keep accessing that finance for every year of their course, EU students may need to apply for ‘settled status’.

EU, EEA and Swiss nationals will also remain eligible to apply for Research Council PhD studentships for 2019/20 and 2020/21 throughout the duration of their research period. EU nationals with settled status or indefinite leave to remain are also able to apply for Doctoral Loans.

Coming to the UK to study

The Government has published advice setting out the different arrangements that will apply to EU citizens who wish to remain living in the UK after the end of the transition period on 31 December 2020.

EU citizens who move to the UK can apply for a 36 month temporary immigration status - European Temporary Leave to Remain (Euro TLR). Applications to the new Euro TLR scheme will be simple and free and will be made after arrival in the UK.

EU citizens who did not apply for Euro TLR will need to have left the UK by 31 December 2020 unless they have applied for and obtained a UK immigration status under the UK’s new points-based immigration system.

There will be no change to the immigration status of EU students who are already here or who arrive before the end of the Brexit transition period on 31 December 2020. EU nationals who already lived in the UK before 31 December 2020, will be able to apply for either settled status, for those who have lived continuously in the UK for at least five years, or pre-settled status, for those who have lived here for less than five years. The Settlement Scheme opened fully on 30 March 2019 and the deadline for applications will be 30 June 2021.

Leaving the country and returning

Free movement as it currently stands under EU law ended on 31 December 2020.  EU citizens will enter the UK as they do now, using their passport or national identity card. They will be able to use eGates if they are travelling on a biometric passport, and they will not face routine intentions testing (for example, asking for your purpose for entering the UK).

The UK will also be phasing out the use of EEA national identity cards for travel to the UK. You will not be able to use these cards after 1 October 2021. BCU will monitor updates to this scheme and advise students when they will need to take action, which may include applying for a passport.

The UK government has stated that it intends to make provisions for both students who want to remain in the UK to complete their studies, or who wish to stay permanently.

To prepare for travel to EU/EEA countries after the transition period, you may wish to use the following checklist:

  • Visit GOV.UK for information regarding immigration requirements of the country you are travelling to if the reason for your visit is work or study, or if you intend to remain for longer than 90 days in any 180-day period.
  • Check that your passport complies with the Schengen entry requirements. Priority services are available for more urgent travel, at an additional fee. 
  • Ensure that you have documentation required by immigration authorities, such as proof of sufficient funds for the duration of your stay or a return ticket. 
  • Continue to buy comprehensive travel insurance, as UK-issued EHICs may no longer be valid, depending on the country you are visiting. If you have pre-existing medical conditions, which would have been covered by the EHIC, you should discuss insurance cover with your GP and insurer.
  • Contact the relevant EU country’s authority to see if you need to start paying any social security contributions in that country.
  • If intending to drive in the EU, familiarise yourself with the information on documents that may be required.
  • Check the roaming policy of your mobile operator. Charges to make calls, receive messages and browse the internet may have changed.
Erasmus / study abroad

Projects approved during the 2014-20 Erasmus+ programme will continue to receive EU funding for the duration of the project. The European Commission has proposed that UK nationals are still able to travel visa-free to the EU for short stays of up to 90 days, but there will be different rules for longer work or study opportunities.

UK nationals may also be required to ensure that their passports have at least six months’ validity on their passports from the date of their arrival in the EU.  For EU nationals, dependent on the length of your travel we recommend that you seek advice before your trip.

We will continue to provide more information as it becomes available.

Students on placements abroad

There may be implications for visas and/or work permits in the country you are staying in. The European Commission has proposed that UK nationals are still able to travel visa-free to the EU for short stays of up to 90 days, but there will be different rules for longer work or study opportunities.

Passports: check if you need to renew

UK students and staff may need to renew their British passport earlier if travelling after the end of the transition period.

On the day you travel, you’ll need your passport to:

  •          have at least six months left, and
  •          be less than 10 years old (even if it has six months or more left).

If you do not renew it, you may not be able to travel to most EU countries and Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland.

It usually takes three weeks if you need to renew your passport. There’s a premium service if you need it sooner.

Full Government travel advice for UK nationals after the transition period can be found here.


Following the end of the transition period, your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) card will not be valid. This means you will have to get private travel insurance to ensure that you can access healthcare without large medical bills if you fall ill in the EU while visiting, or suffer an accident.  It’s particularly important you get travel insurance with the right cover if you have a pre-existing medical condition. This is because the EHIC scheme covers pre-existing conditions, while many travel insurance policies do not.

Healthcare for EU citizens after Brexit

If you are an EU citizen living lawfully in the UK on the day the transition period ends, you will be able to use the NHS, as you can now, after that date.

British citizens who live in Ireland and Irish citizens who live in the UK will continue to have the right to access healthcare in these countries after the UK leaves the EU. Irish citizens or British citizens living in Ireland will not have to pay for necessary treatment when visiting England.

Travel disruption 

For the period immediately after the end of the transition period, there may be additional disruption to travel – both for UK and EU nationals, travelling in either direction.

According to the official Government advice, the following will be able to run as before:

  • flights
  • ferries and cruises
  • the Eurostar and Eurotunnel
  • bus and coach services between the UK and the EU.

If you’re flying:

  • Airport security procedures will not change for direct flights to and from the UK
  • There should not be delays at airport security if you change flights in EU airports.

Before you travel, you should check with the company you’re travelling with for any unexpected delays caused by other factors; for example, checks around freight at ports may cause problems for your journey. 

Travel advice: further information sources (UK citizens only):

  • The main Government advice page specifically for travel can be found here. 
  • We would recommend signing up for email updates, as the advice is updated almost daily.
  • For advice for each individual country, please see the pages here.  If you need to travel between EU and EEA countries, or travel from the rest of the world back into the EU and the UK, countries may treat UK citizens differently, and entry requirements within the European Union will not be the same as before the end of the transition period. The Schengen Agreement will still be in place across Europe allowing free unhindered travel between signatory states.
  • Driving in the EU: There is a set of conditions that will now be applicable to UK drivers in the EU after the end of the transition period. Please see the Government advice here, as it is likely you may need to apply for separate documents including a green card.