BCU and Brexit

At a time of ongoing uncertainty about the future 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 20 September 2019


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.

EU, EEA and Swiss citizens starting courses in England in the 2020/21 academic year or before, and their family members, will remain eligible for undergraduate and postgraduate financial support and Advanced Learner Loans for the duration of their course, if they meet the residency requirements.

It has also been confirmed that EU students starting courses in the 2019/20 or 2020/21 will still be able to access undergraduate or postgraduate financial support throughout their course, even if the UK has left the EU by the time that course ends. 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’. More information on the Settlement Scheme can be found below.

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. It is not clear yet whether or not EU students will be able to apply for Doctoral Loans after the UK leaves the EU; we will provide more information on this as it becomes available.

Coming to the UK to study

On 5 September 2019, the Government published new advice setting out the different arrangements that will apply to EU citizens who are moving to the UK after Brexit on 31 October 2019 and their family members.

After 31 October 2019, EU citizens who move to the UK will be able to 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 move to the UK after Brexit and who do not apply for Euro TLR will need to leave 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.

The immigration arrangements described above do not apply to those EU students and citizens who are resident here before 2300 hours on 31 October 2019 and their family members.

In the event that a deal is reached between the UK and the EU, there will be no change to the immigration status of EU students who are already here or who arrive before the end of the government's planned Brexit implementation period on 31 December 2020. EU nationals who already live in the UK, or who arrive by 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 has 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 will end on 31 October 2019, if the UK leaves without a deal.  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. This will happen during 2020. 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 beyond this date to complete their studies, or who wish to stay permanently, but details of this process will depend on the outcome of Brexit.

Erasmus / study abroad

Students due to study abroad during the 2019/20 academic year on the Erasmus+ scheme may be affected by no deal Brexit, but both BCU and the UK Government have taken steps to ensure that any disruption is minimised. BCU has registered all of our Erasmus+ programmes with the Government to ensure that they are covered by the Government’s guarantee of funding in the event of no deal.

Depending on the outcome of the final exit agreement (if any), 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 it has not been confirmed what the rules will be for longer work or study opportunities.

If the UK leaves without a deal, 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, once the outcome of Brexit is known.

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

Students on placements abroad

Depending on the outcome of the final exit agreement (if any), 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 it has not been confirmed what the rules will be 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 Brexit.

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 Brexit can be found here.


After Brexit, your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) card will not be valid if the UK leaves without a deal. 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 UK leaves the EU, 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 around 31 October

For the period surrounding 31 October, there may be additional disruption to travel if the UK leaves the EU without a deal – both for UK and EU nationals, travelling in either direction.

According to the official Government advice, after Brexit, 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.  It may be wise not to travel on or around the 31 October 2019 if the UK leaves without a deal; if travel is necessary, contingencies should be built in including insurance, and additional funds for emergency accommodation and food. 

Travel and 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 after a no deal exit, and it can no longer be assumed that entry requirements within the European Union will be the same as before Brexit. The Schengen Agreement will still be in place across Europe allowing free unhindered travel between signatory states, but it has not yet been confirmed what visa or entry documents will be required for UK citizens post-Brexit by the EU. The Home Office will be advising shortly. 
  • Driving in the EU after Brexit: There is a set of conditions that will now be applicable to UK drivers in the EU after Brexit. Please see the Government advice here, as it is likely you may need to apply for separate documents including a green card.