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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)

The UK is now in a 'transition period' until 31 December 2020. It is no longer a member of the EU, but most of the rules will apply as before until that date. Arrangements for after the end of the transition period are still to be decided.

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 19 February 2020


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 the 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’. 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; we will provide more information on this as it becomes available.

Coming to the UK to study

The Government published new 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.

After the transition period, 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 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 were resident here before the end of the transition period, 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 Brexit transition 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 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 after the end of the transition period, which runs until 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. 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 any final Brexit deal.

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. After the transition period, charges to make calls, receive messages and browse the internet may change.
Erasmus / study abroad

Students due to study abroad during the 2020/21 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 exits the transition period 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 final 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 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.


After the transition period, your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) card will not be valid if the UK leaves without a deal, or if the card is not part of any 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 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 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, 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 end of the transition period 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 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 the end of the transition period. 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 by the EU. The Home Office will be advising shortly. 
  • 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.