These Frequently Asked Questions are supported by Pinsent Masons. Questions have been anonymised for confidentiality reasons, but still cover the material points.
Please note, the answers provided are general advice for reference purposes only and should not be taken as specific advice based on your individual circumstances. If you have questions not answered below, please contact email@example.com or call 02890972559. Should you require more tailored advice, please contact a local immigration specialist.
The Government has launched a website to help businesses, organisations, individuals and families check what they need to do to prepare for leaving the EU, currently scheduled to be no later than 31 January 2020.
Any EU national, and their non-EU family members, who are living in the UK by 31 December 2020 will be able to register for "pre-Settled Status", and after 5 years they will qualify for 'Settled Status'. These new categories will permit residence, work, study and access to NHS/pensions/benefits in the UK.
Holders of pre-Settled Status will be able to be absent from the UK for up to 2 years before they lose their status. For Settled Status the permitted absence period is 5 years. If you get pre-Settled Status, you will need to make sure that you are not absent for more than 6 months in each year if you are working towards Settled Status, regardless of the 2 year absence rule.
The university is supporting those who wish to apply. Previously, the application for checking ID was only available for Android devices. If you require access to an Android device please contact International Staff Support on level 4 of the Administration Building.
The ‘ID Document Check’ beta app is now available for iPhone 8 and newer models. The app will be available on the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus shortly following an upcoming iOS software update.
The app will need access to your phone’s camera. If the app does not request access, please enable access in your settings.
If you require access to an Android device please contact International Staff Support on level 4 of the Administration Building.
The requirements for pre-Settled Status are much more relaxed than the requirements for Permanent Residence under the European rules. There are three core criteria that the applicant needs to meet:
If you have already been continuously resident in the UK for 5 years, and you satisfy the 3 core criteria (see 2.1 above), then you will be able to jump straight to Settled Status. If you obtain pre-Settled Status then you will need to move to Settled Status once you have been in the UK for 5 years.
This is yet to be properly defined by the UK Government. However please see the answer to 'What documents will I need to provide?' below, which covers the documents you will need to provide to prove residency.
This is required for Settled Status and means that you have been in the UK for at least 6 months in each of the last 5 years, except if you have been absent for:
The following relationships count as a family member for the pre-Settled and Settled Status scheme:
Some other family members may have a "retained right of residence" in specific situations. It is important to seek specialist advice if you fall into this category.
It is important to note that if your family member is an EU national and they live in the UK too, then they should qualify for pre-Settled or Settled Status in their own right. Therefore the above definitions will be important where your family member is a non-EU national.
EU national family members of British citizens will need to apply for pre-settled or Settled Status.
The Government has committed to keeping the documentary requirements to a minimum. The applicant will need to register on the app and upload a scan of their identity document. Alternatively there is an option where you can send your documents by post. The applicant will also be required to upload a recent digital photo of their face.
UKVI then will access records from the tax authorities (HMRC) and the Department for Work and Pensions. The applicant will then be prompted to upload scans of additional evidence where there are gaps in the data held.
The applicant will also be told whether they are being considered for pre-Settled or Settled Status. If you are told they are being considered for pre-Settled Status, then you will have the opportunity to send more documents to show that you ought to be considered for Settled Status.
Non-EU family members will also need to provide proof of their relationship to the EU citizen, for example marriage/civil partnership or birth certificate. Again, these can be scanned and uploaded onto the application. Non-EU family members, who don't already have a biometric residence permit, will need to provide their finger prints and get their photo taken at one of UKVI's application centres.
The types of documents you might need to prove residency are set out in the Annex in the Useful Information section.
Yes, to continue living and working in the UK all individuals relying on EU free movement rights will need to register by date of exit or end of agreed transition period. The only exceptions to the need to register are as follows:
The scheme is free.
Permanent Residence is a status under EU and European Economic Area ("EEA") law, which will not be recognised by the UK after 31 December 2020.
Yes, to continue living and working in the UK after exit date, you will need to register by the exit date (or end of transition period). Those who already hold Permanent Residence in the UK will be able to switch to Settled Status, free of charge, as long as they register by exit date (or end of transition period). Holders of Permanent Residence won't need to prove that they have been resident for 5 years.
These countries are not members of the EU but their citizens currently have the right to free movement. The nationals of these countries are now able to apply for settlement.
Where the child is an EU national and they are living in the UK, then they will qualify for pre-Settled or Settled status in their own right. Dependants under the age of 21 will qualify for Settled Status as soon as their parent does, even if they have not been resident in the UK for 5 years.
The position of children born in the UK to EU parents depends on the date on which they were born. Some children born in the UK qualify for British citizenship and would need to go through the registration process for this, which currently costs £1012.
If you are an EU citizen (except Irish and British citizens) in this situation, then the UK Government has confirmed that you will be protected.
This means that if you live in the Republic of Ireland but work in Belfast then you will be able to continue to do so. We don't yet have any information on what you will need to do to register as a frontier worker (as you won't meet the residency requirements for Settled Status). We expect that you will be able to continue as you are now until at least the end of any agreed implementation period.
The most recent guidance for those residing outside the UK can be found here. If you move to the UK within the qualifying periods you, and your family members, will have access to the settlement scheme. Further details can be found at EU Settlement Scheme: frontier workers and their family members.
If an EU national has worked in various member states and acquired private pension rights in those various states and now lives in the UK, each will have accrued on the basis of the law in the relevant member state, and the member will retain a right to a deferred pension from each of those private pensions.
Brexit may impact on the member's pension in the following situations. However, the effect of Brexit on current pension arrangements is uncertain and so the situation needs to be reviewed and monitored as the detail on the Brexit deal (and the implementation of that deal) continues to emerge.
If you wish to amalgamate your pension rights from within the EU you are able to do so by transferring them subject to certain conditions to your UK scheme. These conditions may change following Brexit.
There is also the Qualified Recognised Overseas Pension Scheme (‘QROPS’) regime where HMRC recognises certain overseas schemes which have met conditions and registered with HMRC. This scheme affords beneficial tax treatment on pension transfers for such recognised Schemes. This regime broader than EU law and so is unlikely to change following Brexit although the individual schemes that have QROPS status may be subject to change.
It is ultimately the decision of the trustees or provider of a pension scheme whether or not they accept a transfer.
There are currently taxation treaties in place which EU nationals benefit from when drawing their pension from another EU country to ensure that it can be paid in a tax neutral way. If these were to change where an individual were to draw their pension from an EU member state while in the UK they may encounter tax inefficiencies and costs. However, it is unlikely that these will be impacted as the UK has double taxation arrangements in place with many countries. Although, this will need to be monitored for changes as a result of Brexit.
The position on drawing state pension from another country whilst resident in the UK will also need to be monitored.
It is now expected the UK will leave the EU on 31 January 2020 with a transition period extending until 31 December 2020. This means that “no-deal” provisions will not apply and freedom of movement will remain until the end of the transition period.
EEA and Swiss nationals resident in the UK before the end of the transition period will be eligible to apply to the European settlement scheme and applications from those resident in the UK before 31 December 2020 will be accepted up until 30 June 2021. Anyone who is resident in the UK but is outside the UK on 31 December 2020 will still be able to apply. However, given the uncertainty of the situation staff are advised to make application before the currently scheduled date if possible.
The Home Office expects to introduce a new immigration system in January 2021 and EEA nationals entering the UK after December 2020 will be subject to the new system.
The ID checking application for the EU settlement scheme is now available on iPhone 7 and 7Plus and later models as well as Android. If you require access to an android phone to make your application, there are a number of phones with the application available in People and Culture on level 4 of the Administration Building. Please contact International Staff Support at firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange use of a phone.
Settled or pre-settled status recognises and protects your status as a European citizen who has been resident in the UK before the UK exits from the EU. As it confirms your current status there is no need to notify the University.
You do not need to apply if you are an Irish citizen but you can if you want to. Your family members from outside the UK and Ireland will need to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme. If your family members have a UK permanent residence document they will still need to apply.
You do not need to apply if you have indefinite leave to remain or enter but you can if you want to. Your family members from outside the UK and Ireland will need to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme if they do not hold indefinite leave. If you or your family members have a UK permanent residence document you will still need to apply.
It is recommended that staff and students follow the advice provided by:
Sign up for alerts from Selective Travel to stay up-to-date with travel news.
It will benefit you to use Selective Travel to book all your travel requirements as they will manage any travel disruption issues including management of the associated costs.
Preparing to travel
Travelling with equipment
If you are arranging travel to the EU with sports, exhibition or other equipment please read the advice provided by the UK Government.
There will be no immediate changes to travel if the UK leaves the EU with a deal. The rules would be the same until at least the end of 2020.
UK passport holders may be subject to additional checks that could result in delays following Brexit. To minimise this risk leave more time than usual when travelling.
Make sure passports for everyone travelling are valid for at least 6 months after the date of your planned trip. Monitor the online advice, some countries may require entry visas after Brexit.
European Health Insurance Cards (EHIC) may no longer be valid for UK citizens in the EU. The University is a member of U.M. Association Ltd (UMAL), and as a result, staff and students are covered by travel and medical insurance while on University business. This insurance cover will apply to EU countries after Brexit.
The EU may introduce a ‘travel authorisation fee’ for travellers coming from outside the Single Market.
Mobile Data Roaming Charges
The EU has abolished mobile data roaming charges. Travellers from the UK should be aware that after the UK leaves the EU, mobile data roaming changes may again apply. Staff and students should take action to ensure that they do not inadertently incur substantial charges.
UK drivers may potentially need to apply for a European Driving Licence and obtain an insurance Green Card if driving in the EU.
Travel risk assessment
Carry out a travel risk assessment. Travellers are advised to identify the potential travel risks through a risk assessment associated with the area to which they are travelling and to ensure that appropriate measures are taken to minimise such risks. This includes contacting their GP to ensure they are fit for travel and ensuring that their immunisations are up to date.
Sufficient funds to cover costs
EU countries may require travellers from the UK to provide evidence, on entry to the country, that they have sufficient funds to cover their costs while in the EU. Using Selective Travel to book and pay for accommodation assists this. If required information on accessing a cash advance is provided in section 5.7 of the University Staff Expenses Policy.
During the transition period, the status quo will remain. Guidance on driving in the EU after Brexit is available here.
Freedom of movement for European nationals remains in place until 31 December 2020. This means that EU, EEA and Swiss citizens will be able to enter the UK as they do now after the date of leaving the EU, currently scheduled to be no later than 31 January 2020.
Irish citizens will be able to enter, work and study in the UK without a visa as they can now.
EEA national ID cards are being phased out for travel to the UK during 2020 so use of passport is recommended.
From January 2021, EU, EEA and Swiss nationals who do not hold settled status will require a visa to travel to the UK. However, it has been agreed that short visits will remain visa free and the UK proposes introducing a system similar to the American ESTA and the European ETIAS for visits of no more than 90 days in any 180 days.
During the transition period UK nationals can continue to travel to the EU/EEA and Switzerland as previously until December 2020. The Council and the European Parliament have agreed that from January 2021 UK citizens will be granted visa free travel as long as the UK reciprocates. UK nationals will be required to use the European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS) to travel to Europe. ETIAS will allow short visits not exceeding 60 days in total in a 180 day period. It is advisable to check entry requirement updates for the country you are visiting before travelling.
It is expected that current arrangements will continue until 31 December 2020 after which point a new immigration status will be required.
A reciprocal visa waiver scheme has been agreed for short stay tourist and business visitors but requirements for longer visits or work visas will determined by individual states so it is important to check requirements for your destination well in advance.
If there is a deal between the UK and the EU at the point of Brexit, it is expected that the UK can continue to participate in Erasmus until the end of the current cycle of the programme, which is 2020-21. Erasmus mobility and the associated funding should, therefore, continue as normal for students and staff due to undertake placements in 2019-20.
If the UK leaves the EU with no deal, continued participation in Erasmus is less certain. The following guidance has been provided by:
The UK Government has said that it will negotiate with the European Commission about inclusion in Erasmus in 2019‑20 but those negotiations will not start until after the point of Brexit. The Government had previously indicated that, in the event of no-deal, it would underwrite Erasmus grants for the 2019-20 academic year. This funding guarantee has recently been withdrawn. Queen’s University is committed to supporting Universities UK, as they lobby Government to reconsider this decision. Senior management at Queen’s are also currently considering alternative funding options and will update staff and students when new information becomes available.
The UK’s participation in the Erasmus successor programme, for the period 2021-2027, is subject to further negotiation between the UK Government and European Commission.
The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) applies to all member states in the EU (and EEA states). GDPR restricts the free flow of personal data from locations within Europe to locations outside Europe without appropriate safeguards in place.
When the UK exits the EU, GDPR will no longer be law in the UK.
Whilst the UK government has confirmed that the UK will allow data flows from the UK to Europe to continue, transfer of personal data from EU countries to the UK will be restricted unless appropriate safeguards are in place.The UK Government, the Information Commissioner’s Office and the European Commission have each issued guidance on how to prepare for Brexit in the area of data protection in the event of a no deal. If you are currently in receipt of personal data from a country in the EEA* you may continue to receive this information provided “appropriate safeguards” in the form of signing up to the EU Standard Contractual Clauses (SCCs) are in place. If these are not in place, or you are not sure, please contact the Information Compliance Unit for advice.
*The following countries are in the EEA: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Republic of Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, UK, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway.
This page was last updated on Monday 20 January 2020.
Queen's University Belfast is committed to Equality, Diversity and Inclusion.
For more information please read our Equality and Diversity Policy.
Queen's University Belfast is registered with the Charity Commission for Northern Ireland NIC101788
VAT registration number: GB 254 7995 11