Below are the responses to Frequently Asked Questions regarding the impact of Brexit on students.
Please note, the answers provided are general advice for reference purposes and should not be taken as specific advice based on your individual circumstances. If you have questions not answered below, please visit the contacts and support page.
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.
The UK gave formal notification of its intention to withdraw from the European Union (by triggering Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union), on 29 March 2017.
Negotiations were initially concluded in November 2018, but were re-opened during 2019 and led to a revised Withdrawal Agreement being agreed in October 2019. That agreement still needs to be approved by the UK and the EU and so the date by which the UK is now expected to leave the EU has been extended to 31 January 2020. Until then, and unless the Withdrawal Agreement is approved by the UK and the EU before the end of December 2019, the UK remains a member of the European Union. During this time there is no change to the position of EEA nationals and their family members in the UK which means students and their family members can continue to exercise their residency rights in the UK.
The Home Office has continued to update their information to provide assurances and information for EEA nationals currently in the UK, and those wishing to come to the UK.
The UK Council for International Students (UKCISA) has a range of information on line for EEA students and their dependents, including how to apply for settlement scheme, should you wish to. The information includes blogs by students who have applied for settled status as well as other regular updates as information becomes available.
The Government has stated that it is committed to negotiating a deal before the deadline. However the Government has also published information on plans in the event of there being no deal on the future relationship of the UK with the EU, including the impact this will have on those wishing to work or study in the UK.
The exact details about the future implications for residency for EEA nationals and their family members, including students, who wish to come to or remain in the UK are not yet clear. As details emerge these pages will be updated.
The arrangements for EU students commencing their studies in 2019/20 and beyond is still to be confirmed, and will depend upon the withdrawal arrangements from the EU. Please refer to the links in the introduction which will provide you with the latest information issued by the UK Government.
EU students part way through their Higher Education courses, or starting in the 2019/20 or 2020/21 academic year, will have guaranteed ‘home fee’ status for the duration of their courses in Northern Ireland.
This will be the case whether the UK leaves the EU with a transitional arrangement, or leaves without a withdrawal agreement (“no deal”).
EU nationals who are already in receipt of student loans from Student Finance Northern Ireland, and EU students applying for university places in NI in the 2019/20 and 2020/21 academic years will continue to have access to student loans and certain grants, irrespective of a ‘deal’ or ‘no deal’ Exit from the EU.
This applies to all student finance from Student Finance NI for students in Northern Ireland for which EU nationals are eligible. This includes certain grants and loans to cover tuition fees (for those resident in the EEA for three years), loans and grants for maintenance (limited to those resident in the UK for at least three years), and some other grants and allowances.
Student Finance NI will assess these applications against existing eligibility criteria, and will provide loans and/or grants in the normal way. EU nationals, or their family members, who are assessed as eligible to receive grants and/ or loans will be eligible for the duration of their study on that course.
Yes. There will be no immediate change to your right to work as a result of the vote. Currently students who require a visa to enter the UK are permitted to work though there are some restrictions on the hours students can work while studying full time.
Please see the Erasmus Students section below.
No, we will honour any bursaries or stipends you have been offered by the University for entry in 2019/20.
Information on the settlement scheme can be found in the links in the introduction.
Under EU law you have a right to be in the UK to study and work and are not required to have proof of this entitlement. This right will remain whilst the UK remains a member state of the EU which will be for at least until the date of leaving the EU, currently scheduled to be no later than 31 January 2020, and during any transitional period which may be agreed as part of a withdrawal deal. So far the UK government has sought to assure EU citizens currently in the UK that their rights will be protected. Under the terms of the proposed withdrawal agreement they have confirmed that EU citizens and their families will be able to apply for 'settled status' now.
For information on how to apply for settled status please see Stay in the UK after it leaves the EU ('settled status'): step by step
The government has also published plans in the event of a no deal Brexit and about which students should make themselves aware.
No – if you are current student your fees will not change for your current course.
Yes - as a current student, there will be no change to your access to student loans as a result of the vote and you will continue to receive student finance for the duration of your course.
Yes. There will be no immediate change to your right to work as a result of the vote. Please be aware however that the University advises full time students not to work more than 15 hours a week, regardless of visa status.
No - As a current student, there will be no change to any scholarship you were awarded when you started your programme. If you receive any scholarships which are assessed annually you will continue to be considered for those scholarships in line with their criteria
Please see the Erasmus Students section below.
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.
In a no-deal scenario, the following guidance has been provided by:
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.
If you will still be on your Erasmus placement at the point of Brexit, we recommend that you read the guidance for UK nationals that has been published by the UK Government and by the European Commission in the event of a Brexit with a deal or Brexit without a deal.
The following UK Government website provides information on the rights and status of UK nationals living and travelling in the European Union:
It indicates that, if there is a deal between the UK and the EU at the point of Brexit, the Withdrawal Agreement allows for a transition period, during which time UK nationals will be able to visit, live and work in the EU broadly as they do now.
The Government has also provided some guidance for UK nationals about travelling to or within the EU, in the event of a Brexit with no deal:
In addition, the European Commission has published a press release and guidance on the no-deal scenario at:
The guidance from the Commission indicates that in the event of “no-deal”, UK citizens who, after Brexit, wish to visit the EU for a period of more than 90 days will require a “residence permit or a long-stay visa from the national migration authorities”. There is no detailed guidance at this point on how this would work in practice.
As you will appreciate, negotiations between the UK and EU are still ongoing and we are monitoring the situation closely. We will continue to update you as further information becomes available.
Whether you have a compulsory year abroad in Europe in 2019-20 or are considering an optional Erasmus placement, you should continue to apply through your Queen’s School in the normal manner. Please contact your School Erasmus Programme Director for guidance on the application process. Their details and other useful information is available here.
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 due to undertake study or work placements in 2019-20.
If the UK leaves the EU with no deal, continued participation in Erasmus is less certain. 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 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 students when new information becomes available.
Queen’s University is committed to the importance of student mobility and the opportunities that it provides to its students. We will continue to monitor and review the situation closely and will update students accordingly.
We currently have student exchange agreements with a large number of universities all across Europe and are committed to those relationships. We expect to continue to be able to accept incoming exchange students. Please contact your home university for guidance on their selection process and the availability of funding.
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.
International Driving Permits (IDPs)
Driving in the Republic of Ireland
If you hold a UK driving licence, and intend driving in the Republic of Ireland following a no deal EU Exit, you will not need an International Driving Permit. This is because the Republic of Ireland does not require IDPs to be held by driving licence holders from non-EU countries. More information on driving in the Republic of Ireland is available on the NI Direct website.
Driving in other EU and EEA countries
If there is no deal EU Exit, UK Driving Licence holders may need an IDP, in addition to your UK driving licence, to drive when visiting EU and EEA countries. To find out more please visit theUK government’s online guidance.
Motor Vehicle Insurance – 'Green Card'
A motor insurance Green Card is evidence of motor insurance cover when driving abroad. If there is a no deal EU Exit, and the European Commission does not make a decision ensuring that UK registered vehicles will not be checked for proof of insurance, drivers of UK registered vehicles will need to carry a motor insurance Green Card when driving in the EU and EEA. This requirement applies to driving in the Republic of Ireland. Staff or students driving in the EU, while on University business, will therefore, require a Green Card. The way to get a Green Card is dependent on the following circumstances:
University Fleet Vehicles
Staff and students using their own vehicle to drive in the EU after a no deal EU Exit should acquire a Green Card from their motor insurance provider.
Use of Personal Vehicles for University Business
The University’s insurance provider, UMAL will supply Green Cards for the University’s fleet vehicles. A member of staff or student driving a fleet vehicle in the EC must ensure that they have the Green Card for the vehicle with them..
Staff or students hiring a vehicle to drive in the EU after a no deal EU Exit will, for a limited period of time, need to buy motor insurance from the Hire Vehicle Provider and ensure that the vehicle provider supplies a Green Card before the vehicle is driven in the EU. It is anticipated that the requirement to include motor insurance when hiring a vehicle will be a temporary measure for a short period following a no deal EU Exit. The University is working with UMAL to put in place arrangements where UMAL will be able to provide Green Cards for hired vehicles to enable the University’s UMAL insurance cover to provide cover. Additional information is available on the UK Government’s website.
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 or European Temporary Leave to Remain 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.
If there is a deal in place UK nationals can continue to travel to the EU/EEA and Switzerland as they do now 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.
If there is no deal freedom of movement will continue until December 2020 and the agreement on reciprocal visa exemption from January 2021 will still apply. However, the European Health Insurance Card will no longer be valid and travel insurance will be required that meets your healthcare needs. It would also be worth ensuring that your passport has at least 6 month’s validity remaining at time of application.
This page was last updated on 7 November 2019.
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