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Updates for European students regarding Brexit and visas

01 Dec, 2020
Updates for European students regarding Brexit and visas

On Wednesday 25th November, our Regional Manager for Europe, Thomas Santini-Mayer and Admissions Manager Daniela Baptista held an informative webinar aimed at clarifying some of the new rules and procedures that will come into effect when the Brexit transition period ends on 1st January 2021.

Below we look at some of the main points highlighted with regards to visas, insurance and working rights.

Main changes from 1st January 2021

Firstly, it’s important to note that whilst changes may apply at the border, nothing will change at Kings. As normal, we look forward to welcoming our many European students, who help make up our varied, diverse and welcoming student communities.

It’s also important to note that changes outlined here will apply not only to EU students, but also to students in countries of the EEA (which includes Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein) and Switzerland too.

Some of the most important changes from 1st January are as follows:

  • Students arriving after this date and who intend to study for longer than 6 months will need to apply for a visa before they travel to the UK).
  • Visas will not be required for Young Learners on summer courses, on English courses, or academic courses if they are shorter than 6 months in length and run by an accredited institution, such as Kings.

Pre-settlement option until 31st December 2020

Any student who is already in the UK, or able to arrive in the UK before 31st December 2020 is eligible to pre-settle under the EU settlement scheme. This is a simple process, which our schools can assist with, and means that they still have the right to work, to access free health care and to pay home status fees for university.

Anyone who receives pre-settled status has it for 5 years, after which point they can apply for permanent residency, or settled status —giving them indefinite permission to remain in the UK.

Types of visas as of 1st January 2021

For those students who wish to study for longer than 6 months, the following types of visa are available to students arriving from 1st January 2021:

Short-term Study Visa for English language courses of 6-11 months.

  • These need to be applied for before the student travels to the UK.
  • Kings will issue a digital visa letter and accommodation/transfer confirmation for the visa application.
  • Students will need to visit a visa application centre to submit their biometrics.
  • No minimum language level is needed.
  • The visa can be applied for up to 3 months before the course start date on the visa letter.
  • Students must be 16 or over to apply.

Student Visa (previously Tier 4) for courses lasting longer than 6 months.

  • Any student aged 18+ must apply for a Student Visa.
  • Students under 18 must apply for a Child Student Visa (unless they are studying a Foundation course).
  • European nationals can apply for their visa online and submit their biometrics using a government app.
  • Kings will issue a CAS (Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies).
  • Students will need to show that their English level meets the minimum CEFR B1 level with a Secure English Language Test(SELT).
  • EU nationals do not need to prove enough money to support themselves as listed under the ‘differential evidence requirement'.
  • EU students applying for visas to study for longer than 6 months will be able to use a new UK immigration ID check app, which uses a chip in the passport to verify the applicant’s identity.

Please note that those students who wish to study for less than 6 months will be issued a Standard Visitor Visa when they arrive at the airport or point of entry to the UK.

  • Kings will issue a digital visa letter and accommodation/transfer confirmation for students to show the immigration officer at the airport/entry point.
  • No minimum language level is required.
  • Under 18s need to travel with parental consent documents.
  • Students on a Standard Visitor Visa who want to extend a course within the expiry of the visa they are on, can do so without leaving the UK. Visa extensions from within the UK are not allowed.

Working rights as of 1st January

As of next year, European students without a visa (those studying for less than 6 months) will not be allowed to work in the UK while studying at Kings; this includes completing unpaid internships or work experience placements. They are, however, still able to gain experience through volunteering with a charity or voluntary sector organisation – something which many of our students already do.

Those students with a visa (specifically those who are 16-17 and on a Child Student Visa) might be allowed to work up to 10 hours per week.

Students over 18 can work whilst at a UK university — usually up to 20 hours per week.

Student insurance as of 1st January

A significant change as of next year is that medical care will no longer be free of charge for European students.

  • Any students coming to do courses that are less than 6 months should make sure they travel with insurance that covers medical costs, in case they want to see a doctor for non-emergency matters.
  • They will, however, still get emergency treatment in the UK, even if they don’t have insurance. They can also get free Coronavirus tests in the UK, and – should they test positive – would be eligible for free treatment if required.

Students who come to study for longer than 6 months and have a Student Visa (Child Student Visa or Short-Term Study Visa) are eligible to access the National Health Service. This is for a cost of £470 per year, which is paid as part of their visa application.

Those students who arrive before 31 December and get pre-settled status will be able to access the National Health Service free of charge.

We hope this gives a useful insight into some of the changes that will come into effect next year for EU, EEA and Swiss students coming to the UK.

Please contact us with any further questions, although there are useful resources with more information on post Brexit regulations on the UK Government website:

Find the right visa

Apply to the EU Settlement Scheme (settled and pre-settled status)

Student visa

Child Student visa

Standard Visitor visa

Study English in the UK (Short-term study visa)