The UK education sector is one of the most international in the world. Students and staff from the EU and beyond are extremely welcome. They make an enormous contribution to the UK and the success of its education institutions. 

Does the UK leaving the European Union affect students from the EU?

If you’re from the EU, EEC or Switzerland, and you’re thinking of coming to study in the UK, there are a few practical things that might change as a result of the UK leaving the EU. These depend on when you arrive in the UK.

If you are from the Republic of Ireland, these changes will not apply to you.

If you arrive in the UK before 31 December 2020, there’s very little that will change. If you arrive from 1 January 2021 onwards, there may be some changes. Many of these are still subject to negotiations, but the UK government, the British Council and universities in the UK are working hard to make any new arrangements as simple as possible.

The main changes are:

Arrive in the UK before 1 January 2021 No changes
Arrive in the UK after 1 January 2021 and start your course before 31 July 2021 Changes to immigration status, no changes to fee status
Arrive in the UK after 1 January 2021 and start your course after 1 August 2021 Changes to immigration status and fee status (for studies in England or Scotland)

More details on these changes are below.

Will EU students have to pay the same as international students to study in the UK?

At present, EU students have ‘home fee status’ in the UK. This means that if you’re an EU student, you pay the same fees as students from the part of the UK where your university is located (England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales). If you study in Scotland as an undergraduate, your tuition fees are paid by Student Awards Agency Scotland (SAAS). EU students studying in the rest of the UK as an undergraduate can apply for a government-funded student loan to cover their tuition fees.

This won’t change if you’re applying for a place at a university or further education institution in the UK in the 2020-21 academic year. You will continue to be eligible for ‘home fee status’ – in other words, you will be charged the same tuition fees as UK students and you can still apply for a government-funded student loan, or have your fees paid by SAAS if you are studying as an undergraduate in Scotland.

If you’re from the EU and have already started your course in the UK, you are also guaranteed your existing status for the duration of your studies. 

These guarantees apply for the full duration of your course, even if it finishes after 31 December 2020.

EU students who start a new course in England or Scotland after September 2021-22 will no longer be eligible for home fees. Instead, each UK university will set its own fees for EU students.  Northern Ireland and Wales will have separate arrangements. If you’re thinking of starting a course in the UK from August 2021 onwards, you will need check with the university you are applying to for more information about fees they will charge. 

EU students starting new courses in England or Scotland after September 2021-22 will also no longer be eligible for main UK student loans (Northern Ireland and Wales have separate arrangements). However, there may be other forms of financial support you can apply for. Find out more in the 'Scholarships and funding' section of our Study UK website.

Will EU students need a visa to study in the UK?

If you arrive in the UK before 1 January 2021, you will not need a visa. If you plan to stay in the UK longer than 1 January 2021 (for example, to complete your full course), you’ll need to apply online for the EU Settlement Scheme. The scheme is free of charge. You should apply as soon as possible after you’ve arrived in the UK.

Immigration rules for EU citizens who arrive from 1 January 2021 have not yet been announced. Please check the GOV.UK guidance for EU students  for updates.

Can EU students still come to the UK on the Erasmus+ exchange programme?

The UK will continue to participate fully in the current Erasmus+ programme, which lasts until the end of 2020. Participants who study, train, volunteer or spend time abroad through Erasmus+ exchanges that were confirmed during the current programme (2014-2020) can participate fully and for the full duration of their exchange. This covers UK participants going abroad and international participants coming to the UK. The UK’s participation in future Erasmus+ programmes is part of discussions between the UK government and the EU and has not yet been finalised.   

The British Council, the Erasmus+ UK National Agency (British Council and Ecorys UK) and Universities UK are strongly supportive of continued and full UK participation in Erasmus+ after the UK leaves the European Union, so that UK and EU students can continue to benefit from Erasmus+ opportunities over the longer term.

For the most up-to-date information on Erasmus+, go to the UK National Agency website.

Do these changes apply to UK nationals living in EU countries?

UK nationals who live in EU countries will be eligible for home fees if they start their studies in the UK before 1 January 2028. 

If you are a UK national and you’re thinking of studying in the UK, please contact the British Embassy in your country for more information about this announcement.

Where can I find more detailed information?

We will continue to update this page regularly. Please see below for additional official sources of information about UK higher education.

Further information

Student finance

For more information about EU nationals and student finance in the UK, please visit the following websites for each country to read their statement and check for any relevant updates.

Staying up to date