Check what immigration permission you need to study at Sussex if you’re an EU citizen.

Your status as an EU national

Most EU citizens studying at Sussex will normally have one of the following:

Defining ‘EU citizen’

The term “EU citizen” refers to citizens or dual-nationals of the EU, EEA (Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein) and Switzerland.

Your status is set out as part of the UK government’s EU Settlement Scheme.

Irish nationals do not need to apply under this scheme as they continue to have free movement in the UK under the Common Travel Area guidance.

Proof of status

You may need to prove your status to live or work in the UK. You may also need to provide this to the University in the future.

You can access proof of your status through the UK government’s online checking service.

Pre-settled status

If you have pre-settled status, you can stay for five years from the date you were granted pre-settled status. You status remains valid as long as you are not absent from the UK for more than two years.

With pre-settled status you can:

  • work in the UK
  • use the National Health Service
  • enrol in education or continue studying
  • access public funds such as benefits and pensions, if you’re eligible for them
  • travel in and out of the UK.

Moving from pre-settled to settled status

You can apply for settled status once you reach five years of continuous residency under pre-settled status.

Absences from the UK may affect your eligibility; there are strict rules on how long you are permitted to be outside of the UK to qualify for settled status.

You are allowed absences of:

  • up to six months in any 12-month period, and/or
  • a one-off period of between six and 12 months for “an important reason” (for example, childbirth, serious illness, study, vocational training or an overseas work posting).

See information on the “continuous qualifying period” in the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS) caseworker guidance.

There is also detailed guidance on the concessions for EUSS applicants who have been studying remotely due to Covid-19 [PDF].

Tip: The 3 Million Group has set up a questionnaire to calculate absences from the UK and see how they could affect an application for settled status.

Settled status

Those granted settled status can stay in the UK as long as they like – in other words, you can remain in the UK indefinitely and continue to study and work without restriction.

You can also access any public funds you may be eligible for and use the National Health Service (NHS). You are free to travel in and out of the UK.

After obtaining settled status, you can spend up to five years outside the UK without losing your status and you can choose to apply for British citizenship.

Student visa-holder

If you have neither pre-settled status nor settled status, you'll have a Student visa or a Standard Visitor visa (if coming to study a course of less than 6 months, for example as an exchange student).

If you did not make an application to the EU Settlement Scheme, you will need a Student visa to study a course of longer than 6 months in the UK.

See our visa guidance for current students.


The EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS) came into effect because the UK exited the EU as a result of Brexit on 31 January 2020.

The UK entered a post-Brexit transition period, which ended at 11pm on 31 December 2020.

The deadline for applying to the EUSS was 30 June 2021.

EU nationals living in the UK before 31 December 2020 needed to make an application by the EUSS deadline and be granted either settled or pre-settled status, depending on how long they had been living in the UK.

Contacting us

If you have any questions about your immigration status in the UK following Brexit, get in touch using our international advice form.

Our international advisers are the only staff at the University of Sussex qualified to give immigration advice relating to study.

They can offer advice on matters related to obtaining pre-settled status and the conditions of this status; they cannot offer immigration advice on obtaining settled status in the future (including how absences from the UK could affect your eligibility) and applications for family members.

See more from Applying for a student visa