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If you are from the EU, EEA-EFTA states or Switzerland, and you are studying at Sotheby’s Institute of Art study in the 2020/21 academic year, there are important immigration changes that we need to make you aware of because of the UK leaving the EU on 31 January 2020. These changes depend on when you arrived, or will arrive, in the UK.

Overview Immigration Changes The EU Settlement Scheme Useful Links

Immigration Changes

If you arrive in the UK before 31 December 2020, there is very little that will change as long as you register for the EU Settlement Scheme. If you are an EU citizen and you start living in the UK by 31 December 2020, you and your family can apply to the EU Settlement Scheme and continue living in the UK after 30 June 2021. The deadline for applying is 30 June 2021.

If you arrive from 1 January 2021 onwards, there are changes because the UK government has announced the introduction of a new UK points-based system. EU, EEA and Swiss national will be included in the new points-based system, and will require a visa to enter, work, live and study in the UK. For most students, this will mean applying for a student visa, similar to the current Tier 4 student visa route, full details have not yet been confirmed but the UK Government has created tailored guidance, which can be found here. Please note the Government has not yet published the detailed rules.

If you do arrive in the UK from 1 January 2021 onwards, you will need to apply for a student visa if you are studying a course, which is longer than six months in length. You will need to complete an application, pay an application fee (£348 fee for students as at September 2020), and have a current passport or other valid travel document. You will also need to pay a fee called an Immigration Health Surcharge. This gives you access to the UK’s National Health Service. Students receive a 25 per cent discount on the usual cost of this surcharge. Details of costs will be available shortly.

These new arrangements will take effect from 1 January 2021, once freedom of movement between the UK and European Union (EU) has ended.

If your course begins in January 2021, we strongly recommend that you enter the UK before the end of 2020 if possible, so that you can enter the UK without a visa and apply for the EU Settlement Scheme.

After completing a degree course on a student visa, you will then be eligible for the new graduate immigration route (post-study work visa) to stay and work in the UK for a further two years – or up to three years after a PhD course

To recap 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)

The EU Settlement Scheme

EU citizens (includes workers and students) who are (i) in the UK by 31 December 2020 and (ii) apply under the EU Settlement Scheme by 30 June 2021 do not need to make an application under the UK’s new Points Based Immigration System.

Settled status Indefinite Leave to Remain is granted to EU citizens who have lived in the UK for at least five years.

Pre settled status Limited Leave to Remain is granted to EU citizens who have not yet reached five years. They can apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain once they have lived in the UK for
five years.

The process for the EU Settlmenent Scheme is free and usually quick. Applications are usually
made by way of a smartphone app.

Advantages of making the EU settlement scheme application:

  • It is your opportunity to protect your residence in the UK after 31 December 2020
  • It is free of charge, whereas there is likely to be a charge for applications under the new immigration system from 1 January 2021
  • You do not need to pay an Immigration Health Surcharge and will be able to continue to access the UK health services, whereas there is likely to be a charge for this under the new immigration system from 1 January 2021
  • It is a straightforward and short online application, in most cases it will take only half an hour to complete
  • EU citizens in the UK can continue to work and study in the UK without having to apply for additional immigration permission after 1 January 2021
  • Holding this status will mean that there will be no restrictions on study (where you study or what you study)
  • Holding this status will be the most straightforward status to have when travelling to and from the EU before 31 December 2020 as well as after 1 January 2021 when free movement will end

The deadline for applying for EU settlement is 30 June 2021, however, we recommend that you apply as soon as possible, particularly if you will travel between 1 January 2021 and 30 June 2021, to ensure that you are not considered under the new immigration rules when you return to the UK. The application process is straightforward and free. Depending on how long you have been in the UK you will get either pre-settled status, which allows you to stay for a further 5 years from that date or settled status, which allows you to stay in the UK for as long as you like.

If you wish to apply for EU settlement, please follow the steps below:

  • 1) prepare your supporting documents: if you don't have a National Insurance number and/or haven't been working in the UK for 5 years you will need to obtain a student status letter to prove when you commenced studies. Other documents, such as a tenancy agreement can be used as evidence that you were living here if you moved to the UK before you started your studies.
  • 2) prove your identity: download the EU Exit ID Document Check app onto an Android device and use it to prove your identity by scanning your face and passport. You can also prove your identity by mail or at an identity document scanning location, list of these locations here.
  • 3) log in and complete the application online

The documentary requirements on the application process is available here.