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European & EEA students 

Living, working and studying in the UK

Please find below some helpful information for European and EEA/Swiss national students who wish to study in the UK

Brexit Information:

Statement from the United Kingdom Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) 
The UK held a referendum on 23 June 2016 to decide whether it will remain in the European Union. The result of the referendum was that 51.9% of
those who voted chose to leave the EU. Currently the UK remains a member of the EU and, therefore, there is no immediate change to the position of EEA nationals in the UK.

We do not yet know what the future implications will be for EEA nationals and their family members who wish to come to, or remain in, the UK to study. This will depend on how the UK and EU might agree to deal with transitional arrangements about the position of current and new students. We expect the detail to be negotiated now that the referendum has taken place. Any negotiations are likely to take some time, as there are many aspects of the UK’s relationship to the European Union which
will need to be considered.

If you are an EEA national or the family member of such a person and are currently pursuing an application to study in the UK for the academic year 2016/17, please note that we do not yet know the longer-term situation, but will publish relevant information here as soon as it becomes available.

October 2016: News Update:

In October, the funding bodies in England, Wales & Scotland made announcements regarding student finance for EU nationals for 2017/18. It appears that EU students (and family members) commencing study on an eligible course in Autumn 2017 will be eligible for student finance in the normal way and will continue to be eligible for the duration of their study on that course.

Please check the UKCISA website for regular updates on the effects of Brexit on European students.

European Directives provide that: Nationals of EEA member states and Switzerland have a right to reside in a member state for three months without conditions other than holding a valid passport or national identity card.

If nationals of EEA member states or Switzerland wish to stay on in the UK for more than three months to study, they must meet the following requirements:‌‌

  • Be enrolled on a course of study at a government registered instituion
  • Have sufficient resources to avoid becoming a burden on the UK's social security system
  • Be covered by comprehensive sickness insurance (an EHIC issued in your home country may be acceptable if you are not planning to be in the UK indefinitely)

More information on Comprehensive Sickness Insurance can be found on the UKCISA website

A student only has to meet these requirements if he/she is not in the UK under some other European Directive capacity: for example as a worker or self employed person.

Nationals of following countries are citizens of the European Union (EU).

Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Republic of Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden & UK.

Nationals of the following countries are European Economic Area (EEA) nationals

Iceland, Liechtenstein & Norway as well as all the EU countries listed above.

Swiss Nationals

Switzerland is not a member state of the EU or EEA but Switzerland has an agreement with the EU and EEA which allows Swiss nationals broadly the same rights as EU & EEA nationals in the UK

Statement from the United Kingdom Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) 

The UK held a referendum on 23 June 2016 to decide whether it will remain in the European Union. The result of the referendum was that 51.9% of those who voted chose to leave the EU.

Currently the UK remains a member of the EU and, therefore, there is no immediate change to the position of EEA nationals in the UK.

We do not yet know what the future implications will be for EEA nationals and their family members who wish to come to, or remain in, the UK to study. This will depend on how the UK and EU might agree to deal with transitional arrangements about the position of current and new students. We expect the detail to be negotiated now that the referendum has taken place. Any negotiations are likely to take some time, as there are many aspects of the UK’s relationship to the European Union which will need to be considered.

If you are an EEA national or the family member of such a person and are currently pursuing an application to study in the UK for the academic year 2016/17, please note that we do not yet know the longer-term situation, but will publish relevant information here as soon as it becomes available. See UKCISA EU Referendum information

No. EEA & Swiss nationals do not require a visa or entry clearance to come to the UK. Like British citizens your passports are not stamped on entry to or exit from the UK. No formal time limit is placed on your stay in the UK. To enter the UK, you just need your National Passport or National Identity Card.

Most students are able to obtain a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) from their country of residence prior to coming to the UK. This card allows EEA nationals to get the same medical treatment, which is free to residents of the country they are visiting, without being charged. The UK government has produced a leaflet about EHIC and access to medical treatment while in the UK.

In addition, if you are exercising your right to reside in the UK as a student or self-sufficient person, you are required to have comprehensive sickness insurance throughout your period of residence in the UK. Having an EHIC satisfies this requirement if you are not intending to be in the UK permanently.

It is important that you obtain this card before you leave your country of residence. If you have lost or forgotten your EHIC, you may be able to obtain a 'provisional replacement certificate'. This document is equivalent to the European Health Insurance Card. The website of the European Commission says:

It acts as a replacement if the European Health Insurance Cardholder has lost or forgotten his Card, or if the sickness insurance institution is unable to issue the applicant with a European Health Insurance Card prior to his departure. It has the same value as the European Health Insurance Card.

You cannot apply for this card in the UK and without it you could be charged for using the NHS unless you have alternative, adequate medical insurance.

If you want to learn more about using your EHIC, use this app in 25 languages.

Every member state of the European Economic Area provides information about how to apply for an EHIC in that country.

For information on financing your studies in the UK - Tuition Fee loans and maintenance loans and grants please see the Student Money Advice & Rights (SMART) webpages.

Nationals of Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Republic of Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden & Switzerland and their dependants.

Yes you can work. There are no restrictions on the type of work or the number of hours.

Croatian nationals

Croatia joined the European Union on 1st July 2013. However, Croation nationals, whilst able to benefit from some of the rights of EU membership, do not have full unqualified access to the UK labour market yet and there are some restirctions in place.

You will need to apply for a registration certificate using form CR1 (fee £65) if you are in the United Kingdom as a self employed person, a student or a self sufficient person. There are some exemptions. If you are exempt from worker authorisation you can apply for a registration certificate as a worker or jobseeker. The Home Office can only consider an application for a registration certificate if you are already in the United Kingdom. Apply as soon as possible as you will not be able to work until you obtain this permission.

Croation students who apply for a registration certificate will be able to work up to 20 hours per week during term time and unlimited hours during the official vacation periods.
More information on the work restrictions for Croation students can be found on the UKCISA website.

As an EEA/ Swiss student, you and any dependants must pay National Insurance (NI) contributions if you work, in the same way as UK citizens. National Insurance contributions only commence when you start earning in excess of £155 a week (equivalent to £8,060 per year). National Insurance is deducated at 12% after the earnings threshold until you start earning over £815 a week (equivalent to £42,380 per year) above which NI contributions are at 2%.

If you are working in the UK you will need to apply for your unique National Insurance (NI) number.

National Insurance card

Applying for a National Insurance Number

To apply for a NI number you will need to telephone the Jobcentre plus NI allocation service helpline on 0845 600 0643. They will make sure you need a number and arrange for you to undertake an evidence of identity interview at a local jobcentre.

You may apply for an NI number while you are looking for work. You may even begin work without an NI number, but once you have started then you should apply for an NI number if you haven't already got one. Your NI number will be issued to you in the form of a card (similar size to a credit card).

For more information on National Insurance and how to apply for an NI number click here.

General information available from the Department of Work and Pensions - HM Revenues & Customs.

There is a Personal Allowance for workers where income is not taxed until the PA exceeded. International students and their dependants who work will be liable to pay income tax if they earn over the threshold of over approx £203 a week. This is based on the assumption that you will earn over £10,600 in a tax year (which starts and ends in April each year). The tax rates for 2015/16 are:
  • No tax (Personal Allowance - PA) - 0% on earnings below £10,600
  • Basic rate - 20% on earnings above the PA and up to £42,385
  • Higher rate - 40% on earnings over £42,386 but below £150,000
  • Additional rate - 45% for earnings over £150,000

More information on UK tax rates, changes and updates can be found at the HM Revenues & Customs website.

If you are only working during the vacations and you don't expect that your annual salary will be over £10,600 then you will need to fill in form P38(S), available from your employer. More information on the HM Revenues & Customs website.

If you have paid tax and have stopped working, you can claim tax back, by completing the P50 form available from HM Revenues & Customs.

Remember: The fiscal (tax) year runs from April to March every year. You should therefore base your yearly calculations based on the fiscal year and not the calendar year.

There are three rates of minimum wage according to age. You should not be paid at any rate lower than those quoted below, as this is a legal requirement on employers. (correct as at April 2015)
  • Over 25 rate: £7.20 per hour (25 years old and over)
  • Main rate: £6.70 per hour (21 to 24 years and over)
  • Development rate: £5.30 per hour (18 – 20 year olds)
  • Young workers rate: £3.87 per hour (for workers under 18 who are above school leaving age)
  • Apprentice rate: £3.30

For more information on the National Minimum Wage click here.

National Minimum Wage Helpline 0845 6000 678

European Directives provide that: Nationals of EEA member states and Switzerland have a right to reside in a member state for three months without conditions other than holding a valid passport or national identity card.

If nationals of EEA member states or Switzerland wish to stay on in the UK for more than three months to study, they must meet the following requirements:‌‌

  • Be enrolled on a course of study at a government registered instituion
  • Have sufficient resources to avoid becoming a burden on the UK's social security system
  • Be covered by comprehensive sickness insurance (an EHIC issued in your home country may be acceptable if you are not planning to be in the UK indefinitely)

More information on Comprehensive Sickness Insurance can be found on the UKCISA website

A student only has to meet these requirements if he/she is not in the UK under some other European Directive capacity: for example as a worker or self employed person.

Nationals of following countries are citizens of the European Union (EU).

Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Republic of Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden & UK.

Nationals of the following countries are European Economic Area (EEA) nationals

Iceland, Liechtenstein & Norway as well as all the EU countries listed above.

Swiss Nationals

Switzerland is not a member state of the EU or EEA but Switzerland has an agreement with the EU and EEA which allows Swiss nationals broadly the same rights as EU & EEA nationals in the UK

Statement from the United Kingdom Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) 

The UK held a referendum on 23 June 2016 to decide whether it will remain in the European Union. The result of the referendum was that 51.9% of those who voted chose to leave the EU.

Currently the UK remains a member of the EU and, therefore, there is no immediate change to the position of EEA nationals in the UK.

We do not yet know what the future implications will be for EEA nationals and their family members who wish to come to, or remain in, the UK to study. This will depend on how the UK and EU might agree to deal with transitional arrangements about the position of current and new students. We expect the detail to be negotiated now that the referendum has taken place. Any negotiations are likely to take some time, as there are many aspects of the UK’s relationship to the European Union which will need to be considered.

If you are an EEA national or the family member of such a person and are currently pursuing an application to study in the UK for the academic year 2016/17, please note that we do not yet know the longer-term situation, but will publish relevant information here as soon as it becomes available. See UKCISA EU Referendum information

No. EEA & Swiss nationals do not require a visa or entry clearance to come to the UK. Like British citizens your passports are not stamped on entry to or exit from the UK. No formal time limit is placed on your stay in the UK. To enter the UK, you just need your National Passport or National Identity Card.

Most students are able to obtain a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) from their country of residence prior to coming to the UK. This card allows EEA nationals to get the same medical treatment, which is free to residents of the country they are visiting, without being charged. The UK government has produced a leaflet about EHIC and access to medical treatment while in the UK.

In addition, if you are exercising your right to reside in the UK as a student or self-sufficient person, you are required to have comprehensive sickness insurance throughout your period of residence in the UK. Having an EHIC satisfies this requirement if you are not intending to be in the UK permanently.

It is important that you obtain this card before you leave your country of residence. If you have lost or forgotten your EHIC, you may be able to obtain a 'provisional replacement certificate'. This document is equivalent to the European Health Insurance Card. The website of the European Commission says:

It acts as a replacement if the European Health Insurance Cardholder has lost or forgotten his Card, or if the sickness insurance institution is unable to issue the applicant with a European Health Insurance Card prior to his departure. It has the same value as the European Health Insurance Card.

You cannot apply for this card in the UK and without it you could be charged for using the NHS unless you have alternative, adequate medical insurance.

If you want to learn more about using your EHIC, use this app in 25 languages.

Every member state of the European Economic Area provides information about how to apply for an EHIC in that country.

For information on financing your studies in the UK - Tuition Fee loans and maintenance loans and grants please see the Student Money Advice & Rights (SMART) webpages.

Nationals of Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Republic of Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden & Switzerland and their dependants.

Yes you can work. There are no restrictions on the type of work or the number of hours.

Croatian nationals

Croatia joined the European Union on 1st July 2013. However, Croation nationals, whilst able to benefit from some of the rights of EU membership, do not have full unqualified access to the UK labour market yet and there are some restirctions in place.

You will need to apply for a registration certificate using form CR1 (fee £65) if you are in the United Kingdom as a self employed person, a student or a self sufficient person. There are some exemptions. If you are exempt from worker authorisation you can apply for a registration certificate as a worker or jobseeker. The Home Office can only consider an application for a registration certificate if you are already in the United Kingdom. Apply as soon as possible as you will not be able to work until you obtain this permission.

Croation students who apply for a registration certificate will be able to work up to 20 hours per week during term time and unlimited hours during the official vacation periods.
More information on the work restrictions for Croation students can be found on the UKCISA website.

As an EEA/ Swiss student, you and any dependants must pay National Insurance (NI) contributions if you work, in the same way as UK citizens. National Insurance contributions only commence when you start earning in excess of £155 a week (equivalent to £8,060 per year). National Insurance is deducated at 12% after the earnings threshold until you start earning over £815 a week (equivalent to £42,380 per year) above which NI contributions are at 2%.

If you are working in the UK you will need to apply for your unique National Insurance (NI) number.

National Insurance card

Applying for a National Insurance Number

To apply for a NI number you will need to telephone the Jobcentre plus NI allocation service helpline on 0845 600 0643. They will make sure you need a number and arrange for you to undertake an evidence of identity interview at a local jobcentre.

You may apply for an NI number while you are looking for work. You may even begin work without an NI number, but once you have started then you should apply for an NI number if you haven't already got one. Your NI number will be issued to you in the form of a card (similar size to a credit card).

For more information on National Insurance and how to apply for an NI number click here.

General information available from the Department of Work and Pensions - HM Revenues & Customs.

There is a Personal Allowance for workers where income is not taxed until the PA exceeded. International students and their dependants who work will be liable to pay income tax if they earn over the threshold of over approx £203 a week. This is based on the assumption that you will earn over £10,600 in a tax year (which starts and ends in April each year). The tax rates for 2015/16 are:
  • No tax (Personal Allowance - PA) - 0% on earnings below £10,600
  • Basic rate - 20% on earnings above the PA and up to £42,385
  • Higher rate - 40% on earnings over £42,386 but below £150,000
  • Additional rate - 45% for earnings over £150,000

More information on UK tax rates, changes and updates can be found at the HM Revenues & Customs website.

If you are only working during the vacations and you don't expect that your annual salary will be over £10,600 then you will need to fill in form P38(S), available from your employer. More information on the HM Revenues & Customs website.

If you have paid tax and have stopped working, you can claim tax back, by completing the P50 form available from HM Revenues & Customs.

Remember: The fiscal (tax) year runs from April to March every year. You should therefore base your yearly calculations based on the fiscal year and not the calendar year.

There are three rates of minimum wage according to age. You should not be paid at any rate lower than those quoted below, as this is a legal requirement on employers. (correct as at April 2015)
  • Over 25 rate: £7.20 per hour (25 years old and over)
  • Main rate: £6.70 per hour (21 to 24 years and over)
  • Development rate: £5.30 per hour (18 – 20 year olds)
  • Young workers rate: £3.87 per hour (for workers under 18 who are above school leaving age)
  • Apprentice rate: £3.30

For more information on the National Minimum Wage click here.

National Minimum Wage Helpline 0845 6000 678