Version 1.0 - Last Updated: 24 Feb 2021

Eligibility and assessment

EU exit and Advanced Learner Loans


The UK left the EU on 31 January 2020. The following transition period ended on 31 December 2020. From 1 January 2021, new immigration rules apply.


Academic year 2020/21 learners

Student support policy rules will be unchanged for all learners who started a course in academic year 2020/21 or earlier.

Support will continue on the same eligibility grounds until they have completed their period of study. This applies even if the period of study started after the end of the transition period in academic year 2020/21 (from 1 January 2021 to 31 July 2021 inclusive).

EU, EEA and Swiss national learners and their eligible family members will continue to be eligible for student support.


EU Settlement Scheme

EU, EEA and Swiss nationals and their respective family members who were lawfully resident in the UK on or before 31 December 2020 can apply to the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS). Those granted settled or pre-settled status under EUSS will be eligible for support on broadly the same basis as now. This is subject to meeting the usual residency requirements.

They have until 30 June 2021 to apply to EUSS. Any discretion to extend this date will be applied on a case by case basis. In certain circumstances, family members can join an EEA or Swiss national in the UK after 31 December 2020 and apply to EUSS once they are here. Applications will, in this circumstance, be considered after 30 June 2021. Family members granted a status will have the same rights in the UK whether or not they arrived by the end of the transition period.

Applicants to EUSS may be awarded:

  • settled status (meaning indefinite leave to remain)
  • pre-settled status (limited leave to remain)

Which status a learner is awarded depends on how long they have been living in the UK when they apply.

They must have at least 5 years of continuous lawful residence in the UK to be awarded settled status.

They may be awarded pre-settled status if they have a shorter period of UK residence. This can be any period of lawful residence that's less than 5 continuous years. After 5 years of continuous lawful residence in the UK they can apply to change this to settled status. They must do so before the pre-settled status expires.

These eligibility changes do not apply to Irish citizens living in the UK, Islands or Ireland. Their right to study and to access benefits and services will be preserved on a reciprocal basis for British and Irish citizens under the Common Travel Area arrangement. Irish citizens who have not been resident in the UK, Islands and Ireland may need to be resident in the UK by the end of the transition period to be eligible for student support.


Evidence – settled status

Learners who have been granted settled status under EUSS will generally be eligible for tuition fee support if they have been ordinarily resident in the UK and Islands for at least 3 years immediately before the start of their course.

They will need to prove their status by providing their digital share code and proof of their identity. This could be an original valid passport or valid national identity card.


Evidence – pre-settled status

Learners must have lived in the UK, Gibraltar, EEA or Switzerland for 3 years immediately before the start of their course.

They will need to prove their status by providing their digital share code and proof of their identity. This could be an original valid passport or valid national identity card.


UK nationals living outside the UK

UK nationals and their family members living in the EEA or Switzerland on 31 December 2020 will generally be eligible for tuition fee support for courses starting on or after 1 August 2021 and before 1 January 2028. They must meet the following conditions:

  • they are living in the EEA or Switzerland on 31 December 2020 (or have moved back to the UK immediately after living in the EEA or Switzerland)
  • they have lived in the EEA, Switzerland, the UK or Gibraltar for the last 3 years before the start of the course

UK nationals and their family members living in the EU Overseas Territories on 31 December 2020 will continue to be eligible for home fee status in England for courses starting before 1 January 2028.

UK nationals living in the other British Overseas Territories and their family members will be eligible for home fee status when studying in England, on the basis of 3 years’ residence in the British Overseas Territories, UK and the Islands before the start of the course.


Family members of UK nationals living in the UK

Family members of UK Nationals resident in the UK will qualify for home fee status and tuition fee support from Student Finance England on the basis of 3 years’ ordinary residence in the UK and the Islands. They must also be undertaking a designated course in England.


Children of Swiss nationals

The children of Swiss nationals covered by the Swiss Citizens’ Rights Agreement will generally be eligible for home fee status, tuition fee and maintenance support after 3 years’ residence in the UK, Gibraltar, EEA and Switzerland.


Children of Turkish Workers

Children of Turkish workers are not covered by the Withdrawal Agreements. However, they will be eligible for home fee status and student support after 3 years’ residence in the UK, Gibraltar, EEA, Switzerland and Turkey if:

  • they and their parent are living in the UK by 31 December 2020
  • the parent’s period of leave to remain continues to be valid

Further information

You can find further guidance on GOV.UK.


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