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Brexit: what changes (or not) for students from January 1, 2021

Brexit obliges, from January 1, 2021, the procedures for entering, living and working in the United Kingdom are changing. As a student, your mobility may also be affected. Recap.

Four years after the referendum, Brexit is still as topical as ever. Officially released from the European Union on February 1, 2020the United Kingdom ended its transition period on 31 December. It was not until Christmas that an agreement was finally reached, in extremis, between the country and the European Parliament. New modalities which concern foreign residents and workers but also students who wish to continue their studies there. Tuition fees, visa, passport, diploma, internship and work-study… The Student takes stock.

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Exit from the Erasmus+ program and payment of tuition fees

This is one of the first repercussions of Brexit for French students: the payment of tuition fees to study in the United Kingdom. On December 24, 2020, to everyone’s surprise and despite the agreement of both parties, the British Prime Minister finally announced the end of the country’s participation in the Erasmus+ programme. By breaking the agreement, the UK is no longer considered a member country of the scheme and therefore can no longer offer free tuition fees to European students.

A few exceptions though:
French Erasmus+ exchange students for the year 2020–2021 are not affected by these tuition fees which will only apply from the start of the 2021–2022 academic year;
– it exists agreements between Franco-British establishments who do not go through the Erasmus+ program and who can therefore avoid paying these fees. Check with your international relations department.

Also to know: by withdrawing from the programme, the United Kingdom also prevents you from receiving Erasmus+ grants. Again, check with your establishment, region, department and/or city to find out about mobility aids.

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The visa: compulsory in certain cases

Regarding the administrative formalities, it all depends on the duration of your stay in the United Kingdom. If you were already in the country and you plan to stay there beyond December 31, 2020, the government advises you to register “for the ‘pre-settled’ status of the ‘Settlement Scheme for EU citizens'”. This status is “put in place by the British authorities in order to avoid administrative visa procedures and the costs associated with them”. The procedure is carried out directly on the Internet.

From 2021, the UK authorities may put other arrangements in place to apply for your visa. Check with the embassy or the France Diplomatie website. In all cases, if you are leaving for less than six months, visas are not required but you may be asked for authorizations, in particular to verify your student status. And if you leave between six and eleven months, you can use the “short-term students”. On the other hand, without a visa, you will not be authorized to have a remunerated activity.

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The passport: compulsory from October 1, 2021

Until now, your identity card was sufficient to travel to the United Kingdom. Good news, this will still be the case until October 1, 2021. From this date, passports will become the rule. A word of advice: plan ahead and apply for your passport now.

The European health insurance card still valid

Can be used in all countries of the European Union, the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) ultimately remains valid in the United Kingdom. The EHIC was initially to be valid only for students whose course spanned between 2020 and 2021. For new arrivals from 2022, the European health insurance card therefore remains a document to be kept and presented in the event of treatment. to avoid further steps to be taken.

British diploma: still recognized in France

Like the EHIC, the recognition of diplomas also remains relevant despite Brexit. Indeed, obtaining ECTS credits (European points system) remains possible on January 1, 2021.. Your British diploma will therefore have real value in France.

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Internship and work-study: modalities to be specified

Everything is not completely clear for students who wish to work across the Channel. For an internship or work-study, it’s always up to you to find the company ready to welcome you. The terms (insurance, remuneration or allowances, etc.) depend on the host country, as was the case previously. On the other hand, you will have to get a visa that will allow you to work. The “student” visa would not be sufficient. Again, check with your international relations department.

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