Brexit – what does it mean for prospective students?

We understand that the UK’s decision to leave the EU raises some questions about EU citizens’ ability to study and work in the UK in the future. As Brexit negotiations continue, there is still some uncertainty about some details of this. Here, we are sharing the details that we do know, and also what our expectations are in the event of a number of scenarios.

The UK’s departure from the EU has been delayed. The new departure date is 31 October 2019, unless the UK parliament agrees a deal before then.

If parliament agrees a deal before 31 October 2019, the date of departure may be brought forward to any time between now and then. If a deal is agreed, the EU Withdrawal Agreement will come into force. Part of the Withdrawal Agreement confirms the rights of EU citizens to come to the UK until 31 December 2020 with no additional immigration requirements. EU citizens resident in the UK by 31 December 2020 will be able to stay in the UK indefinitely.

If parliament has not agreed a deal by 31 October 2019, the default position at this date will be for the UK to leave the EU without a deal.

Please note that reference to EU nationals here includes nationals of the 27 EU member states (other than the UK), nationals of the member countries of the EEA and nationals of Switzerland. It also includes family members of EU nationals.


If you are a non-EU national, there have been no changes to student visa requirements.

This information is subject to change, and provides a high level view of the situation. Should you require specific advice about your own situation, we advise you consider taking separate legal advice.

  • Applicants for programmes starting in 2019

    The UK government continues to work towards securing a deal acceptable to both the UK and the EU. This must be agreed by 31 October 2019. When a deal is agreed, the EU Withdrawal Agreement provides a smooth transition when the UK leaves the EU.


    The Withdrawal Agreement guarantees that until 31 December 2020:

    • You and your family members can continue to come to the UK in the same way you can now – no visas or additional documentation will be required.
    • You and your family members resident in the UK before 31 December 2020 can stay here with no further immigration requirements.
    • If you have been here five years, you can stay indefinitely. You will be required to apply for “settled status”.
    • If you have been here less than five years, you can obtain “pre-settled status” until you become eligible for “settled status”.
    • “Settled status” will only lapse after five years’ absence from the UK.
  • Applicants for progammes starting in 2020

    If the UK government agrees a deal with the EU before 31 October 2019, the EU Withdrawal Agreement will continue to apply for students on all programmes starting in 2020.

  • Applicants for progammes starting in 2020 – “no deal” Brexit

    There are alternative immigration arrangements in place if there is a “no deal” Brexit. From 31 October 2019 this would mean:

    • You can come to the UK to work or study for 3 months visa-free
    • During that 3 months you will need to apply for European Temporary Leave to Remain (ETLR)
    • ELTR means you can stay in the UK for 3 years for work or study.
    • After 3 years you will have to apply for a different visa
  • Joining LBS from 2021 onwards

    From 1 January 2021, EU and non-EU nationals will require the same immigration permission to study in the UK. The Immigration White Paper, published in December 2018, gives some idea of what this will mean.


    • Highly skilled immigration will be prioritised. We understand this to mean that high calibre, educated individuals – such as LBS students and graduates - will be treated favourably by the new system.
    • There will continue to be no cap on the number of international students – EU or non-EU – that we can recruit at LBS.
    • The visa system will be streamlined and simplified to support an increased number of applications.
    • The current Tier 2 work visa will be reviewed to ensure it is fit for purpose.
    • A new “start-up” visa aimed at early stage entrepreneurs has been launched. LBS is an approved Endorsing Body which permits students to stay here and launch a UK based business following the end of their studies.

    We will continue to monitor developments with the new proposals and update information when it is available.

    This information is correct at 15 April 2019.

This information is correct at 15 April 2019.