Immigration rules after brexit

silhouetted man waiting in an airport lobbyThe UK and EU have agreed visa-free travel for tourist visits of up to 90 days within a 180-day period. However, there are additional actions which might be required if travelling to the EU for work or study, even for a short period of time. For instance, a visa, work permit or other documentation might be needed. 

Where do the new arrangements apply? 

The immigration arrangements will vary between EU members. You can find advice on each country on 
These new rules do not apply to travel to Ireland, and British and Irish citizens can continue to move freely between the UK and Ireland as part of the Common Travel Area arrangements.  

Points-based immigration system 

Separate to the Brexit agreement, the UK’s new points-based Immigration system came into effect from 1 January 2021. This new set of rules also applies to EU/EEA citizens coming to the UK, as freedom of movement for these citizens has now ended. 

There are a range of different routes under the new system, such as the Student visa (replacing Tier 4), the Skilled Worker visa (replacing Tier 2) and the Global Talent visa (replacing Tier 1). A new Graduate visa will also be launching in Summer 2021 and UUK will be providing further details in due course.   
As per the Withdrawal Agreement, EU citizens who arrived in the UK prior to 31 December 2020 still have until 30 June 2021 to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme.  

EU and EEA students 

Universities UK International will publish legal advice on the immigration requirements from 1 January 2021 onwards for UK students going on study or work placements in the 27 EU Members States, Iceland, Switzerland, and Norway. This will also include advice on any requirements for business trips.  

For the specific immigration rules for EU and EEA students see our detailed briefings. 


Issues that need clarifying

  • We are seeking confirmation from the Department for Education and the Home Office that the Erasmus+ programme (2014–2020) will not be removed from the Tier 5 Government-Authorised Exchange (GAE) list of approved schemes. This would provide stability and certainty for incoming students and enabling them to still apply for a Tier 5 visa.  
  • We are asking the Department for Education and the Home Office to lower the administrative burdens and fees of the Student route for these students, for those who want to come to the UK on a study placement for more than 6 months with funds from Erasmus+ (2014–2020).
  • In the longer-term, we want to work with DfE and the Home Office to make the case for a new ‘Educational Exchange’ immigration route which would cover short-term study, work, and clinical placements. This would then replace the current Tier 5 arrangements mentioned above. 


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