Information for Staff

Information for Staff

These Frequently Asked Questions are supported by Pinsent Masons. Questions have been anonymised for confidentiality reasons, but still cover the material points.

Please note, the answers provided are general advice for reference purposes only and should not be taken as specific advice based on your individual circumstances. If you have questions not answered below, please contact internationalstaff@qub.ac.uk or call 02890972559. Should you require more tailored advice, please contact a local immigration specialist.

EU Staff
  • 1. What are pre-Settled and Settled Status and how do I apply?

    Any EU national, and their non-EU family members, who are living in the UK by 31 December 2020 (or 31 October 2019 if there is no deal) will be able to register for "pre-Settled Status", and after 5 years they will qualify for 'Settled Status'. These new categories will permit residence, work, study and access to NHS/pensions/benefits in the UK.

    We expect that holders of pre-Settled Status will be able to be absent from the UK for up to 2 years before they lose their status. For Settled Status the permitted absence period is expected to be 5 years. However these time periods still need to be approved by the UK parliament. If you get pre-Settled Status, you will need to make sure that you are not absent for more than 6 months in each year if you are working towards Settled Status, regardless of the 2 year absence rule.

    The Home Office has run a number of pilots to test the online process and the scheme is currently open to holders of biometric documents before opening fully in March 2019. The university is supporting those that wish to apply and information on how to apply is available at this link.

  • 2. What are the requirements for pre-Settled Status?

    The requirements for pre-Settled Status are much more relaxed than the requirements for Permanent Residence under the European rules. There are three core criteria that the applicant needs to meet:

    • Identity - You will need to prove your identity using your passport or (for EU citizens) your national identity card. Non-EU family members will also need their UK biometric residence card or permit.
    • Eligibility - You simply need to show that you are "resident" in the UK by 31 December 2020, (or 31 October 2019 in the event of no deal), and if applicable show that you are a family member of an EU national.
    • Suitability - UKVI will conduct criminal background checks in the UK and abroad for applicants who are over the age of 18. We expect that the vast majority of EU nationals will pass this requirement, but if you have any criminal convictions then you ought to take specialist advice. Fixed penalties (for example parking fines) and minor crimes (eg speeding tickets) should not cause you a problem.
  • 3. What are the requirements for Settled Status?

    If you have already been continuously resident in the UK for 5 years, and you satisfy the 3 core criteria (see 'What are the requirements for pre-Settled Status?' above), then you will be able to jump straight to Settled Status. If you obtain pre-Settled Status then you will need to move to Settled Status once you have been in the UK for 5 years.

  • 4. What is the definition of "resident"?

    This is yet to be properly defined by the UK Government. However please see the answer to 'What documents will I need to provide?' below, which covers the documents you will need to provide to prove residency.

  • 5. What is the definition of "continuous residence for 5 years"?

    This is required for Settled Status and means that you have been in the UK for at least 6 months in each of the last 5 years, except if you have been absent for:

    • Compulsory military service in another country; or
    • One period of up to 12 months due to special circumstances, such as childbirth, serious illness, study/training or if you were posted abroad for work.
  • 6. What is the definition of "family member"?

    The following relationships count as a family member for the pre-Settled and Settled Status scheme:

    • Spouse or civil partner;
    • Durable partner" (an unmarried partner who is in a relationship akin to marriage or a civil partnership);
    • Child, grandchild or great-grandchild (including of the spouse or civil partner);
    • Dependant parent, grandparent or great-grandparent (including of the spouse or civil partner); or
    • Other dependant relative (including of the spouse or civil partner, but only where the applicant holds a relevant document in the UK due to having made an application before 1 February 2017. It is likely that you would need specific advice if you think this may apply).

    Some other family members may have a "retained right of residence" in specific situations. It is important to seek specialist advice if you fall into this category.

    It is important to note that if your family member is an EU national and they live in the UK too, then they should qualify for pre-Settled or Settled Status in their own right. Therefore the above definitions will be important where your family member is a non-EU national.

    EU national family members of British citizens will need to apply for pre-settled or Settled Status.

  • 7. What documents will I need to provide?

    The Government has committed to keeping the documentary requirements to a minimum. The applicant will need to register on the app and upload a scan of their identity document. Alternatively we expect there to be an option where you can send your documents by post. The applicant will also be required to upload a recent digital photo of their face.

    UKVI then will access records from the tax authorities (HMRC) and the Department for Work and Pensions. The applicant will then be prompted to upload scans of additional evidence where there are gaps in the data held.

    The applicant will also be told whether they are being considered for pre-Settled or Settled Status. If you are told they are being considered for pre-Settled Status, then you will have the opportunity to send more documents to show that you ought to be considered for Settled Status.

    Non-EU family members will also need to provide proof of their relationship to the EU citizen, for example marriage/civil partnership or birth certificate. Again, these can be scanned and uploaded onto the application. Non-EU family members, who don't already have a biometric residence permit, will need to provide their finger prints and get their photo taken at one of UKVI's application centres.

    The types of documents you might need to prove residency are set out in the Annex in the Useful Information section.

  • 8. Is it mandatory to register?

    Yes, to continue living and working in the UK all individuals relying on EU free movement rights will need to register by 30 June 2021. The only exceptions to the need to register are as follows:

    • Irish citizens (but their non-Irish/non-UK family members who are relying on EU Free Movement will need to register);
    • Holders of indefinite leave to remain in the UK; or
    • Holders of indefinite leave to enter the UK, for example, a Returning Resident visa.
  • 9. How much does it cost to apply for pre-Settled / Settled Status?

    It has now been agreed that applying for settled status will be free. However, the online process still requires payment of the fees, as below, which will then be refunded. It is expected the payment element will be removed when the scheme goes fully live.

    The costs are as follows:

    • £65 for an adult (over 16);
    • £32.50 for under-16s;
    • Free for holders of Permanent Residence or ILR; and
    • Free to move from pre-Settled Status to Settled Status once you hit 5 years.

    Queen's University Belfast is able to cover the cost of those employees who are required to apply in order to maintain their status in the UK.

  • 10. What is the difference between Pre-Settled / Settled Status and Permanent Residence?

    Permanent Residence is a status under EU and European Economic Area ("EEA") law, which will not be recognised by the UK after 31 December 2020.

  • 11. I already have a Residence Card or Permanent Residency, do I need to apply for pre-Settled or Settled Status?

    Yes, to continue living and working in the UK after 31 December 2020, you will need to register by 30 June 2021. Those who already hold Permanent Residence in the UK will be able to switch to Settled Status, free of charge, as long as they register by 30 June 2021. Holders of Permanent Residence won't need to prove that they have been resident for 5 years.

  • 12. What about nationals of Norway, Liechtenstein, Iceland and Switzerland?

    These countries are not members of the EU but their citizens currently have the right to free movement. The UK Government has stated its intention is to treat nationals of these countries in the same way as EU nationals under the Settled Status scheme. The nationals of these countries will be able to apply for settlement when the scheme is fully open by March 2019.

  • 13. Children

    Where the child is an EU national and they are living in the UK, then they will qualify for pre-Settled or Settled status in their own right. Dependants under the age of 21 will qualify for Settled Status as soon as their parent does, even if they have not been resident in the UK for 5 years.

    The position of children born in the UK to EU parents depends on the date on which they were born. Some children born in the UK qualify for British citizenship and would need to go through the registration process for this, which currently costs £1012.

  • 14. What happens if I am an EU citizen, living in the Republic of Ireland and working in Belfast some of the time (ie a "frontier worker")?

    If you are an EU citizen (except Irish and British citizens) in this situation, then the UK Government has confirmed that you will be protected.

    This means that if you live in the Republic of Ireland but work in Belfast then you will be able to continue to do so. We don't yet have any information on what you will need to do to register as a frontier worker (as you won't meet the residency requirements for Settled Status). We expect that you will be able to continue as you are now until at least the end of the implementation period on 31 December 2020.

    If you move to the UK within the qualifying periods you, and your family members, will have access to the settlement scheme. Further details can be found at EU Settlement Scheme: frontier workers and their family members.

  • 15. What happens if I have paid into a pension in more than one EU member state, including the UK?

    If an EU national has worked in various member states and acquired private pension rights in those various states and now lives in the UK, each will have accrued on the basis of the law in the relevant member state, and the member will retain a right to a deferred pension from each of those private pensions.

    Brexit may impact on the member's pension in the following situations. However, the effect of Brexit on current pension arrangements is uncertain and so the situation needs to be reviewed and monitored as the detail on the Brexit deal (and the implementation of that deal) continues to emerge.

  • 16. Pension transfers

    If you wish to amalgamate your pension rights from within the EU you are able to do so by transferring them subject to certain conditions to your UK scheme. These conditions may change following Brexit.

    There is also the Qualified Recognised Overseas Pension Scheme (‘QROPS’) regime where HMRC recognises certain overseas schemes which have met conditions and registered with HMRC. This scheme affords beneficial tax treatment on pension transfers for such recognised Schemes. This regime is broader than EU law and so is unlikely to change following Brexit although the individual schemes that have QROPS status may be subject to change.

    It is ultimately the decision of the trustees or provider of a pension scheme whether or not they accept a transfer.

  • 17. Drawing your pension

    There are currently taxation treaties in place which EU nationals benefit from when drawing their pension from another EU country to ensure that it can be paid in a tax neutral way. If these were to change where an individual were to draw their pension from an EU member state while in the UK they may encounter tax inefficiencies and costs. However, it is unlikely that these will be impacted as the UK has double taxation arrangements in place with many countries. Although, this will need to be monitored for changes as a result of Brexit.

    The position on drawing state pension from another country whilst resident in the UK will also need to be monitored.

  • 18. What happens if there is no deal?

    If the UK leaves the EU without a withdrawal agreement the proposed transition period will not apply. The government has confirmed that the EU settlement scheme will continue to operate for EEA and Swiss nationals in the UK and applications will be accepted until December 2020 (as opposed to June 2021 if there is an agreement).

    A new immigration system is expected to be in place in January 2021 which will bring EEA and Swiss nationals under immigration control. EEA and Swiss nationals will be able to enter the UK to live and work on the basis of their European documents. To stay longer than 3 months it will be necessary to apply for European Temporary Leave to Remain. This will give leave to remain for three years. To stay more than three years it will be necessary to obtain immigration status under the new immigration system planned for 2021. At present we have no detail on how these processes will work or how much they will cost..

  • 19. Do I need to notify the university once I obtain settled status?

    Settled or pre-settled status recognises and protects your status as a European citizen who has been resident in the UK before the UK exits from the EU. As it confirms your current status there is no need to notify the university.

  • 20. Do I need to apply if I am an Irish citizen?

    You do not need to apply if you are an Irish citizen but you can if you want to. Your family members from outside the UK and Ireland will need to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme. If your family members have a UK permanent residence document they will still need to apply.

  • 21. Do I need to apply if I hold indefinite leave to remain or enter?

    You do not need to apply if you have indefinite leave to remain or enter but you can if you want to. Your family members from outside the UK and Ireland will need to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme if they do not hold indefinite leave. If you or your family members have a UK permanent residence document they will still need to apply.

Travel Arrangements (All Staff)
  • 1. Is there any advice/guidance I should consider when undertaking University travel or field trip over the Brexit period?

    It is strongly recommended that staff and students follow the advice provided by the UK government, and reflected in the University’s Travel Management Company, Selective Travel, document, to minimise the likelihood of problems arising. Please see links to the online information below, some of the key points to consider are listed below:

    • Flying During Brexit – the UK government and the EU confirmed in March 2019 that air travel between the UK and EU will continue regardless if there is a deal or no deal Brexit. This will apply after the UK leaves the EU and would entitle UK airlines to continue operating to and from the EU until March 2020 (at the earliest);
    • Customs/Security Checks – UK passport holders may be subject to additional checks that could result in lengthy delays following Brexit. To minimise this risk, it is recommended that travellers provide more time than usual when travelling;
    • Passports/Visas – make sure passports for everyone travelling are valid for at least 6 months after the date of your planned trip. It would also be advisable to monitor the UK government’s online advice on this topic as some countries may require entry visas after Brexit;
    • Health Cards – European Health Insurance Cards (EHIC) may no longer be valid for UK citizens in the EU. However, the University is a member of U.M. Association Ltd (UMAL), and as a result, staff and students are covered by travel and medical insurance while on University business. This insurance cover will apply to EU countries after Brexit;
    • Fees – bear in mind that the EU may introduce a ‘travel authorisation fee’ of Euro 7 for travellers coming from outside the Single Market;
    • Mobile Data Roaming Charges – the EU has abolished mobile data roaming charges. Travellers from the UK should be aware that after the UK leaves the EU, mobile data roaming changes may again apply to their contracts. Staff and students should take action to ensure that they do not inadvertently incur substantial charges;
    • Driving – UK drivers may potentially need to apply for a European Driving Licence and obtain an insurance Green Card if driving in the EU

    Information from Queen’s travel provider, Selective Travel, on areas including passports, health cards, and custom checks. To find out more visit the Selective Travel Brexit update.

  • 2. Are there any actions worth considering for your travel/fieldtrip to reduce the risk of disruption, and help resolve problems, should any arise?

    To minimise risk of disruption the University advises that you ensure that travel and accommodation is booked through the University’s Travel Management Company, Selective Travel.

    In the event that there is disruption to travel arrangements, Selective Travel will provide assistance in finding alternative travel and accommodation. Also, by using Selective Travel (in the majority of instances), those affected will not be required to personally pay the additional costs is situ – Selective Travel will invoice the University for this at a later stage.

    For circumstances, where emergency costs (travel, accommodation, etc.) are necessary, and must be paid in situ at the time, the following options can be considered:

    • The School can use the Purchase Card to pay for the extraordinary items;
    • For instances where this is not possible, if one of those travelling can pay for the costs (e.g. using a personal credit card), they will be reimbursed as quickly as possible. Bear in mind the conditions of the University Travel Policy on cost limits, supporting documentation, etc.

    It is recommended that those travelling have access to sufficient funds to cover additional costs arising from a disruption to travel arrangements. Please also bear in mind that the UK governments advise also notes that EU countries may require travelers from the UK to provide evidence, on entry to the country , that they have sufficient funds to cover their costs while in the EU.

    It is, however, recognised that students travelling may not have access to the level of funds required to cover unexpected costs. To assist with this, you can consider requesting a cash advance for the fieldtrip. This could be used in the event of disruption to travel because of Brexit and, if not required, should be repaid as soon as possible on return to the University. Information on accessing a cash advance is provided in section 5.7 of the University Staff Expenses Policy.

  • 3. Driving in the EU after Brexit

    International Driving Permits (IDPs)

    Driving in the Republic of Ireland

    If you hold a UK driving licence, and intend driving in the Republic of Ireland following a no deal EU Exit, you will not need an International Driving Permit. This is because the Republic of Ireland does not require IDPs to be held by driving licence holders from non-EU countries. More information on driving in the Republic of Ireland is available on the NI Direct website.

    Driving in other EU and EEA countries

    If there is no deal EU Exit, UK Driving Licence holders may need an IDP, in addition to your UK driving licence, to drive when visiting EU and EEA countries. To find out more please visit theUK government’s online guidance.

    Motor Vehicle Insurance – 'Green Card'

    A motor insurance Green Card is evidence of motor insurance cover when driving abroad. If there is a no deal EU Exit, and the European Commission does not make a decision ensuring that UK registered vehicles will not be checked for proof of insurance, drivers of UK registered vehicles will need to carry a motor insurance Green Card when driving in the EU and EEA. This requirement applies to driving in the Republic of Ireland. Staff or students driving in the EU, while on University business, will therefore, require a Green Card. The way to get a Green Card is dependent on the following circumstances:

    University Fleet Vehicles

    Staff and students using their own vehicle to drive in the EU after a no deal EU Exit should acquire a Green Card from their motor insurance provider.

    Use of Personal Vehicles for University Business

    The University’s insurance provider, UMAL will supply Green Cards for the University’s fleet vehicles. A member of staff or student driving a fleet vehicle in the EC must ensure that they have the Green Card for the vehicle with them..

    Hire Vehicles

    Staff or students hiring a vehicle to drive in the EU after a no deal EU Exit will, for a limited period of time, need to buy motor insurance from the Hire Vehicle Provider and ensure that the vehicle provider supplies a Green Card before the vehicle is driven in the EU. It is anticipated that the requirement to include motor insurance when hiring a vehicle will be a temporary measure for a short period following a no deal EU Exit. The University is working with UMAL to put in place arrangements where UMAL with be able to provide Green Cards for hired vehicles to enable the University’s UMAL insurance cover to provide cover. Additional information is available on the UK Government’s website.

Erasmus (All Staff)
  • 1. Will the Erasmus programme continue?

    If there is a deal between the UK and the EU at the point of Brexit, it is expected that the UK can continue to participate in Erasmus until the end of the current cycle of the programme, which is 2020-21. Erasmus mobility and the associated funding should, therefore, continue as normal for students and staff due to undertake placements in 2019-20.

    If the UK leaves the EU with no deal, continued participation in Erasmus is less certain. The following guidance has been provided by:

    The UK Government has said that it will negotiate with the European Commission about inclusion in Erasmus in 2019‑20 but those negotiations will not start until after the point of Brexit. The Government had previously indicated that, in the event of no-deal, it would underwrite Erasmus grants for the 2019-20 academic year. This funding guarantee has recently been withdrawn. Queen’s University is committed to supporting Universities UK, as they lobby Government to reconsider this decision. Senior management at Queen’s are also currently considering alternative funding options and will update staff and students when new information becomes available.

    The UK’s participation in the Erasmus successor programme, for the period 2021-2027, is subject to further negotiation between the UK Government and European Commission.


Useful information

This page was last updated on 12 April 2019.

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