Information for prospective undergraduate and postgraduate students from the EU who have applied to study at Heriot-Watt University.

EU student applicants

We want to reassure European applicants of our commitment to you and everyone in our global community.

Undergraduate applicants

We can confirm that tuition fees for eligible EU students starting in 2020/21 will continue to be covered by the Student Awards Agency for Scotland (SAAS). The Scottish Government has confirmed that students from the EU entering Scottish universities in 2020/21 will see no change in their fee status for the duration of their studies.

Postgraduate applicants

Eligible EU students starting postgraduate programmes in the 2020/21 academic year will continue to fall into the ‘Scotland / Non-UK EU’ tuition fee status category. This includes those who start programmes in January 2021. For non-UK European residents tuition fee loans will be provided for full-time EU students undertaking a postgraduate course in 2020/21 and part-time students starting a course taken over two years from 2020/21.

You can find more details of how to apply for Scottish Government funding at the Student Awards Agency Scotland website.

Details regarding fee status for EU students starting programmes in the 2021/22 academic year will be published shortly.

EU January 2021 applicants

The UK voted to leave the European Union in 2016, and officially withdrew from the EU on 31 January 2020. We are currently in a transition period, which ends on 31 December 2020. Until the end of the transition period, EU citizens retain the same rights in the UK – including freedom of movement – as they did before the UK left the EU. 

If you are thinking about studying with us on a postgraduate programme that begins in January 2021, many of the rights and privileges that were able to you before Brexit are still available to you – as long as you plan ahead. 

What's my fee status if I start a programme in January 2021?

Pre-existing fee arrangements for EU students are in place for the full 2020/21 academic year. This means that eligible EU students are still in the ‘Scotland / Non-UK EU’ fee category for programmes that start in January 2021. (You can see the fee information in the ‘Fees and funding’ section on your chosen programme page.) 

Note: These fee arrangements are coming to an end, so students looking at the 2021/22 academic year (for example, programmes starting in September 2021 or January 2022) will have different fee arrangements. We’ll provide an update as soon as the details are confirmed. 

Am I still eligible for a tuition fee loan from the Scottish Government?

If you are starting a full-time postgraduate programme in the 2020/21 academic year – which includes programmes starting in January 2021 – the answer is yes. For information on the loan programme, how to apply, requirements, etc., visit the Student Awards Agency Scotland website. 

Will I have to apply for a student visa?

It depends on when you arrive in the UK. EU citizens who arrive in the UK before 11pm GMT on 31 December 2020 are eligible to apply for pre-settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme. Applying for pre-settled status is free and fairly straightforward, and it allows you to live, study and work in the UK for 5 years. This means that you can enter the UK using either your EU passport or national identity card, without applying for a visa, and that you’ll still receive healthcare coverage, have the right to work, and so on, just like before Brexit. The deadline to submit your application for pre-settled status in 30 June 2021 BUT remember you must arrive by 31 December 2020 to be eligible, and you’ll need to make sure you get your pre-settled status application approved before you leave the UK. 

If you are unable to travel to the UK by 31 December 2020, then you will need apply for a student visa before you come to the UK. The visa will cover you for the duration of your studies. The visa fee is £348, and you’ll also need to pay an immigration health surcharge to cover your access to the National Health Service (NHS), which costs £470 a year (as of 27 October 2020). It’s important to note that the student visa does have some restrictions – for example, you can’t work more than 20 hours a week during term time (up to 40 hours a week during breaks). The visa application process can take several weeks, and you will need to obtain specific documentation from Heriot-Watt before you can apply. 

Can I stay and work in the UK after I complete my degree?

Yes, but how it works will depend on your status in the UK. If you arrive in the UK by 31 December 2020, and obtain pre-settled status (see above), then you’ll be able to stay in the UK for 5 years. After that point, if you meet certain residency criteria, you’ll be able to apply to stay in the UK permanently. 

If you arrive in the UK on or after 1 January 2021, the student visa you obtain will cover you for the duration of your programme (usually with a few extra months at the end). If you successfully complete and graduate from your programme, you can apply to stay in the UK for another 2 years on a post-study work visa. This is a new scheme, to be launched in summer 2021, so more details will be available later on. 

Are Europeans welcome in Scotland?

Very much so. Although the UK electorate voted to leave the European Union in 2016, connections between Scotland and the EU are still very strong. Scotland is a diverse country, home to people from all over the world, and European students are very welcome in our communities. 

Heriot-Watt is a global university with strong and abiding links across Europe and the rest of the world. Nearly half of the students studying at our Scottish campuses come from abroad, and of those nearly one in ten are from Europe. In addition, many of our academic and professional staff are from Europe and elsewhere around the world. 

The decision by the UK electorate to leave the European Union has not changed our mission. We are proud to be a global university, a community of scholars welcoming all those who can contribute to our work and society. 


We look forward to welcoming you to Heriot-Watt University going forward, and should you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact us at

Key information

Admissions Office