The EU settlement scheme

Because the UK has left the EU, EEA and EU nationals will need to apply to stay in the UK under the EU settlement scheme.

Who needs to apply?

  • Citizens of countries in the EU, EEA and Switzerland and family members
  • People who are nationals of the EU or EEA (all EU countries plus Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway) and Swiss Nationals need to apply. If you have children, you need to apply for them separately.
  • There are some people who can apply even though they are not EU/EEA or Swiss citizens, usually because they are a family member of someone who has lived or worked in the UK as an EU or EEA citizen. If you are not an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen but you have a family member who is (or they are an eligible person from Northern Ireland) you need to apply.

More information about this can be found on the government’s settled status web pages.

Who does not need to apply?

You don’t need to apply if you have:

  • Indefinite leave to enter the UK
  • Indefinite leave to remain in the UK

People from the rest of the world, and Irish citizens do not need to do so.

What happens if I hold a permanent residence document?

If you’ve been resident in the UK for at least 6 years and you’ve held permanent residence for at least one year you may be able to apply for British citizenship rather than applying under the settlement scheme.

When do I need to apply by?

You need to apply by the 30th June 2021.

Settled status and pre-settled status

Do I apply for settled status or pre-settled status?

You complete the same application for settled status and pre-settled status. It will be determined which you get based on how long you have spent in the UK. You do not need to state which you are applying for.

What is the difference between settled status and pre-settled status?

Full settled status
To be eligible for full settled status you must:

  • Be an EEA (European Economic area) citizen, or a family member of an EEA citizen
  • Have lived in the UK continuously for five years. Continuously means that you have been in the UK for at least 6 months in each of those five years (unless you have an exemption for example for work or study or military service).
  • Have started living in the UK before 31st December 2020

Pre-settled status

If you have lived in the UK for less than five years pre-settled status means you can live in the UK for a further five years.

You should have started living in the UK before 31st December 2020.

You can stay in the UK for five years from the date you get pre-settled status.

Once you have five years continuous residence, you should qualify for settled status. You should apply for settled status before your pre-settled status expires.

If you are due to reach five years’ continuous residence soon, then you might choose to wait until you reach this milestone before applying, so that if your application is successful you’ll get settled status directly without the need to apply for pre-settled status first.

Both of these statuses give you the same rights

If you successfully apply to the EU settlement scheme, you’ll be able to continue living and working in the UK after 30th June 2021.

You’ll be able to:

  • Work in the UK
  • Use the NHS for free (unless you cannot at the moment)
  • Study, or enrol in education
  • Access any public funds such as benefits or pensions that you are eligible for
  • Travel in and out of the UK

If, 12 months after receiving settled status, you want to apply for British citizenship you can do so. However, this might affect your nationality and tax position.

Can I leave the UK when I get settled status/ pre-settled status?

If you have settled status you can spend up to five years in a row outside of the UK without loosing your status. If you are a Swiss citizen, you and your family members can spend up to 4 years in a row outside the UK without losing settled status.

If you have pre-settled status, then you can spend up to 2 years in a row outside the UK without losing your status. However, you would need to maintain your continuous residence if you want to qualify for settled status.

Family members

What happens if I have children?

If you have children, then you need to apply for them separately. You can link their application to yours. If you are eligible, then any child you have under the age of 21 is also eligible.

If you get settled status, then any children born in the UK whilst you are living here will automatically be British citizens.

If you get pre-settled status, then any children born in the UK will be automatically eligible for pre-settled status. They will only be a British citizen if their other parent qualifies them for it.

Can I bring my family to the UK?

Your close family can join you in the UK before 31st December 2020. They will need to apply for the EU settlement scheme once they are here.

If you cannot bring your family to the UK under the EU settlement scheme, then they may still be able to come in a different way, for example on a family visa.

If you are in a relationship which began before 31st December 2020, and you are still in the relationship when your partner applies to join you, you can bring them to the UK after 31st December 2020. This applies to the citizens of the EU, Iceland Lichtenstein and Norway.

If you are a Swiss citizen and your spouse or civil partner is joining you in the UK they can do so before 31st December 2025.

The application process

How do I apply for the EU settlement scheme?

You can apply online at the EU settlement scheme website.

If you use the EU Exit: ID Document check app (which is on android and iphone 7 or above) you can scan your documents on your phone as long as they are biometric.

How long does it take to apply?

It should only take you around 20 minutes to apply.

What do I have to do to apply?

There is no test or assessment.

You will usually only have to complete three sections:

1/ Prove your identity

This usually means showing a passport, or national identity card, as well as a digital photograph of your face.

2/ Show that you live in the UK

To prove that you live in the UK you can give your national insurance number, which should show from your tax and benefits record that you have had permanent residence.

If this check doesn’t give them enough data, then the Home Office will ask you for documents, but if this check is successful you don’t need to provide anything else.

3/ Declare that you do not have any serious criminal convictions

If you have a criminal record, it may affect your application under the settlement scheme; seek advice about your options. You do not have to declare:

  • convictions that are “spent” (do not need to be disclosed)
  • “cautions” (warnings)
  • Things like speeding fines

If you’ve been convicted of a minor crime you will still be eligible for settled or pre-settled status.

IF you have been to prison you usually need five years’ continuous residence from the day you were released to get settled status.

How will I know that I’ve got settled or pre-settled status?

If your application is successful, you’ll be able to get proof of either your “pre-settled” or full “settled” status online. Unless you’re from outside the EEA and do not already have a biometric residence card, you won’t receive a physical document.

If you are a member of Community and need help or advice, please contact us at servicecentre@community-tu.org or on 0800 389 6332.