The EU Settlement Scheme - What is it?
In 2019, the Home Office launched The European Union Settlement Scheme to register EU/EEA/Swiss citizens residing in the United Kingdom prior to its departure from the European Union. If you are an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen, you and your family have to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme to continue living lawfully in the United Kingdom after 30 June 2021. If your application is successful, you will be issued with settled or pre-settled status. Remember that there is no printed version of your status, which can only be accessed digitally. Read the sections and the Frequently Asked Questions below to learn more about this new immigration system, as well as who needs to apply and how.
The EU Settlement Scheme is a new immigration status for EU citizens who arrived in the UK before 31 December 2020. The same rules apply for citizens of Iceland, Lichtenstein, Norway and Switzerland.
You’ll usually get settled status if you’ve:
- started living in the UK by 31 December 2020
- lived in the UK for a continuous 5-year period (known as ‘continuous residence’)
If you do not have 5 years’ continuous residence when you apply, you’ll usually get pre-settled status. You must have started living in the UK by 31 December 2020. You can then apply to change this to settled status once you’ve got 5 years’ continuous residence. You must do this before your pre-settled status expires.
(“Continuous residence” – 5 years in the UK for at least 6 months in any 12 month period)
Settled Status is meant to secure various rights of EU citizens in the UK, including right to reside, right to work, to access public services, and others. You may read more about this in Your rights tab.
You can download our PDF guide on applying for Settled Status by clicking Guide to Settled Status.
If you need further support, visit the Support & Resources tab.
All EU/EEA/Swiss nationals and their non-EEA family members who arrived in the UK before 31 December 2020 and wish to continue living and working in the UK after 30 June 2021 must apply to the EU Settlement Scheme. This includes EU citizens married to a British citizen, children (unless they have a British passport), people with a Permanent Residency Card.
The only exceptions are Irish citizens (as Ireland has different agreements with the UK) and those with Indefinite Leave to Remain, who can apply if they want to but are not required to do so.
Also, close family members of people with Settled Status who join them after the Transition Period can apply for pre-Settled (and then Settled Status) but must do it within 3 months from the arrival date.
The EU Settlement Scheme for EU citizens who wish to apply is already open. The deadline for applying was 30 June 2021.
Those who are eligible to apply for settled or pre-settled status can do it even after the deadline if they have reasonable grounds to do so.
Those who are eligible to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme can still apply for settled or pre-settled status even after the deadline of 30th June 2021. Late applications, however, are discretionary. This means that applicants must explain and prove why they were unable to apply before the deadline. The Home Office caseworker will then assess if the applicant falls under one of the categories of reasonable grounds to make a late application, and decide whether to accept this application or not.
The non-exhaustive list of reasonable grounds for late application stated in the caseworker guidance includes:
- Children (including children in care or care leavers)
- Physical or mental capacity and/or care or support needs
- Serious medical condition or significant medical treatment
- Victim of modern slavery
- Abusive or controlling relationship or situation
- Other compelling practical or compassionate reasons
- Ceasing to be exempt from immigration control
- Existing limited or indefinite leave to enter or remain
- Document or status under the EEA Regulations
Late applications can still be submitted using the EU Exit: ID Document Check app or online, in the Government website, if the applicant has a valid ID. If not, they have to request a paper application form. There will be an additional question in the late application form asking about the reason for applying late.
Parents can apply for children under 21 if they are EU/EEA/Swiss citizens, or if the parent or spouse/civil partner is an EU/EEA/Swiss citizen.
After the identity check you will be asked if you want to make a separate application or link it with the parent’s application. In order to link the child’s application, you have to provide the parent’s name, the reference number of the parent’s application and a proof of relationship (i.e. birth certificate). The child will then receive the same status as the parent.
Children born in the UK from 1st July 2021 onward can automatically become British citizens if:
- their parent applied before 30th June 2021 and was granted settled status after the birth of the child
- their parent applied after 30th June 2021 but had a reasonable grounds for late application, demonstrated that they could have met the requirements if they applied on 30th June 2021, and was granted settled status after the birth of the child.
The child becomes British from the day when their parent is granted settled status.
Children born in the UK after one of their parents were granted settled status are automatically British from their birth.
Switching from pre-settled status to settled status
If you were granted pre-settled status, also known as limited leave to remain, after applying to the EU Settlement Scheme, you will need to apply for settled status (indefinite leave to remain) before your pre-settled expires.
Generally, you should have been granted this status if you have leave in the United Kingdom for less than five years or you were unable to prove that you have been in the country for 5 or more years.
Know your status!
It is very important that you know what kind of immigration status you have. As of 20 September 2022, 40% of all concluded applications were granted pre-settled status which is valid only for 5 years from the day of receiving the letter with a decision. This means that approximately 2 677 190 people have to make another application to change to settled status if they wish to remain in the UK longer than 5 years. Your status won’t change automatically, you must submit a new application.
If you are not sure what status to you have, you can check it on your digital profile.
Log in to your digital profile providing:
- your identity document number
- your date of birth
- an access code sent to your phone or email
Do not wait to apply
You don’t have to wait until your pre-settled status expire. As soon as you reach 5 years of continuous residence in the UK, you can apply to switch to settled status. Even if you still have few years left on your pre-settled status. If you are not sure how the continuous residence rule works, please watch our information video.
Once you reach 5 continuous years of residence in the UK, you can make new application through the mobile app or government website. Just like you did the first time.
You will need your ID document, email address, phone number and NIN (if you have one). You can check our Settled Status Guide with instructions on how to do this.
You will have to provide the Unique Application Number (UAN) of your previous application for pre-settled status. This is so the Home Office can check that you already have pre-settled status and want to change it to settled status, as opposed to applying for the first time.
Keep your documents!
When you apply for settled status, it might happen that the Home Office will ask you to provide more evidence that you have been living in the UK continuously for 5 years. Usually, they check their database using your National Insurance number, but it might not always work.
It is essential, therefore, that you keep documents such as bank statements, bills, payslips, etc in case this happens. For more information about the type of evidence accepted by the Home Office visit this link.
If you had absences longer than 6 months in any 12-month period, keep evidence to prove that you were away due to important reasons (e.g. pandemic, child birth, illness etc). For more information about absences and exceptions visit this link.
Find your Unique Application Number
If you don’t know what your Unique Application number is go to:
https://www.gov.uk/settled-status-eu-citizens-families/applying-for-settled-status, click ‘Start now’ and then ‘Sign in’.
Log in by providing:
- your identity document number
- your date of birth
- an access code sent to your phone or email
You will see details of your past applications, including 16-digit UAN.
You can also find your UAN in the email from the Home Office with a decision on your application.
If you need support to switch from pre-settled to settled we can help you. Email us on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our support is FREE and multiligual.
Pre-Settled status will be granted for five years from the approval date of the application. An applicant will lose their Pre-Settled Status if they spend more than two consecutive years outside of the UK.
Settled status will only be lost if the individual is absent from the UK for any reason for a period of five consecutive years (4 consecutive years for Swiss Nationals). Subsequent criminal offending can also lead to revocation of status.
After you submit your EU Settlement Scheme application, the decision on whether you have been granted “Settled” or “Pre-settled Status” or if your application has been rejected, will come to your e-mail inbox.
If you are not happy with the decision, you’ll be told in your letter if you can apply for the decision on your application under the EU Settlement Scheme to be reviewed. This is called an administrative review. If you are unhappy with the decision and the letter tells you cannot ask for the review, you either need to accept the decision or seek other legal means to challenge the decision; you may consider consulting a legal expert on this.
The information below on how to pursuit the “administrative review” if you are unhappy with the decision, is taken from the UK government website:
You can apply for an administrative review from inside the UK.
You can apply for an administrative review if either:
- your application was refused on eligibility grounds
- you were granted pre-settled status but think you qualify for settled status
You can also make a new application under the EU Settlement Scheme at any point, for example if you want to move from pre-settled status to settled status. This application will be free.
To apply, you must make your application for administrative review within 28 days of the date on your decision emaill.
You’ll need to complete the administrative review application form.
You must use a separate form for each person applying for a review, whether they’re a child or an adult.
It costs £80 per person to apply for an administrative review.
People with settled or pre-settled status can view their immigration status online. There is no physical evidence of the status and it can be accessed only through the digital profile available through the website below:
To log in on your digital profile you will have to provide your identity document number (the one that was used in your application), date of birth, and access code sent to your phone or email.
Using this service, you can:
- get a ‘share code’ to prove your status to others, for example, employers or landlords
- update your personal details, for example, your passport number or email address
- check what rights you have in the UK, for example, the right to work, rent or claim benefits
To learn how to prove your status to others using a ‘share code’ please watch our video:
To learn how to update your new passport on your digital profile please watch our video:
It is very important to keep all your details updated on your digital profile! Details like phone number, email address, and identity document number are used for logging into your profile, and if they are not valid, you might have problems with accessing your profile.
If you want to move to the UK after 31.12.2020 but you are not eligible for the EU Settlement Scheme, you must apply for a visa under the new Points-Based Immigration System.
Visa application must be submitted from outside the UK, so you cannot move to the UK before you receive your visa!
As part of your application, you will need to verify your identity. Most people will be able to do this using a smartphone, through the ‘UK Immigration: ID Check’ app, as part of the online application. Those who cannot use the ‘UK Immigration: ID Check’ app will need to attend a Visa Application Centre. [Please note that this is a different app from the EU Exit: ID Document Check app used for the EUSS applications].
You will need to pay an application fee and, if you are coming to the UK for more than 6 months, you may have to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge, which will enable you to access the UK’s National Health Service (NHS).
Skilled Worker visa
To be eligible for this visa, you must demonstrate:
- you have a job offer from a Home Office-licensed sponsor at the required skill level
- you will be paid the relevant minimum salary threshold by your sponsor (normally £26,500 or the going rate for their particular job, whichever is higher)
- you can speak English at the intermediate level at B1 (on the Common European Framework of Reference for languages)
Skilled Work: Health and Care visa
If you work in an eligible health occupation and have a job offer from the NHS, social care sector or employers and organisations which provide services to the NHS, are able to speak English and meet the requirements of the Skilled Worker route, you can apply for the Health and Care visa to come to the UK with your family.
There is fast-track entry, with reduced application fees and dedicated support through the application process. If you’re eligible to apply for the Health and Care visa, you will also be exempt from having to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge. Frontline workers in the health and social care sector who are not eligible to apply for the Health and Care visa will have to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge and could benefit from a reimbursement scheme where they will be repaid.
The Global Talent visa allows the most highly skilled to come to the UK without a job offer. This visa caters for recognised global leaders, and the leaders of tomorrow in science, humanities, engineering, the arts (including film, fashion design and architecture) and digital technology, with individuals’ unique skills enriching the UK’s knowledge, economy and society. Top scientists and researchers benefit from a quicker endorsement process as part of a fast track STEM scheme.
Alternative work visa routes and specialist occupations
There are a range of other visa routes available for working in the UK, such as the Start-up and Innovator visas. There are also visa routes for further specialist occupations, including ministers of religion, sportspeople and creatives.
To be eligible for the Student visa, you will need to demonstrate:
- you have been offered a place on a course by a Home Office-licensed Student sponsor
- you can speak, read, write and understand English
- you have enough money to support yourself and pay for your course
- you genuinely intend to study in the UK
There is a separate Child Student visa for child students aged between 4 to 17 years old who wish to study at an independent school.
Family members of EU/EEA/Swiss citizens coming to the UK from January 2021:
- EU, EEA, and Swiss citizens can travel to the UK for holidays or short trips for up to 6 months without a visa. You can cross the UK border using a valid passport which should be valid for the whole time you are in the UK.
Until the 1st of October 2021, you can also use your EU, EEA, Swiss national ID to enter the UK.
You can continue to use your national ID card to enter the UK until at least 31 December 2025 if you:
– have settled or pre-settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme
– have an EU Settlement Scheme family permit
– have a frontier worker permit
– are an S2 Healthcare Visitor
– are a Swiss Service Provider
If you’re a non-EEA family member of an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen
You need a valid national passport, and one of the following:
– an EU Settlement Scheme family permit
– a UK-issued EEA family permit (see below)
– a UK-issued biometric residence card
- You can join your EU, EEA or Swiss citizen family member if they started living in the UK by 31 December 2020. They need to apply for settled/pre-settled status too.
The EU, EEA or Swiss nationals can apply to the EU Settlement Scheme from outside the UK if they hold a biometric document (either a valid passport or identity card)
Non-EU nationals can apply to the EU Settlement Scheme from outside the UK if you hold relevant UK document, for example:
-a residence card
-a permanent residence card
-a derivative residence card
Otherwise, you will need to apply for an EU Settlement Scheme family permit to come to the UK. Once you’re in the UK you can apply to the EU Settlement Scheme.
If you arrive in the UK on or after 1 April 2021, you must apply to the EU Settlement Scheme within 3 months of the date you arrive in the UK.
You can apply if you’re a family member of an Irish citizen, even though they do not need to.
- Eligible close family members* who would like to join their EU, EEA or Swiss family members in the UK for more than 6 months and do not have a biometric document need to apply for an EU Settlement Scheme Family Permit.
* Eligible family members are:
– spouse, civil partner, unmarried partner,
– children, grandchildren under 21 years old
– dependant children or grandchildren of any age
– dependant parent or grandparent
(Please note that your family relationship must have started by 31 December 2020)
Documents you must provide:
– a valid passport or a national ID
– evidence of your relationship to your EEA family member, for example, a marriage certificate, civil partnership certificate or birth certificate
If the EU, EEA or Swiss citizen family member you are joining has settled/pre-settled status you must provide their application number.
If they have not applied to the EU Settlement Scheme you must provide both:
– their valid EU, EEA or Swiss passport or national identity card
– evidence that they would be eligible for the EU Settlement Scheme if they had applied
You’ll have to show that they meet the other eligibility criteria for the EUSS even if they cannot apply – for example, if they have British as well as EU, EEA or Swiss citizenship.