The EU Settlement Scheme

Brexit took place on 31 January 2020 under the EU Withdrawal Agreemant.

We are now in the Transition Period which will last until 31 December 2020. It could be extended for another 6 months if there is a need for more time to negotiate the future trade deal between the UK and the EU, but the UK government said it would not seek the possibility for an extension.

During the Transition Period EU/EEA/Swiss citizens can:

  • Continue to enter in the UK up until 31 December 2020
  • Be joined by close & extended family members
  • Obtain Pre-Settled Status
  • Obtain Settled Status after 5 years

The EU Settlement Scheme is a new immigration status for EU citizens currently living in the UK. The same rules apply for citizens of Iceland, Lichtenstein, Norway and Switzerland. Those who arrive to the UK before 31 December 2020 will also be able to apply to the scheme.

If your application is successful, you’ll get either settled or pre-settled status and you’ll be able to continue living and working in the UK after 30 June 2021.

You will not be asked to choose which you’re applying for. Which status you get depends on how long you’ve been living in the UK when you apply. Your rights will be different depending on which status you get.

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 family members who arrived to 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 dealine for applying is 30 June 2021.

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.

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.

Administrative review

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.

The procedures described above apply to EU citizens who arrive to the UK before the Brexit date and during the transition period, an 11-month period that keeps the UK bound to the EU’s rules. During this period, the UK will remain in both the EU customs union and single market. That means that most things will stay the same. This includes:

  • Travelling to and from the EU (including the rules around driving licences and pet passports)
  • Freedom of movement (the right to live and work in the EU and vice versa)
  • UK-EU trade, which will continue without any extra charges or checks being introduced

The transition, or implementation period, is due to last until 31 December 2020.

Those who arrive to the UK after this date will probably be treated differently. You may wish to consult UK government “The UK’s point-based immigration system: policy statements”

EU/EEA/Swiss citizens will be able to bring their close family members to the UK after 31 December 2020 if both of the following apply:

  • your relationship with them began before 31 December 2020
  • you are still in the relationship when they apply to join you

If you’re a Swiss citizen, you’ll also be able to bring your spouse or civil partner to the UK until 31 December 2025 if both of the following apply:

  • your relationship with them began before 31 December 2025
  • you are still in the relationship when they apply to join you

Close family members, in most cases, are:

  • Spouse, civil partner, unmarried partner of EU/EEA/Swiss citizen
  • Child, grandchild, great-grandchild under 21
  • Dependent child over 21
  • Dependent parent, grandparent, great-grandparent
  • Dependent relative
  • Settled Status is not equivalent to UK citizenship or a British passport
  • If you have Settled Status you can apply for UK citizenship, 12 months after the day when you get the Settled Status (or immediately if married to a UK citizen). You must also meet the other requirements for citizenship
  • Children born in the UK are not automatically British. They can apply for citizenship  if one of the parents is British or if one of the parents have Indefinite Leave to Remain, Permanent Residence or Settled Status (Children born in UK to those with pre-settled status will automatically be eligible for pre-settled status)
  • UK allows ‘dual nationality’– some EU states don’t – please check with your embassy or consulate what is the policy of your country

For further information about British citizenship, visit this page.

The information on this website is intended for guidance only. It is based upon our understanding of current proposals and is correct at the time of going online. No liability is accepted by Citizens’ Rights Project for actions taken in reliance upon the information given, and it is recommended that appropriate professional advice should be taken.

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