I’m an EU national living in the UK and have heard that there is a deadline to apply to remain in the UK. I am a bit confused by the rules and what this means for me. What are the main things I need to know and where can I get more information about applying?
If you’re an EU, European Economic Area (EEA) or Swiss citizen, you and your family can apply to the EU Settlement Scheme to continue living in the UK after 30 June 2021. You can also apply if you’re the family member of an eligible person of Northern Ireland. If your application is successful, you’ll get either settled or pre-settled status. The EEA includes the EU countries and also Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway. You may be able to stay in the UK without applying - for example, if you’re an Irish citizen or already have indefinite leave to remain.
If you apply to the EU Settlement Scheme successfully, you’ll be able to continue living and working in the UK after 30 June 2021.
You’ll be given either:
- settled status
- pre-settled status
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 and when you started living in the UK.
You’ll usually get settled status if you’ve lived in the UK for a continuous 5-year period (known as ‘continuous residence’). Five years’ continuous residence means that for 5 years in a row you’ve been in the UK, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man for at least 6 months in any 12 month period. The exceptions are:
- one period of up to 12 months for an important reason (for example, childbirth, serious illness, study, vocational training or an overseas work posting)
- compulsory military service of any length
- time you spent abroad as a Crown servant, or as the family member of a Crown servant
- time you spent abroad in the armed forces, or as the family member of someone in the armed forces
You can stay in the UK as long as you like if you get settled status. You’ll also be able to apply for British citizenship if you’re eligible.
If you have not lived in the UK for 5 years in a row (known as ‘continuous residence’), you’ll usually get pre-settled status. You must have started living in the UK by 31 December 2020 unless you are applying as the existing close family member of an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen who started living here by then. You can stay in the UK for a further 5 years from the date you get pre-settled status.
You can apply to switch to settled status as soon as you’ve had 5 years’ continuous residence. The 5 years is counted from the day you first arrived in the UK. You do not need to have held pre-settled status for 5 years to apply. You must apply for settled status before your pre-settled status expires to stay in the UK.
If you’ll reach 5 years’ continuous residence at some point by 30 June 2021, you can choose to wait to apply until you reach 5 years’ continuous residence. This means that if your application is successful, you’ll get settled status without having to apply for pre-settled status first.
You may be able to get pre-settled status if you were living in the UK before 31 December but you were not here on that date. You must not have left the UK Channel Islands or the Isle of Man for more than 6 months in any 12 month period.
You may also be eligible if you were living in the UK by 31 December 2020, but you left the UK for one period of no more than 12 months for an important reason (for example childbirth, serious illness, study, vocational training or an overseas work posting). Your previous residence in the UK will count towards your eligibility for pre-settled status.
If you are granted settled or pre-settled status, you’ll be able to:
- work in the UK
- use the NHS for free, if you can at the moment
- enrol in education or study in the UK
- access public funds such as benefits and pensions, if you’re eligible for them
- travel in and out of the UK
You’ll have different rights if you get settled or pre-settled status because you’ve applied to join your EU, EEA or Swiss family member and you arrived in the UK after 31 December 2020. For example, you will not be able to bring your own family members under the EU Settlement Scheme.
For further information and details of how to apply for the EU Settlement Scheme please visit GOV.UK