EU Settlement Scheme

The EU Settlement Scheme protects the rights of EEA and Swiss nationals, and their family members, who live in the UK prior to 11pm on 31st December 2020, to continue living in the UK after Brexit. The scheme allows those eligible to obtain pre-settled or settled status, meaning your status within the UK is secured. This will enable you to live, work and study in the UK for as long as you hold that status or move into another immigration status category for example full settled status if previously held pre-settled status, or citizenship.

The scheme opened fully on the 29 March 2019 and will remain open to applications until 31 June 2021.

Please note: EU/EEA/Swiss nationals must be physically resident in the UK prior to 11pm on 31st Decemeber 2020 to be eligible for the EU Settlement Scheme. Any EU/EEA/Swiss student intending to move to the UK for studies from 1st January 2021 will need to apply for a Student visa for studies longer than 6 months, or Visitor visa if studying up to 6 months. 

Please note: the scheme is not applicable to Irish nationals, please see the UK government website for information about the rights of Irish nationals.

What is the EU Settlement Scheme?

The scheme grants those eligible the following immigration status:

  • Settled Status: If you have lived in the UK for a continuous 5 year period at the time of applying, with no absence of longer than 6 months in any 12 month period, or one period of up to 12 months in certain circumstances such as a Study Abroad; you will be granted Settled Status.
  • Pre-Settled Status: If you have lived in the UK for less than 5 years at the time of applying, with no absence of longer than 6 months in any 12 month period, or one period of up to 12 months in certain circumstances such as a Study Abroad; you will be granted Pre-Settled Status.

For information about the definition of a ‘continuous qualifying period’ for residency please see the immigration rules, Appendix EU annex 1 - definitions “continuous qualifying period”.

How do I apply?

The application is free and submitted online through the UK government’s website.  

There are 3 aspects to your application:

  1. Prove your identity: You can prove your identity either by using the “EU Exit, ID Document Check” app on an android or apple device, or submit evidence of your identity online and then post your documents to the UK government. If you are applying from outside the UK you must prove your identity using the app.

    You can use either your passport or national identity card as evidence of your identity. If you are a national from outside the EEA/Switzerland and are applying as a family member you can use either your passport or UK BRP card. The app can only be used by those with a valid biometric EEA/Swiss passport or ID card or those who hold a UK BRP card.

    After proving your identity continue online to complete the application.
  2. Prove your residency in the UK: If you have a UK National Insurance number you will be asked to provide this as part of the application process. The UK government will then check tax and benefit records to assess your residence period.

    You may need to provide other evidence to prove your residency in the UK, for example, bank statements showing payments received or spending in the UK, a letter from a UK employer, Enrolment Status letter from the University or council tax bill amongst others. For more information about documents used to evidence your residency in the UK please see the UK goverment's website.
  3. Provide information about any criminal convictions: You will be asked to declare convictions that appear on your criminal record in the UK or overseas. If you have a minor conviction this would not usually affect the decision for the scheme; other convictions are decided on a case-by-case basis.

The UK government want to grant the status and therefore if any information is missing from the application they should contact you to request it.

What does the status mean?

If granted settled status you can stay in the UK as long as you like and if you wish you can apply for British citizenship after 1 year of holding settled status. You can spend up to 5 years in a row outside the UK without losing your status.

If granted pre-settled status, you can stay in the UK for a further 5 years from the date you get pre-settled status. You can apply to change to settled status after 5 years continuous residence in the UK. You can spend up to 2 years outside the UK without losing your pre-settled status. If you wish to change to settled status in the future, you must maintain your ‘continuous residence’ in the UK for the full 5 year qualifying period; please refer to the immigration rules, Appendix EU annex 1 - definitions “continuous qualifying period” for details of continuous residence.

When granted settled or pre-settled status you will be able to work, study, use the NHS and access public funds.

Non-EEA/Swiss Family members

Non-EEA family members are also eligible to apply under the EU Settlement Scheme. There are many variations on who is defined as an eligible family member of an EEA/Swiss national, for more information please see the UK government webpage.

The UK Home Office advises that family members are likely to get a quicker decision if they apply at the same time as the EEA/Swiss national. The applications can be linked using the application numbers created.

Other sources of information

Please read the information on the UK government webpage regarding the EU Settlement scheme.

The UK Council for International Student Affairs has useful information about the scheme online. 

 

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