EU Settlement Scheme five years on: Updates to pre-settled status  

Written by: Caroline Echwald


March 2024, marked five years since the full opening of the EU Settlement Scheme which granted millions of European nationals and their family members the right to live in the UK after Brexit came into effect.  

The scheme is for EU, EEA, and Swiss citizens who were living in the UK by 31 December 2020 as well as their eligible family members. Eligible applicants are granted either settled or pre-settled status, with slightly different rights entitled, depending on the duration of their UK residency at the point of their application.  

In this article we briefly cover the updates to the pre-settled status five years after the start of the scheme.  

Updates to pre-settled status  

As we reach the five-year mark of the EU Settlement Scheme being implemented, the status of those who were granted pre-settled status at the onset of the scheme is due to expire. 

Pre-settled status is granted for a five-year period and allow status holders to live, work and study in the UK, if they had less than five years of continual residence in the UK when they applied to the EUSS. If you are one of the pre-settled status holders whose status is due to expire this year, but you have not been granted settled status yet, the Home Office announced in July 2023 that your pre-settled status will be automatically extended by two years. This means that you will not lose you status even if you do not apply for settled status before your pre-settled status was due to expire.  

The Home office will automatically extend your pre-settled status in the month before the original expiry date. For example, if your status is due to expire in May, the pre-settled status extension will apply at the start of April.

In most cases you will be notified by the Home Office by email, when your status is extended. Your extension will also be shown in your digital status in your UK Visa (UKVI) account.  

Should I still apply for settled status?  

Even if your pre-settled status has been automatically extended, you can still apply for settled status once you become eligible. It is useful to have settled status granted as this is proof of your right to live in the UK permanently

In most cases, you qualify for settled status once you have been living in the UK continuously for five consecutive years (though there are some exceptions). Being continuously resident means, you must have spent more than 6 months out of every 12-month period living in the in the UK over the five-year period (there are some exceptions, such as if you had a longer absence because of Covid-19 or for another important reason. You can read more here).  

The Home Office sends a reminder email to pre-settled status holders six months before the initial five expiry date, encouraging them to apply for settled status. 

 Why should I apply for settled status?  

There are benefits and certainty to holding settled status over pre-settled status, as holding settled status is the most straightforward way to prove that you have permanent residence in the UK. This should make it more straightforward to show:  

  • you have a right to be outside the UK for up to 5 years without losing your status as a resident  
  • you are entitled to benefits (subject to the normal eligibility criteria)  
  • you are a settled person if you want to apply for British citizenship at a later point 
  • any children you may have, who are born in the UK while you have permanent residence will automatically be born as British  

If you are eligible for the EU Settlement Scheme but have not applied yet, you should make a late application as soon as possible. The EU Settlement Scheme remains open if you are an eligible late applicant and you have a good reason for applying after the deadline on 30 June 2021. If you did not move to the UK by this date (31 December 2020) you will not be eligible unless you are joining another EU citizens as their family member.  

You can read more about the EUSS here.  

Have questions about the EU Settlement Scheme?

If you are concerned about your pre-settled status, or you need separate advice regarding your immigration status under the EU Settlement Scheme, we suggest you seek advice from an immigration lawyer. You can book a consultation with Seraphus below.