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If you’re an EU, 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. If your application is successful, you’ll either get settled or pre-settled status. On this page, we give you an overview of some frequently asked questions for EU citizens in the UK, or who want to move to the UK. For more detailed advice, please call us or book a videolink with us.
Applications under the EU Settlement Scheme are made under Appendix EU to the Immigration rules. This provision allows those EU citizens and their family members already in the UK by the cut-off date of 31 December 2020, to apply for settled status (indefinite leave to remain) after 5 years of continuous residence. Those with less than 5 years of continuous residence are entitled to pre-settled status, which is the equivalent of a grant of 5 years limited leave to remain.
Who has to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme?
All EU nationals who want to remain lawfully in the UK, who want to continue working and living here after 30 June 2021, have to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme. It does not matter how long you have been in the UK, or if you have British family members, or if you have a permanent residence card – you still need to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme if you want to remain lawfully in the UK.
How do I apply to the EU Settlement Scheme?
For most people, the application process is simple and straightforward. It is online and paperless. The applicant has to upload a photograph and details of their EU national ID card or passport on the government website. For more complicated applications, applications via post may be necessary.
What does it mean to exercise Treaty Rights or Free Movement rights?
You are exercising your treaty rights under EU law if you either have the right to permanent residence in the EEA country where you live, or if you have been one of the following there:
Do I still have Treaty Rights in the UK after Brexit?
No, not automatically. You can retain your Treaty Rights by applying to the EU Settlement Scheme and obtaining pre-settled or settled status. This means if you apply to the Scheme successfully, you will still be able to work, study and live in the UK.
Who receives settled status?
You will 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.
There are limited exceptions to this rule
- 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 may also be considered to be resident in the UK on 31 December 2020 and may be eligible for settled status if you lived in the UK for a continuous 5-year period in the past and have not left the UK for more than 5 years in a row since then.
What does settled status entail?
You can stay in the UK as long as you like if you get settled status. You have the right to work, study, access public services etc. just like before Brexit. You will also be able to apply for British citizenship if you’re eligible.
Who receives pre-settled status?
If you do not have 5 years’ continuous residence when you apply, you will get pre-settled status. To receive pre-settled status, you must have moved to the UK before 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.
What does pre-settled status entail?
You can stay in the UK for a further 5 years from the date you get pre-settled status.
Pre-settled status expires if you leave the country for more than two consecutive years. Bear in mind that if you plan on obtaining settled status in the future, you cannot be outside of the UK for more than 6 months out of every 12 month period. 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.
Can every EU national apply under the EUSS?
There are “suitability” provisions which will exclude from grants of leave under the EUSS those who are subject to a deportation or exclusion order, and which may exclude those who use deception in their application.
If you are worried that you might not get status under the EUSS, we can help you navigate your immigration and/or criminal history with our EU Legal Services.
Is there a cost?
No. Applications under the EU Settlement Scheme are free of charge.
Can my non-EU/EEA family members also apply to the EU Settlement Scheme?
Yes. Family members of those with settled or pre-settled status will continue to be able to join the EU citizen in the UK under the provision in appendix EU(Family Permit). More on this here.
Can I still apply for permanent residence?
No, permanent residence is no longer an option for EEA citizens. Instead, they have to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme before 30 June 2021.
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