The EU Settlement Scheme enables qualifying nationals to continue their residence in the United Kingdom (UK), after the UK leaves the European Union (EU) on 31 October 2019 (also known as ‘Brexit’) and the transitional period. Since the Scheme was officially opened, we have received a huge number of questions about EU Settlement Scheme applications. So much so, that we decided to put together the key questions and answers in this post.
If you have any
further questions that you would like us to answer, drop me a line at [email protected]. And feel free to add your comments about the EU Settlement
Scheme application process below, so that we can help others as they begin this
part of their journey.
Who can apply to the EU Settlement Scheme?
within the EU, EEA and Swiss citizens who are currently living, working or
studying in the UK will need to submit an EU Settlement Scheme application in
order to protect their rights so that may continue to live in the UK after the
UK leaves the EU.
If you have family
members, living in the UK, who are nationals from outside of the EU, EEA and
Switzerland, they will also need to apply to the Scheme.
More specifically, you may submit an
EU Settlement Scheme application if:
- You are a family member of an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen;
- You are the family member of a British citizen and you lived in an EEA
Member State together, where the British citizens had exercised their Treaty
- You are the family member of a British citizen who also
has EU, EEA or Swiss citizenship and who lived in the UK as
an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen before getting British citizenship;
- You used to have an EU, EEA or Swiss family member living
in the UK;
- You are the primary carer of a British, EU, EEA or Swiss
- You are the child of an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen who used
to live and work in the UK, or the child’s primary carer;
If the EU
Settlement Scheme application is successful, you will be given either
pre-settled or settled status.
The Mayor of London has helpfully provided an eligibility checker that may assist you.
What is settled status?
To successfully submit an application
for settled status, you must demonstrate to UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI)
- Had started living in the UK by 31 December 2020 (or by the date the UK
leaves the EU without a deal); and
- Have 5 years’ continuous residence in the UK.
What does the no-deal scenario refer
UK is due to leave the EU on 31 October 2019, extended from 29 March 2019 and
12 April 2019.
Once the UK leaves the EU, and is no longer a Member State, the UK and EU’s relationship will be governed by the Withdrawal Agreement.
Withdrawal Agreement was published on 14 November 2018 and was endorsed on 25 November 2018 by leaders
of the European Council. It has yet to be finally agreed.
If, the Withdrawal
Agreement is ratified on 31 October 2019, the UK will continue to recognise the
rights of EU, EEA, Swiss nationals and their family members until the end of
the transitional period at 11pm GMT on 31 December 2020.
EU, EEA and Swiss nationals will be permitted to submit their EU Settlement
Scheme application until 30 June 2021. To clarify, applications must be made on
the basis that you were in the UK prior to 31 December 2020.
on the ongoing discussions within the UK Parliament and with the EU, it is
possible that the UK’s exit from the EU may be extended further. It is also
possible that the UK may not leave the EU at all. The situation remains fluid
and we will keep you updated of key events.
Should the Withdrawal Agreement fail to reach formal agreement or adhere to certain EU conditions, the UK will leave the EU in what has been called a ‘no-deal’ scenario. A no-deal Brexit will bring forward the UK’s departure from the EU and the transitional period to 31 December 2020 will no longer apply.
the deadline for applications for pre-settled and settled status will be 31
December 2020, unless otherwise advised by UK Visas and Immigration.
is a no-deal exit from the EU, the Immigration, Nationality and Asylum (EU
Exit) Regulations 2019 will come into force.
UK’s exit, the rights and entitlements of EU, EEA and Swiss nationals living
and travelling to the UK will be limited. The EU Settlement Scheme aims to
protect the rights of EU, EEA and Swiss nationals and their family members, who
are already in the UK prior to the UK’s departure from the EU.
What is pre-settled status?
will be given to EU, EEA or Swiss nationals, and their family members, who have
lived in the UK for less than 5 years.
To qualify for pre-settled status, you must have started living in the UK prior to the UK’s departure from the EU in a no-deal scenario (which at the time of writing, is still possible) and meet the ‘suitability’ criteria. This refers to UKVI’s criminality checks.
should the UK leave the EU after having ratified the Withdrawal Agreement, then
you must have started living in the UK by 31 December 2020.
Who are EU nationals?
The EU countries are:
- Czech Republic
- UK (for the purposes of this post, we will refer to UK nationals
exercising their Treaty rights in another Member State).
Who are EEA nationals?
Nationals from the EEA includes the above EU nationals as
well as Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway.
What does ‘continuous residence’ mean?
UK Visas and
Immigration (UKVI) will look at the period of continuous residence to assess
the length of time that a person has lived in the UK.
For instance, a
person may wish to submit an application for pre-settled status on the basis of
3 years’ continuous residence, with the expectation that they secure settlement
status within the next 2 years. Or they may wish to submit an application for
settlement status based on 5 years’ continuous residence.
residence means you must have resided in the UK continually and can include
residence in the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man.
This does not mean
that a person is not permitted to have left the UK for holiday or business
purposes. However, if the person had resided in the UK and relocated to their
home country for over 6 months in any 12 months’ period, before deciding to
travel and take up employment in the UK, then the chain of continuous residence
is likely to have been broken by the relocation abroad.
UKVI have listed
certain circumstances where a lengthy absence may be permitted in EU Settlement
Scheme applications. They are:
- One period of up to 12 months for an important reason (for example,
childbirth, serious illness, study, vocational training or an overseas work
- Compulsory military service of any length;
- Time you spent abroad as a Crown servant, or as the family member of a
Crown servant; and/ or:
- Time spent abroad in the armed forces, or as the family member of
someone in the armed forces.
However, you should bear in mind that meeting the absences requirements for settled status does not guarantee that you will meet the absence requirements to naturalize as a British citizen.
In addition, UKVI
state that you and your family may apply for settled status if you have less
than 5 years’ continuous residence. This will apply in certain situations only,
such as if you and your family need to relocate to the EU for work purposes. Nevertheless, we wait to see how this will be consistently
Do I have to apply for pre-settled status before applying for
No. If you
are likely to have lived in the UK continuously for 5 years before the deadline
of 31 December 2020, then you may apply for settled status at date. In this
scenario, you do not need to apply for pre-settled status first.
we may find that employers, and various institutions (rightly or wrongly)
request sight of pre-settled and settled status documents well before 31 December
2020, as they too come to grips with their immigration compliance requirements.
applying for pre-settled status, rather than waiting to accumulate 5 years
continues residence prior to the end of December 2020, may become a necessity.
Does settled status expire?
status allows the holder to remain in the UK indefinitely. But, their settled
status will lapse if the holder is absent from the UK for more than 5
What is the deadline for applications?
deadline for applying to the EU Settlement Scheme is 30 June 2021.
the UK leaves the EU without a deal, the deadline for EU Settlement Scheme
applications will be 31 December 2020, unless otherwise advised or published by
primary carer of a British citizen may apply to the Scheme from 1 May 2019.
How do I know if I am eligible to apply to the Scheme as a family
member of an EEA national?
You can submit an
EU Settlement Scheme application for pre-settled or settled status, if you are
related to an EU, EEA or Swiss nationals because you are a:
- Their spouse, civil partner, unmarried partner or in a relationship
- Their child, grandchild or great-grandchild under 21 years old;
- Their dependent child over the age of 21;
- Their dependent parent, grandparent or great-grandparent; or
- Their dependent relative
You must provide
evidence of your relationship to the EU, EEA or Swiss national as part of the
application. This may include:
- A birth certificate;
- Marriage or civil partnership certificate; or
- A residence card.
As a family
member, you may apply to the EU Settlement Scheme prior to the EU, EEA or Swiss
national, though you will need to provide documentary evidence of their
identity and residence.
Regardless, it can
be beneficial and time efficient to apply to submit the EU Settlement Status
application at the same time as the EU, EEA or Swiss national. If applying
online, it is possible to refer to the UKVI reference for your family member
within your own application. This will allow UKVI to link or connect the
applications to each other.
Can British citizens apply for pre-settled and settled status?
are not eligible or required to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme.
Do Irish nationals need to
submit an EU Settlement Scheme application?
Irish citizens do not need to apply for pre-settled or settled status.
family members of
an Irish citizen may apply to the EU Settlement Scheme, if they wish.
if you are an Irish national and you have a child who is neither an Irish
national nor a British citizen, they may apply for pre-settled or settled
status in their own right.
I have Indefinite Leave to
Remain. Do I need to apply to the Scheme?
with indefinite leave to enter or indefinite leave to remain under the
Immigration Rules are not required to submit an EU Settlement Scheme
UKVI’s guidance states that if you hold indefinite leave and you submit an EU
Settlement Scheme application, then providing you meet all of the requirements,
UKVI will give you settled status.
are the benefits of doing so? Well, currently, holders of indefinite leave can
travel outside of the UK for up to 2 years at any one time. Any longer and you
will lose your indefinite leave status.
you hold settled status, it may allow you to stay outside of the UK for
up to 5 years in one go, without losing your status.
said, we strongly suggest that you seek immigration advice before taking any
significant action that may change your status.
What if I have certified permanent
you hold certified permanent residence status, you will still need to protect your
rights by applying to the EU Settlement Scheme. This will allow you to
continue to exercise your rights of residence in the UK after the UK leaves the
the process for applying for settled status will be different from those who do
not hold certified status, in that you will not have to evidence continuous
residence for a period of 5 years. This is a sensible approach, given that you
had already done so when applying to UKVI to have your permanent residence
you must submit one of the following:
- A certificate inside your blue ‘residence documentation’ booklet (or
pink for Swiss nationals);
- A certificate inside of your passport confirming your status;
- A biometric residence card confirming permanent for non-EU/EEA
- A document which states ‘Document
Certifying Permanent Residence’.
EU Settlement Status application must be submitted before 30 June 2021. If the
UK leaves the EU without a deal, the application must be submitted by 31
is also possible to instead apply for British citizenship by 30 June 2021 (or
31 December 2020 if the UK leaves the EU without a deal), if you hold
certified permanent residence status.
Can my child apply for pre-settled or settled status?
Your child may apply for
pre-settled or settled status. You may also submit an EU Settlement Scheme
application on behalf of your child if:
- Your child is under 21 years of age; and
- The child is an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen; or
- You or your spouse or civil partner is an EU, EEA or Swiss
national, but the child is not.
part of the application, your child will need to provide evidence of their
status or proof of their relationship to the EU, EEA or Swiss national.
child will not be required to provide evidence of their continuous residence in
the UK, though UKVI may request such proof when considering the application.
addition, if you are an Irish national and you have a child who is neither an
Irish national nor a British citizen, they may apply for pre-settled or settled
status in their own right.
What happens if I cannot join my EEA family member in the UK
after the UK after Brexit?
If your EU, EEA or Swiss
family member is already resident in the UK by 31 December 2020, but you are
not, you may still apply to join them in the UK, if:
- Your family member has either settled or pre-settled status; and
- Your relationship to the EU, EEA or Swiss national began before 31
December 2020; and
- You continue to be a close family member, such as a spouse, civil
partner, unmarried partner, a dependent child or grandchild, or a dependent
parent or grandparent.
However, if the UK leave
the EU without a deal, the deadline for you to join your EU, EEA or Swiss
family member in the UK will be 29 March 2022. Nevertheless, the situation
remains fluid and therefore subject to change.
Can I take up employment
in Europe and still live in the UK?
apply for settled status if you are an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen and
had lived in the UK, but has now started working in another EU Member State.
situation, you will need to evidence that you:
- Have lived
and worked or been self-employed in the UK for a continuous period of 3 years
prior to your departure; and
- Usually return to your UK once a week.
applies to employment and self-employment and applications must be submitted
from within the UK.
you are the family member of an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen at the
time that the EU, EEA or Swiss citizen starts work or self-employment
in another EU Member State, you may also be eligible for settled
Is there a fee to apply to
the EU Settlement Scheme?
EU Settlement Scheme
applications are free. There was an intention, at the announcement of the
Scheme, to charge £65 per applicant. And indeed, the fee had been paid by some
applicants during the pilot phase.
Thankfully, the fee has
since been waived and refunded to applicants, where appropriate.
What happens after I apply to UKVI?
after consideration of the EU Settlement Scheme application, UKVI decide to
grant you pre-settled or settled stats, UKVI will send you a link to an online
service where you may confirm and prove your status.
link may be given to employers or other institutions to prove your status in
will not provide you with a physical Biometric Residence Card (BRP) or
document, so it is important that you keep a copy or screenshot of your status
for your records.
if you are a national from outside of the EU, EEA or Switzerland and
do not already have a BRP to evidence your status, you will be given a document
to confirm your pre-settled or settled status.
What happens if my
application is unsuccessful?
The decision to refuse pre-settled or settled status applications does not carry a right of appeal, though it is possible to request an administrative review.
will normally contact you if there is incorrect or missing information prior to
making a decision, so it is crucial to provide an email address or phone number
where you can be reached.
the application is refused, you may apply again to the EU Settlement Scheme at
any time until 30 June 2021, or 31 December 2020, in a no-deal scenario.
an EU Settlement Scheme application will protect the rights of EU, EEA, Swiss nationals
and their family members living in the UK. We have received a number of
questions about the Scheme, which we have addressed in this in-depth Q&A
by Carla Thomas – Managing Director at Thomas Chase immigration.
Chase Immigration offer immigration assistance to individuals and families.
you still have questions or concerns or you would like straightforward
immigration advice or assistance with your application to the EU Settlement
Scheme or for an EEA family permit, then feel free to contact us.
Contact us at [email protected] or visit https://www.thomaschaseimmigration.com/contact-us to arrange a consultation.
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