Guidance

Coronavirus (COVID-19): EU Settlement Scheme - guidance for applicants

Guidance for EUSS applicants in or outside the UK who have been affected by restrictions associated with coronavirus.

This guidance was withdrawn on

This guidance has been withdrawn. An updated version will be published by 31 May 2021.

If you need to provide alternative evidence of identity and nationality, or entitlement to apply from outside the UK

You may be able to use an alternative piece of evidence of identity and nationality, or (if you are applying from outside the UK) of entitlement to apply from outside the UK if you are unable to obtain or produce a passport or national identity card due to circumstances beyond your control or due to compelling practical or compassionate reasons specifically related to coronavirus public health restrictions.

For example, the closure or inability to travel to an embassy or high commission may prevent you from renewing your passport or national identity card, or may mean you cannot finalise an application for a new document. These may be acceptable reasons to provide alternative evidence of identity and nationality or entitlement to apply from outside the UK.

Each case will be considered individually.

You’ll need to provide sufficient evidence of your inability to produce the required document due to coronavirus public health restrictions. For example, you would need to provide evidence of an embassy closure, such as a letter from the relevant national authority, or a link to an official webpage.

You’ll also need to provide alternative evidence of your identity and nationality, or entitlement to apply from outside the UK. These can include:

  • documents previously issued by the Home Office
  • an expired passport or national identity card
  • an official document issued by the authorities of your country of origin or of the UK which confirms your identity and nationality

You’ll need to apply on a paper application form if you need to provide alternative evidence of your identity and nationality, or entitlement to apply from outside the UK.

You can request a paper application form by contacting the EU Settlement Resolution Centre. You’ll need to explain why you need one when you contact us.

Further details are in the ‘Alternative evidence of identity and nationality or of entitlement to apply from outside the UK’ section of the EU Settlement Scheme caseworker guidance.

If you’re required to provide further information when making an application

We may ask you to provide further information or evidence before your application can be decided.

You’ll be able to provide this by email, and all evidence of eligibility will be accepted in digital format.

If you’re only able to post such additional information or evidence, we will work with you to ensure sufficient time is provided to take account of any disruption to postal services or of any reason you may be unable to post documents such as time spent self-isolating.

If your continuous qualifying period in the UK has been affected

Your continuous qualifying period will not necessarily be affected if you were impacted by coronavirus public health restrictions. For example, if you had coronavirus overseas and could not return to the UK, or imposed travel restrictions meant you were absent from the UK for longer than planned (providing the period does not exceed 12 months).

You will not always have to restart your 5-year qualifying period towards settled status.

Depending on the basis of your application to the EUSS, time spent in the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man may be treated as time spent in the UK.

Absences from the UK of up to 6 months in any 12-month period

If you have been absent from the UK for no more than 6 months in any 12-month period, in either a single absence or multiple absences, your continuous qualifying period will not be broken regardless of the reason for your absence(s) and you will not have to provide additional information or evidence in support of your application.

A single absence from the UK of more than 6 months but not more than 12 months

If you have been absent from the UK for a single period of more than 6 months, but not more than 12 months, during your 5 year continuous qualifying period due to being ill with coronavirus, and you were unable to return to the UK because you were ill or in quarantine, that absence will not cause you to break your continuous qualifying period.

If you are a student who was studying in the UK and are studying outside the UK because of coronavirus, that absence will not cause you to break your continuous qualifying period, where it is for a single period of more than 6 months but not more than 12 months, during your 5-year continuous qualifying period.

The EUSS allows for a single absence up to 12 months for an important reason, including serious illness and study.

An absence or absences of more than 6 months but not more than 12 months in total in any 5-year continuous qualifying period where coronavirus was not a factor will still interrupt that continuous qualifying period unless there was another important reason for the absence.

Self-isolating will only be considered an important reason for absence where you are, or were, under quarantine conditions, for example:

  • when ill with coronavirus yourself,
  • sharing a house with someone ill with coronavirus,
  • when required to self-isolate as a result of being, or being in contact with someone who is, in a vulnerable or high-risk category

In all cases where you have been prevented from travelling due to coronavirus you should provide a supporting letter with your application outlining the details and the dates you were ill or were in quarantine.

You’re only permitted a single absence exceeding 6 months (but not exceeding 12 months) for an important reason in your 5-year continuous qualifying period.

More than one such absence will always interrupt your continuous qualifying period regardless of the reason for it, including if you’re prevented from returning to the UK because of coronavirus.

In these circumstances you’ll need to restart your 5-year qualifying period towards settled status when you return to the UK before the end of the transition period.

Absence of more than 12 months

If you do not have permanent residence status under the EEA Regulations or settled status under the EUSS, an absence from the UK of more than 12 months will always interrupt your continuous qualifying period.

In these circumstances you’ll need to restart your continuous qualifying period by 31 December 2020 to be eligible for status under the EUSS.

Published 15 December 2020