If you’re from the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein, you and your family might be able to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme to continue living in the UK. You might also be able to apply if you’re the family member of an eligible person of Northern Ireland.
The deadline for most people to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme was 30 June 2021. This deadline does not apply if you already have pre-settled status and you’re applying for settled status.
If you or your family are from the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein, you can still apply if you or a family member were living in the UK by 31 December 2020. You must also either:
- meet one of the criteria for a later deadline to apply
- have ‘reasonable grounds’ for why you’re applying now, and not by the deadline or in the time since the deadline passed
You may be able to stay in the UK without applying - for example, if you’re an Irish citizen, or you already have indefinite leave to enter or remain.
If your application is successful, you’ll get either settled or pre-settled status.
If you already have pre-settled status
You can usually apply for settled status once you’ve lived in the UK for 5 years in a row. It’s free to apply.
You’ll need to make a new application to the scheme to switch from pre-settled status to settled status. If you do not do this, the Home Office will extend your pre-settled status by 2 years just before it’s due to expire.
They may cancel the extension if they think you no longer meet the requirements for it, for example because you’ve been outside the UK for more than 6 months in a 12 month period. There are some exceptions. Check how long you can spend outside the UK without losing your continuous residence.
Settled status gives you proof that you have the right to live in the UK permanently. You can usually apply for British citizenship once you’ve had settled status for 12 months.
If you’re coming to the UK from Ukraine
You can apply for the EU Settlement Scheme if you’re eligible.
The Ukraine Family Scheme visa closed on 19 February 2024.
Criteria for later deadlines and reasonable grounds for the delay in applying
In some cases, you can still apply after 30 June 2021.
For example, if you’re joining a family member who was living in the UK by 31 December 2020, your deadline will be based on when you arrive in the UK, as long as:
- you were their family member by 31 December 2020 (this does not apply to children born or adopted after this date)
- the family relationship still exists when you apply
You can also still apply if you’re eligible and can show ‘reasonable grounds’ for why you could not apply by the deadline or in the time since the deadline passed.
You must give evidence of your reasonable grounds, which both:
- explains the reason or reasons you could not apply
- covers the whole period since the deadline passed, as well as why you could not apply by the deadline
Check who can still apply to the EU Settlement Scheme, including examples of what may count as reasonable grounds for the delay in applying.
If you have not yet applied to the EU Settlement Scheme
Your rights in the UK are not protected unless you have applied to the EU Settlement Scheme and received a certificate of application.
This means you cannot:
- access benefits and services (including free NHS healthcare)
- work or study in the UK
- rent a property in England
How to protect your rights by applying
Once you’ve applied and received your certificate of application to the EU Settlement Scheme, your rights are protected.
This protection will last until you get a decision on your application or the outcome of an appeal.
You can use your certificate of application to prove your rights in the UK, for example the right to work, rent, claim benefits or use NHS services.
You can view your certificate online. You will also receive a copy of your certificate in the post or by email, depending on how you applied.
If you’re a joining family member
If you are a joining family member, your rights will automatically be protected for 90 days from the date of your arrival in the UK.
After 90 days, your automatic temporary protection will end. You’ll need to prove that you’ve submitted an application to continue to access your rights in the UK.
If you arrive in the UK illegally your application will be rejected.
If you’re waiting for a decision
Find out what happens after you’ve applied.
It’s free to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme.