If you have permanent residence or indefinite leave to remain
The process of applying to the EU Settlement Scheme is different if you have a permanent residence document or indefinite leave to enter or remain.
If you have a valid ‘UK permanent residence document’
If you have a valid UK permanent residence document, you’ll have one of the following:
- a certificate inside your blue ‘residence documentation’ booklet (or pink if you’re a Swiss national)
- a certificate inside your passport
- a biometric residence card confirming permanent residence (only if you’re not an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen)
Your document is not a permanent residence document if it has ‘registration certificate’ written on it.
If you’re from the EU, EEA or Switzerland your permanent residence document will say ‘Document Certifying Permanent Residence’.
If you’re not an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen, your biometric residence card will say ‘Permanent Residence Status’.
The EEA includes the EU countries and also Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway.
What you must do
To continue living in the UK after 30 June 2021 you must either:
- apply to the EU Settlement Scheme - you will not have to prove you have 5 years’ continuous residence
- apply for citizenship before 30 June 2021 (or 31 December 2020 if the UK leaves the EU without a deal)
If you have indefinite leave to enter or remain
Indefinite leave to enter or remain (ILR) are types of immigration status.
You’ll usually have applied for indefinite leave to enter or remain. You’ll have a stamp in your passport or a letter from the Home Office. You could also have a ‘vignette’ (sticker) or a biometric residence permit.
You can continue to live in the UK without applying to the EU Settlement Scheme if you have indefinite leave to enter or remain in the UK. However, if you choose to apply (and meet all the other conditions), you’ll get ‘indefinite leave to remain under the EU Settlement Scheme’ - also known as settled status.
This means you should be able to spend up to 5 years in a row outside the UK without losing your settled status (instead of 2 years with the indefinite leave to enter or remain you have now).
If you’re a Swiss citizen, you and your family members can spend up to 4 years in a row outside the UK without losing your settled status.
You will not have to prove you have 5 years’ continuous residence.
If you moved to the UK before it joined the EU on 1 January 1973
You may have been given ILR automatically if you’re an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen who lived in the UK before 1973. If you were, you will not need to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme to stay in the UK after June 2021.
If you do not have a document confirming your ILR status, you can either:
- apply to the EU Settlement Scheme to get settled or pre-settled status
- apply to the Windrush scheme to get proof of your ILR status
If you’re from Malta or Cyprus, you could also apply for British citizenship through the Windrush scheme.
Applications for either scheme are free of charge.