What you’ll get
The rights and status of EU, EEA and Swiss citizens living in the UK by 31 December 2020 will remain the same until 30 June 2021.
The EEA includes the EU countries and also Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway.
If you apply to the EU Settlement Scheme successfully, you’ll be able to continue living and working in the UK after 30 June 2021.
You’ll be given either:
- settled status
- pre-settled status
You will not be asked to choose which you’re applying for. Which status you get depends on how long you’ve been living in the UK when you apply. Your rights will be different depending on which status you get and when you started living in the UK.
You’ll 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. The exceptions are:
- 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 be considered to be resident in the UK on 31 December 2020 and may be eligible for settled status if you both:
- lived in the UK for a continuous 5-year period in the past
- have not left the UK for more than 5 years in a row since then
You can stay in the UK as long as you like if you get settled status. You’ll also be able to apply for British citizenship if you’re eligible.
If you have not lived in the UK for 5 years in a row (known as ‘continuous residence’), you’ll usually get pre-settled status. You must have started living in the UK by 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. You can stay in the UK for a further 5 years from the date you get pre-settled status.
You can apply to switch to settled status as soon as you’ve had 5 years’ continuous residence. The 5 years is counted from the day you first arrived in the UK. You do not need to have held pre-settled status for 5 years to apply.
You must apply for settled status before your pre-settled status expires to stay in the UK.
If you’ll reach 5 years’ continuous residence by 30 June 2021, you can choose to wait until you have 5 years’ residence to apply. This means that you’ll get settled status without having to apply for pre-settled status first if your application is successful.
If you will not reach 5 years’ continuous residence by 30 June 2021, you cannot wait until after this date to apply. You must apply for pre-settled status by 30 June 2021. You can then switch to settled status once you have 5 years’ continuous residence.
If you’ve left the UK
You may be able to get pre-settled status if you were living in the UK before 31 December but you were not here on that date. You must not have left the UK Channel Islands or the Isle of Man for more than 6 months in any 12 month period.
You may also be eligible if you were living in the UK by 31 December 2020, but you left the UK for one period of no more than 12 months for an important reason (for example childbirth, serious illness, study, vocational training or an overseas work posting). Your previous residence in the UK will count towards your eligibility for pre-settled status.
Showing your continuous residence when you apply
You’ll need to show that you were living in the UK by 31 December 2020, unless you’re joining your family member who is an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen and they were living here by then.
If your evidence is older than 6 months, you’ll usually also need evidence to show you were here in the last 6 months. This is to show your continuous residence.
If you’ve been outside the UK for one period of no more than 12 months, you can use evidence from before you left to show your continuous residence. You must have been outside of the UK for an important reason, for example, due to childbirth, serious illness, study, vocational training or an overseas work posting.
Your rights with settled or pre-settled status
You’ll be able to:
- work in the UK
- use the NHS for free, if you can at the moment
- enrol in education or study in the UK
- access public funds such as benefits and pensions, if you’re eligible for them
- travel in and out of the UK
You’ll have different rights if you get settled or pre-settled status because you’ve applied to join your EU, EEA or Swiss family member and you arrived in the UK after 31 December 2020. For example, you will not be able to bring your own family members under the EU Settlement Scheme.
If you want to spend time outside the UK
If you have settled status, you can spend up to 5 years in a row outside the UK without losing your status.
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.
If you have pre-settled status, you can spend up to 2 years in a row outside the UK without losing your status. You will need to maintain your continuous residence if you want to qualify for settled status.
If you have children after applying
If you get settled status, any children born in the UK while you’re living here will automatically be British citizens.
If you get pre-settled status, any children born in the UK will be automatically eligible for pre-settled status. They will only be a British citizen if they qualify for it through their other parent.
If you want to bring family members to the UK
If you’re a citizen of the EU, EEA or Switzerland, your close family members can join you if all of the following apply:
- you were resident in the UK by 31 December 2020
- your relationship with them began before 31 December 2020 (unless they’re a child born or adopted after that date)
- the relationship still exists when they apply to join you
If your family member is from the EU, EEA or Switzerland, they can apply to the EU Settlement Scheme from outside the UK if they hold either a valid passport or identity card with a biometric chip.
If your family member is not from the EU, EEA or Switzerland, they can apply to the EU Settlement Scheme from outside the UK. They must hold a relevant UK document, for example:
- a residence card
- a permanent residence card
- a derivative residence card
Otherwise, they will need to apply for an EU Settlement Scheme family permit to come to the UK. Once they’re in the UK they can apply to the EU Settlement Scheme.
They cannot apply to the EU Settlement Scheme from inside the UK if they arrived after 31 December 2020 and they’re here:
- on a Standard Visitor visa, Permitted Paid Engagement visa, Parent of a Child Student visa or Transit visa
- without a visa, for example if they came through an e-passport gate
They also cannot apply if they’re here on a Marriage Visitor visa, unless they’re applying after you’ve married or entered into a civil partnership with them.
Irish citizens can apply from inside the UK regardless of how they entered.
If you cannot bring your family member under the EU Settlement Scheme, they may still be able to come here in a different way, for example on a family visa.
Family members of Swiss citizens
If you’re a Swiss citizen, you can also bring your spouse or civil partner to the UK until 31 December 2025 if both of the following apply:
- your relationship with them began between 31 December 2020 and 31 December 2025
- you are still in the relationship when they apply to join you