What you’ll get
You’ll be given either:
- settled status, usually where you’ve lived in the UK for a continuous 5-year period (known as ‘continuous residence’)
- pre-settled status
You will not be asked to choose which you’re applying for. Which status you get usually depends on how long you’ve been living in the UK when you apply.
You may be eligible for settled status before you have 5 years’ continuous residence. This would be, for example, if you’re the child of someone with settled status, or if you stop working in the UK, or start working in an EU country.
How your continuous residence is worked out
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.
You’ll need to show that you - or your family member from the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein - were living in the UK by 31 December 2020.
When you can be outside the UK for more than 6 months
There are some absences of more than 6 months in a 12-month period that will not count as a break in your continuous residence, which are:
- one period of up to 12 months for an important reason - for example, childbirth, serious illness, study, vocational training, an overseas work posting or because of coronavirus (COVID-19)
- 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
- working in the UK marine area
If you were outside the UK for more than 12 months because of COVID-19, check if you maintained your continuous residence.
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
If you’re a national of a country requiring UK entry clearance you need a valid biometric residence card (BRC) and passport to return to the UK after travelling abroad. If your BRC has been lost, stolen or has expired, you’ll need to apply for an EU Settlement Scheme travel permit.
If you get settled status, it will be easier to prove your right to live in the UK permanently. You’ll also be able to apply for British citizenship if you’re eligible.
If you get pre-settled status, you can usually switch to settled status after you’ve lived in the UK for 5 years in a row.
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, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man 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, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man without losing your settled status. Your family members do not have to be Swiss citizens.
If you have pre-settled status, you can spend up to 2 years in a row outside the UK, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man without losing your status. You will need to maintain your continuous residence if you want to qualify for settled status.
If you spend too much time outside the UK, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man
You’ll lose your settled or pre-settled status. You’ll usually need to apply for a visa to live and work in the UK, even if your biometric residence card (BRC) has not expired.
You can reapply to the EU Settlement Scheme if you’re eligible as a family member of someone from the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein.
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 eligible for pre-settled status. They will only be a British citizen if they qualify for it through their other parent.
If you had a child in the UK on or after 1 July 2021, they may still be British automatically even if you did not have settled status at the time of their birth. This will be the case if you either:
- applied for settled status by 30 June 2021 but were only granted this after the birth
- applied for settled status after 30 June 2021, had ‘reasonable grounds’ for submitting a late application, and would have been granted settled status had you applied by 30 June 2021
Switching from pre-settled to settled status
You can switch to settled status as soon as you’ve had 5 years’ continuous residence, or sooner if you’re eligible before 5 years.
The 5 years is counted from the day you started your continuous residence, not the day you were granted pre-settled status.
If you do not switch to settled status, your pre-settled status will be extended by 2 years shortly before it’s due to expire. You’ll be sent an email when your status has been updated. You can also check your UKVI account.
The Home Office may cancel this extension if they think you no longer meet the requirements for it.
If you want family members to join or remain with you in the UK
If you’re from the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein, your family members can join or remain with you if all of the following apply:
- you were living in the UK by 31 December 2020
- your relationship with them began by 31 December 2020 (unless they’re a child born or adopted after that date)
- the relationship still exists when they apply
- you have settled or pre-settled status
They need to make the application themselves, as long as they meet the requirements to apply.
If you’re a Swiss citizen and you have a partner
Your spouse or civil partner can apply until 31 December 2025 to join or remain with you in the UK if both of the following apply:
- your relationship with them began after 31 December 2020 but by 31 December 2025
- you’re still in the relationship when you apply
If you’re the family member of someone from the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein who has died
You may be eligible for settled status before you’ve been living in the UK for 5 years.
Your family member must have been working or self-employed in the UK at the time of their death. They must have been living in the UK by 31 December 2020.
You must also have been living with them in the UK just before their death and either:
- they lived continuously in the UK, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man for at least 2 years immediately before their death
- their death was the result of an accident at work or an occupational disease