This page answers some common questions about Settled Status and the application process.
What is Brexit?
On 23 June 2016 the people of the UK voted to leave the EU in a referendum called by the Government at that time.
Brexit is the popular name for the UK leaving the EU. The date for this is now set at on or before 31 January 2020, following the granting of an extension by the EU. The precise terms of this have yet to be agreed by the UK Parliament, however and a general election has been called in the UK for 12 December 2019. It will be for the next Government and Parliament to finalise a deal with the EU.
Brexit means that the arrangements and agreements of the UK’s membership of the EU will end. New arrangements have to be put in place, including those that cover the right of EU citizens to freely live and work in the UK for those already here.
EU citizens affected are the nationals of the 27 EU countries (Slovakia, Romania, Hungary, Poland, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovenia, Estonia, Austria, Germany, France, Spain, Portugal, Croatia, Cyprus, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Estonia, Greece, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Malta, Ireland) plus EEA countries (Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein) and Switzerland.
For simplicity, we refer to EU citizens across this website, but unless specified, we actually mean the nationals of the 31 countries in the paragraph above.
What does this mean for me?
If you are a citizen from an EU/EEA country, or a Swiss citizen, and live in the UK, the treaty that protects your rights to live and work here will no longer apply here.
To allow you and your family to stay and work here, and retain your rights to services, benefits and healthcare, the EU and the UK have agreed on certain terms and protections for EU citizens in the UK.
It is possible that the UK decides to leave without agreeing on a deal, the so-called no-deal scenario. However, the UK Government has stated that in that case, it will still respect the agreements reached related to citizen’s rights.
The UK has made a separate, but similar agreement with EEA countries and Switzerland, so citizens from Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Switzerland will be unaffected by a no-deal scenario.
What should I do?
EU/EEA and Swiss citizens in the UK must apply for a new immigration status to continue to live and work in the UK and to access healthcare and social security benefits for which they are eligible. This new status is called Settled Status and the scheme to implement this is called the EU Settlement Scheme.
The deadline for applications is:
- 30 June 2021 if there is a deal,
- or 31 December 2020 if there is no deal.
Nothing will change in your status until these dates, but it is important to apply if you want to continue to live and work in the UK and keep the rights you have now. Not applying by the relevant cut-off dates above may mean you could lose your right to work, to rent a house or to receive benefits or healthcare. Ultimately, this could lead to your removal from the UK.
The application is free, although there may be costs involved with some parts of the process. Settled Status is granted based on residence only. You do not need to be in-work and can receive benefits.
Can everyone in my family apply?
Yes. EU citizens and their family members, including children, must apply.
If your family includes nationals from outside the EU, they must apply too if they are:
- your spouse, civil partner or durable partner;
- your children, grandchildren or great-grandchildren (under 21 years old);
- Your dependent children over the age of 21;
- your parents, grandparents or great-grandparents.
What do I need to apply?
You need a valid passport or ID document. If yours are out of date (or will soon be out of date) or lost, you should apply for new documents as soon as you can.
If you have a National Insurance Number (NIN), have it to hand. It helps the Home Office to check tax and benefits records as evidence of your residence in the UK. If you don’t have a NIN, you may well have to upload extra documentation as proof of your residence in the UK.
If you are making an application for your children, you need evidence of their relationship to you, such as a birth certificate.
You will also need an email address to be able to continue your application process online for future reference and so that the Home Office can send you updates on your application.
You may need to provide additional evidence that you have lived in the UK for the previous five years. You can find a checklist of documents that will be accepted by the Home Office here.
I already have some immigration documents!
If you have a Registration Certificate or were registered under the Workers Registration Scheme you must apply.
If you have a Permanent Residence document, you must still apply. This document will become invalid on 31 December 2020. However, it will count as evidence of residence during your Settled Status application.
Non-EU citizens with a residence permit can apply if they can provide evidence of their relationship to an EU citizen, as well as their biometric residence permit.
If you have Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) you don’t have to apply. Settled Status is a form of Indefinite Leave to Remain. However, applying for Settled Status might give you extra rights and more protection. If you do apply, you can skip the proof of residence stage, as you have already qualified for that.
What will I get and what will my rights be?
You will get Indefinite Leave to Remain, which is a UK immigration status that will give you the right to carry on living and working in the UK.
Depending on the length of time you have lived in the UK at the time of your application, or the proof of this time that you have, there are two categories:
- Pre-Settled Status will be offered if you have lived in the UK for less than five years when you apply, or if you cannot provide evidence that you have lived in the UK for more than five years. It is valid for five years only and you will need to apply for Settled Status when this runs out, or when you reach five years of residence in the UK. You can work, rent or buy accommodation and have access to the health care from the NHS, but some benefits may be restricted due to the additional conditions that apply.
- Settled Status will be offered if you can show you have lived in the UK for five years or more when you apply. This gives you a version of Indefinite Leave to Remain, with the right to work, rent or buy accommodation, access to healthcare and other social security provisions such as benefits and access to education on the same conditions as UK citizens.
You will have the right to leave and enter the country, however, you will lose your status if you stay out of the country for five years or more continuously.
You will also have the right to family reunification, which means close family members (children and parents, and their children and parents) can join you at a later date.
If you want to, you can apply for British Citizenship one year after you have received your Settled Status, if you meet the criteria for this. If you are married to a British Citizen, you can apply immediately on receiving Settled Status.
How do I apply?
You can start your application for Settled Status on the gov.uk online portal.
Settled is dedicated to guide, inform and assist those vulnerable and hard-to-reach EU citizens who may at risk of not having a status by the time the EU Settlement Scheme end. This site aims to provide more specific guidance specific to your circumstances.
If you still have questions about a Settled Status application for yourself or somebody you know, please contact us here. We usually reply within one working day.
This page was last updated on Wednesday 30 October 2019. Settled will make every effort to update this information to reflect the current situation.