Frequently Asked Questions about applying for Settled Status

Absence

How long can I leave the UK with pre-Settled Status?

Although you won’t lose your pre-Settled Status, unless you spend up to 2 years outside the UK, you will lose your “continuous residence” if you leave the UK for more than 6 months in every 12 months. This means that you will NOT qualify for Settled Status at the end of your 5-year period. If your intention is to apply for Settled Status you should not be outside the UK for more than six months in every 12 months period, within the five years before your Settled Status application.

The Home Office does allow for an absence of up to 12 months “for an important reason”, such as childbirth, but you are advised to check with the Home Office before you leave the UK, to see if your case meets this scenario.

For more information go to: https://www.gov.uk/settled-status-eu-citizens-families/what-settled-and-presettled-status-means

I have been unable to return to the UK due to COVID-19 related travel restrictions, will I lose my pre-Settled Status?

The UK Government has confirmed in Parliament that no one will be disadvantaged by COVID-19. However, the Home Office has yet to confirm this in published guidance. They have informed us that they will take a flexible approach to absences caused by COVID-19. However, we can’t be certain that absences over six months will not affect the five years continuous residence required for settled status. What we do know is that the one Office will consider your circumstances if you have clear evidence that the COVID-19 pandemic prevented your return to the UK when abroad and that you can prove that you came back to the UK as soon as travel was permitted and possible. We recommend that you retain evidence to prove you are/were unable to return to the UK during your absence abroad. We also recommend that, once it is possible for you to return to the UK, you do so as soon as reasonably possible. However, decisions on this are at the discretion of the Home Office Resolution Team.

In a message dated July 2020 the Home Office Resolution Centre told us:

“If an applicant’s current absence from the UK is not out of choice, but directly related to the COVID-19 pandemic, then we strongly advise that, when making their application for Settled Status (in due course), they provide all relevant evidence, clearly stating why they were unable to return to the UK.

They could provide, for example, the reason for their travel/absence, or any airline, travel agency, Public Health England, their embassy/consulate, as well as the Foreign and Commonwealth Office correspondence on the current travel disruptions due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Evidence of any regular communications that they may have had with the airline, demonstrating that they are unable to return to the UK on a pre-booked return flight date, for example, could also be provided, as could proof of any future necessary arrangements they may have made as a consequence of this, and so on. We would like to reassure you that all eligibility decisions under the Scheme are made by a fully qualified caseworker, who will assess applications on an individual, case-by-case basis, and based on all the evidence provided at the time of application. When an applicant applies for Settled Status, therefore, the caseworker will contact them directly if further information is required, so as to give them every opportunity to demonstrate their eligibility, with a view to ensuring that they can be granted the status to which they are entitled.  As the ongoing situation is fluid and can change daily, travel disruption is, subsequently, changing on a daily basis. We recommend that customers keep up to date with developments on the EU Settlement Scheme, by checking GOV.UK, or by signing up for email updates on:https://gov.smartwebportal.co.uk/homeoffice/public/webform.asp?id=67&id2=627DF7″

App

I am having problems with the app, what can I do?

Provided you have a smartphone with Near-field Communication (NFC) technology, it should be able to read the biometric chip in a passport of ID card. If you have problems, try any of the following:

  • Remove any cases or covers from your document and phone and slowly move your phone around the document until the app recognises it.
  • If you continue to have problems, place the phone on the reverse cover or the photo page of your passport or ID document.
  • If you still have a problem you may want to wait a little and try again after a few hours.
  • If you are still experiencing problems you may want to try using someone else’s phone (no data will be kept on the phone).
  • You can also try and contact Assisted Digital and see if there is a support service near you: https://www.gov.uk/assisted-digital-help-online-applications. They can help with scanning your documents, but not with the application itself.
  • You can also try and make an appointment with one of the scanning centres, but there may be a charge for this service. A list can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/eu-settlement-scheme-id-document-scanner-locations. Again, they can only scan your documents, they can’t help with the application itself.

If none of this works for you, please contact Settled on advice@settled.org.uk for further guidance.

Benefits

See Universal Credit and Welfare Entitlement.

Biometric Residence Card (BRC)

How do I upgrade a BRC issued under the EEA regulations to a BRC issued under the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS)?

A BRC will not be valid after 31 December 2020. You can find more information on biometric residence cards (BRC) here: https://www.gov.uk/apply-for-a-uk-residence-card

If you have pre-Settled or Settled Status you should use the following link to upgrade your BRC issued under the EEA regulations to a BRC issued under the EU Settlement Scheme: https://visas-immigration.service.gov.uk/product/biometric-residence-permit-replacement-service?_ga=2.9880885.1408909759.1597665806-1939459641.1592321380

Click on ‘Update or Replace your biometric residence card (BRC)’ to find out more and you can fill the application form by clicking Apply Now.

Check my status

I have completed my application but I haven’t received a response from the Home Office.

I have (pre-)Settled Status, but can’t access the account to update details.

Citizenship

I want to apply for British Citizenship.

Settled can’t provide legal advice on citizenship applications, but you can find more information on the
Home Office website:
https://www.gov.uk/apply-citizenship-eea

and the Citizens Advice Bureau website:
https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/immigration/

A very useful resource is offered also by UKCEN, where immigration lawyers work pro-bono to provide support:
https://www.forum.ukcen.com/forum/uk-nationality-questions

You may want to seek advice from an accredited immigration adviser. You can find more information here: https://www.gov.uk/find-an-immigration-adviser

Children

Do children have to apply? 

For the purpose of the EU Settlement Scheme, children are considered to be any child of an EU citizen under the age of 21 or children of 21 and over who are financially or medically dependent on their parent and staying with them in the UK. All children who are not UK citizens will need to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme and they have a right of admission to join their parent in the UK. If their application is linked to a parent, proof of the relationship will need to be provided in the form of a birth certificate. They will receive the same status (pre-Settled or Settled) as the parent, regardless of their length or residence in the UK.

Can they join their parents after the 31 December 2020 and 30 June 2021 deadlines?

As children are direct ascendents, they can also join a parent after the application deadline fo 30 June 2021.

Can I apply for the EU settlement scheme for my children in absentia  as their EU passport and birth certificate are with me in the UK?

If the parent has Settled Status, the application can be made when the child is still abroad, but evidence of the child’s identity and the relationship to the parent must be provided.

For parents with pre-Settled Status, the main barrier to completing the EUSS application before the children come to the UK is that a requirement of the application process is that they must have a qualifying period of residence in the UK less than 5 years for pre-settled status. Therefore, as they have not had a period of residence in the UK, they would not qualify for the EUSS before they came to the UK.

If the parent has pre-Settled Status, they can apply for the child’ status based on their residence in the UK and submit evidence that proves that the child was in the UK in the last 6 months, by submitting appropriate supporting documents such as a EU passport/ID, birth certificate,  parent’s pre-settled status reference number, and one of the documents below:

  • letter from a school,
  • letter from a GP
  • a flight ticket and a boarding card

You may be able to use other documents as proof of residence please visit the HO website and contact the Resolution Centre if you have any problems or questions.

If the child is not an EU/EEA citizen they can still join their parents if they have pre-Settled or Settled Status, but please contact Settled for further advice.

Continuous Residence

How long I can be outside the UK with pre-Settled Status and not lose my status or opportunity to apply for Settled Status?

See Absence.

Historic Residence

I am a citizen of an EU country and have lived in the UK previously but left again. Now I want to return. Can I apply for pre-Settled or Settled Status, using those years against my application?

If in the past, you have been residing in the UK continuously for longer than 5 years and, since then, you have NOT been outside the UK for longer than 5 years you can apply for settled status based on your historic residence.

Say, if you arrived in the UK in 2009 and lived here until 2017, you have been outside the UK for less than 5 years. Therefore, if you have documents that prove your continuous residence for 5 consecutive years, you will be able to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme.

However, if you left the UK for more than 6 months in a 12 months period, during your residence here, you cannot claim continuous residence and you will have to come back to the UK and apply for pre-Settled Status.

If you are not sure, do call the resolution centre for advice: https://www.gov.uk/contact-ukvi-inside-outside-uk/y/inside-the-uk/eu-settlement-scheme-settled-and-pre-settled-status

If their answer is not clear or your application is not successful, or the status offered not what you expected, do get in touch via advice@settled.org.uk and we will try and help.

Post ID Documents

What do I do if I have to post my documents?

If you are unable to scan your ID documents, you may need to post your documents to the Home Office. When you post your documents, make sure that:

  • You don’t need them in the next two to four weeks for travel
  • You place them in a secure envelope, together with a clearly addressed return envelope
  • Make sure the return envelope is franked for recorded delivery
  • Seal the envelope well and send the documents recorded delivery to the specified address.

Pre-Settled to Settled Status

How do I change status from Pre-Settled to Settled status?

If you have pre-settled status, you will be able to apply for settled status as soon as you reach your 5 years of continuous residence. You need to make a new application and the process is similar to that for pre-Settled Status. The Home Office should already have an email and phone number for you (make sure you update these as soon as there is any change) from your previous application, but apart form that everything will need to be resubmitted. As before, you start with the App and then go to the online form. You may be asked to provide evidence of your continuous residence.

Reapplying for pre-settled status

I have applied for pre-settled status but I have broken my continuous residence. What shall I do?

  1. Contact the Home Office and let them know that you have interrupted your “Continuous Residence”.
    https://eu-settled-status-enquiries.service.gov.uk/start
  2. Make sure you are in the UK before 31/12/2020 and apply again before 30 June 2021.
    https://www.gov.uk/settled-status-eu-citizens-families/applying-for-settled-status

But please note that during the five year of pre-settled status, the Home Office allows an absence of up to 12 months “for an important reason”. You could check with the Home Office if your case meets this scenario.

If you have any problem with your second application contact us via advice@settled.org.uk.

Right of Admission

Can I enter the UK with my  EU passport after 31 December 2020 ?

EU nationals with Settled or pre-Settled Status need their valid passport linked to their EUSS status when travelling to or from the UK. If you have changed your passport or ID card, you will need to update the records held by the Home Office in relation to your (pre-)Settled Status.

For all other travel arrangements to the UK, please check the gov.uk website for details on the future immigration system: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/new-immigration-system-what-you-need-to-know

Universal Credits and Welfare Entitlement

Settled does NOT give advice on Universal Credits but we know that…

Until 31 December 2020, you can still apply for universal credit without having settled status if you’re an EU national and meet the criteria.

Please contact the Work Rights Centre.

Work Rights Centre is a registered charity (No. 1165419) supporting EU and British nationals with understanding and accessing their employment rights in the UK in several EU languages including Romanian, Russian, Spanish, Italian, Bulgarian and Polish.

Opening Times:
Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays
from 11:00 to 17:00

Contact details:
E: contact@workrightscentre.org
T: 0300 4000 100

To talk to a Romanian speaking adviser, please call 07565660752
on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 11:00 to 17:00

University fees

What level of fees do I need to pay (Home or International) and am I entitled to a Student Loan with pre-Settled or Settled Status?

Settled is a charity that helps EU citizens with their EU Settlement Scheme application and we do not give advice on matters outside this subject. However, the Government has stated that:

The EUSS means citizens of the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland will be able to stay and continue to work, study and access benefits and services broadly on the same basis as they currently do.’ https://www.gov.uk/guidance/studying-in-the-uk-guidance-for-eu-students

and…

If you’re starting a course on or after 1 August 2021, you must have settled or pre-settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme to get student finance. This does not apply if you’re an Irish national. https://www.gov.uk/student-finance/eu-students

You should contact the course provider regarding tuition fees for students with settled or pre-settled status. You can also visit the UK Council for International Student Affairs’ website: https://www.ukcisa.org.uk/information–advice/fees-and-money/scotland-fee-status

You can find information on Postgraduate Master’s Loan on the Government’s website: https://www.gov.uk/masters-loan/eligibility

General info are available here: https://www.universitiesuk.ac.uk/policy-and-analysis/brexit/Pages/brexit-and-universities.aspx

and here: https://www.universitiesuk.ac.uk/International/Documents/FINAL%20Settlement%20scheme%20FAQs%20for%20Students%20Feb%2019.pdf

Update applicants’ EU Settlement Scheme details

Updating or amending details such as mobile number, email address, identity document.

If you are waiting for a decision on pre-Settled or Settled Status, you can amend your contact details using this link:

https://www .gov.uk/update-eu-settlement-scheme-details

If you already have either pre-Settled or Settled Status you can view your status, amend your contact details and prove your status using the link below:

https://www.gov.uk/view-prove-immigration-status

Windrush Scheme

I have lived in the UK for a long time. Can I apply for the Windrush Scheme?

Under the Windrush scheme people, who arrived in the UK before 31 December 1988 and are settled in the UK, can be granted Indefinite Leave to Remain. However, Settled cannot give advice on the Windrush Scheme. Please visit the link below to check for eligibility

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/windrush-scheme

and contact the Windrush Helpline to receive information/ instructions:

Windrush helpline

commonwealthtaskforce@homeoffice.gov.uk

Telephone: 0800 678 1925

Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm

Saturday and Sunday, 10am to 3pm