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 180 days 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 180 days 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?

In terms of Covid-19 absences:

Please refer to Guidance for EUSS applicants in or outside the UK who have been affected by restrictions associated with coronavirus.

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-eu-settlement-scheme-guidance-for-applicants

If your 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 an application for Settled Status (in due course), you provide all relevant evidence, clearly stating why you were unable to return to the UK. 

You could provide the reasons for your travel/absence, or provide correspondence with any airline, travel agency, Public Health England, embassy/consulate, or the Foreign and Commonwealth Office that you have had.

Evidence of any regular communications that you may have had with the airline, demonstrating that you are unable to return to the UK on a pre-booked return flight date could also be provided, as could proof of any future necessary arrangements you may have made as a consequence of this. 

The Home Office 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.  

We recommend that everyone keeps up to date with developments on the EU Settlement Scheme, by checking GOV.UK, or by signing up for email updates:

https://gov.smartwebportal.co.uk/homeoffice/public/webform.asp?id=67&id2=627DF7

In terms of Covid-19 single absence from the UK of more than 6 months but not more than 12 months:

If you have been absent from the UK for a single period of more than 6 months, but not more than 12 months, during your 5 year continuous qualifying period due to being ill with coronavirus, and you were unable to return to the UK because you were ill or in quarantine, that absence will not cause you to break your continuous qualifying period.

If you are a student who was studying in the UK and are studying outside the UK because of coronavirus, that absence will not cause you to break your continuous qualifying period, where it is for a single period of more than 6 months but not more than 12 months, during your 5-year continuous qualifying period.

The EUSS allows for a single absence up to 12 months for an important reason, including serious illness and study.

An absence or absences of more than 6 months but not more than 12 months in total in any 5-year continuous qualifying period where coronavirus was not a factor will still interrupt that continuous qualifying period unless there was another important reason for the absence.

Self-isolating will only be considered an important reason for absence where you are, or were, under quarantine conditions, for example:

  • when ill with coronavirus yourself,
  • sharing a house with someone ill with coronavirus,
  • when required to self-isolate as a result of being, or being in contact with someone who is, in a vulnerable or high-risk category

In all cases where you have been prevented from travelling due to coronavirus you should provide a supporting letter with your application outlining the details and the dates you were ill or were in quarantine.

You’re only permitted a single absence exceeding 6 months (but not exceeding 12 months) for an important reason in your 5-year continuous qualifying period.

More than one such absence will always interrupt your continuous qualifying period regardless of the reason for it, including if you’re prevented from returning to the UK because of coronavirus.

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.

Au Pair

Do I need a permit to work as au pair?

You can hire an au pair if they:

If none of these apply, you need to check the au pair’s visa conditions for their right to work before hiring them.

You must not hire an au pair if they’re here on a visitor visa or visiting the UK for 6 months or less.

If the au pair does not already have a visa, tell them to check if they need a UK visa.

Au pairs from the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein need to have been living in the UK on or before 31 December 2020 to apply for the EU Settlement Scheme. The deadline for applications is 30 June 2021.

https://www.gov.uk/au-pairs-employment-law/au-pairs

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.  

GOV.uk has been updated to advise that parents will ‘also need to provide proof of the child’s residence if the child started living in the UK before 1 January 2021’. 

This information is available here: https://www.gov.uk/settled-status-eu-citizens-families/apply-settled-status-for-child 

This is because the application route is now available for family members who do not have prior UK residence, to apply to join their sponsors in the UK, meaning that we need to ascertain that child applicants have themselves been in the UK within the 6 months prior to their application and before the end of the implementation period on 31 December 2020. 

This is an important distinction because individuals in the latter category, when granted status under the Scheme, will then have the lifetime right under the Withdrawal Agreement to bring their own family members to the UK in future (if applicable) – a right that would not be held if applying to the Scheme only as a joining family, without relevant prior UK residence

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

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

Children born/adopted in the UK after 01/04/2021

 If the child is born or adopted in the UK on or after 1 April 2021, the parents or guardians must apply within 3 months of the date the child was born or adopted.

Children born/adopted abroad after 01/04/2021 from parents that have either PSS or SS. 

In terms of children born outside the UK, they do not have to make an application within three months to be joining family member as they can make an application at the point when they want to enter the UK (obviously if they wait until they are 21 years old they would have to show dependency but it seems unlikely that that situation arise generally). 

The child would have to have permission to enter the UK under the EUSS before travelling (either a Family Permit or granted pre-settled/settled status outside the UK), in many cases that will mean the parent has to stay with the child but obviously, if there are alternative arrangements in place the parents can come back to the UK and the child can join them once they have been granted permission. They should not bring the child back in as a visitor as we know this will cause problems obtaining EUSS status in the UK.

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 residency. 

For example, someone who has historic residence from 2000-2013 then came back briefly in 2016:

The applicant will need to upload proof of 5 continuous years in the past (eg 2008/2013) and proof of the trip in 2016 to show that he hasn’t been outside for more than 5 years. 

If he applies now from abroad:

– his SS will be dated, for example, December 2020 

BUT 

– the 5-year absence starts from the last time he was in the UK in 2016.

So the applicant needs to return briefly to the U.K. before the 5-period runs out in 2021.

In your case, you arrived in the UK in 2008 and lived here until 2016. You have been outside the UK for less than 5 years. 

Therefore, if you meet the following three criteria you will be able to apply successfully to the EU Settlement Scheme:

  1. Identity. You have a valid ID.

      2. Eligibility. You have documents that prove your continuous residence for 5 consecutive years (in your case the past). “Continuous residence” means that you haven’t been away for more than 6 months in every 12 months in your 5 years, in your case between 2011 and 2016. 

     3. Suitability. You meet the requirements for good character. You have to self-report to the Home Office any criminal convictions that appear in your criminal records in the UK and abroad.

If you have a passport with a microchip  and you have all documents to prove your continuous residence . You can apply online now, from outside the UK, using the  “EU Exit: ID Document Check App”. 

Please refer to link below for further info on how you can use your app on your phone:

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/using-the-eu-exit-id-document-check-app  

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.

Joining a Family Member in the UK

If you are planning to join in the U.K. your EU, EEA or Swiss citizen family member who has (pre-)settled status.

Close family members that meet the following criteria can join EU/EEA and Swiss citizens in the UK anytime.

  • Spouse & Civil partner, the relationship must have existed on 31 December 2020 (or 31/12/2025 for family members of a Swiss citizen) and at the time that they enter the UK
  • Durable partner, with proof of cohabitation for at least 2 years by 31 December 2020
  • Children under 21, (dependency is assumed)
  • Children over 21, with proof of dependency
  • Dependent parents, with proof of dependency for application submitted after 1 July 2021, or for applications submitted before that date but the sponsor is under the age of 18 (or was on 31 December 2020)

The applicant will be asked to upload evidence of the relationship. This evidence can be scans or photos of documents. The Home Office can require to submit the original document where it has reasonable doubt as to the authenticity of the copy relied upon.

For further information regarding the type of documents that must be provided: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/eu-settlement-scheme-evidence-of-relationship-to-an-eu-citizen#unmarried-partner

The applicant has to apply from abroad and apply first for EUSS Family Permit (mainly non-EU/EEA/Swiss) and apply for PSS when they arrive in the UK. If people arrive in the UK on or after 1 April 2021, they must apply to the EU Settlement Scheme within 3 months of the date they arrive in the UK.

For guidance refer to:

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/eu-settlement-scheme-evidence-of-relationship-to-an-eu-citizen#unmarried-partner

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

Surinder Singh’ applications

My British spouse and I have lived in the EU for the past 6 years can we come back and live in the UK?

Non-EEA family members can apply for an EUSS family permit if they have lived in another Member State with an eligible family member who is a British citizen. 

This is the case where a British Citizen (BC) moved to another Member State and returns to the UK with their non-EEA family member, who has lived with BC in that Member State. 

The British family member must be one of the following: 

  • spouse (husband or wife), civil partner or durable partner; 
  • parent or grandparent (or their spouse or civil partner) 

– the applicant must also be under 21 years old or dependent on them; 

  • child or grandchild (or their spouse or civil partner) 

– the applicant must be dependent on them, or; 

  • family members who were adopted under an adoption order that is recognised in UK law; 
  • other extended family members. 

According to Regulation 9 of EEA Regulations 2016, the applicant and the British family member will both need to show that they have genuinely made their home in another Member State. They both must prove that:

  • it was their main residence or base for the ‘centre of their life’;
  • they lived there together, and; 
  • they were integrated there. 

The British family member will also have to show that they either have the right to permanent residence in the EEA country where they lived together, or have been exercising ‘treaty rights’ (as a worker, self-employed, self-sufficient or student person). 

Surinder Singh applicants can get status through the EUSS, but only through using a paper form. 

Please note that Surinder Singh applicants should return to the UK and apply by 29th March 2022 if they are the British citizen’s: 

  • spouse, civil partner or unmarried partner and they relationship started before 1st February 2020; 
  • under 21 years old, and are their child or grandchild; 
  • 21 years or older, and are their dependent child or grandchild; 
  • dependent parent or grandparent. 

They must return by 31st December 2020, and apply by 30th June 2021, if they are:

  • their spouse, civil partner or unmarried partner and they relationship started on or after 1 st February 2020; 
  • another dependent relative.

Universal Credits and Welfare Entitlement

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

Until 31 December 2020, you could 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 for more information.

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