What is an overview of my rights in the UK?

The UK government and the EU made an agreement (the Withdrawal Agreement, Article 18) that EU citizens who arrived in the UK before the 31st December 2020 will keep their rights in the UK. This includes rights to work, rent property, access healthcare, welfare benefits and local authority services, open bank accounts, and send their children to school.

In order to secure these rights, EU citizens were asked to make an application to the Home Office under the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS) by 30th June 2021.

Most EU citizens and their family members, including children, in the UK need to apply to the EUSS, even if they have lived in the UK for a long time, and even if they hold a residence card. 

The only EU citizens who do not need to apply are those with British or Irish citizenship or those already given ‘Indefinite Leave to Remain’, although it is advisable for the latter to apply to the EUSS as it confers them additional rights to their Indefinite Leave to Remain.

If you applied to the EU Settled Scheme by 30th June 2021 and you were given settled status, then you keep all the rights set out above. 

If you were given pre-settled status, then you also keep all the rights shown above; but it may be that to claim welfare benefits (such as Universal Credit) you might have to show additional information to secure your right to reside.

To prove that you have settled or pre-settled Status you will need to go online here: https://www.gov.uk/view-prove-immigration-status

If you made an application before the deadline, your rights are secure if you are still waiting for the Home Office decision on your application. In this case, your proof is a ‘Certificate of Application’.

If you have made a late application (made an application after the deadline) your rights are secure if you are still waiting to hear the Home Office decision on your application. In this case, your proof is a ‘Certificate of Application’.

If your application to the scheme was refused by the Home Office, it will be refused with a right of appeal. Any application decided on or after 5 October 2023 will not carry the right to Administrative Review, so you may lose many of your rights in the UK.

If you arrived before December 31st 2020 and have not yet applied to the scheme, and you have no other valid immigration status, then you cannot demonstrate you have rights in the UK. You can still access primary healthcare, emergency support from the local authority, and send children to school – but it may be decided that you are in the UK illegally with ‘no recourse to public funds’. If you have not yet applied to the EU Settlement Scheme and wish to remain in the UK, do not delay applying any further. You need to demonstrate, with evidence, that there are ‘reasonable grounds’ why you did not apply by the deadline of 30 June 2021. The Home Office will take a strict approach when looking at the reasons why the application has been submitted late.

From September 2023, people with pre-settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS) will have their status automatically extended by the Home Office for 2 years before their pre-settled status expires. This will occur if a person has not obtained settled status. Further details can be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/news/eu-settlement-scheme-enhancements-confirmed. Information on moving from pre-settled to settled status is here.

Family members of qualifying EU citizens are also protected by the Withdrawal Agreement and can be granted status under the Scheme. Family members fall under two categories: those who were resident in the UK before 11pm on 31 December 2020, and those who were not UK residents by this date but wish to join their EU family member who lives in the UK in the future (so called ‘joining family members’). The family relationship between the applicant and the EU sponsor must have started by 31 December 2020. For children, the rules are slightly different as children born or adopted after 31 December 2020 may be eligible to join their EU sponsor if they are the child of an EU sponsor or their spouse or civil partner.

Pre-settled and settled status are digital and, unless you are a non-EU family member, you won’t get physical proof of your status. See here for more information on issues with digital status.

Please see more detailed questions and answers in our wider advice webpages.

If you have difficulties, then your first point of help is the Home Office EU Settlement Scheme Resolution Centre:

  • From the UK, call 0300 123 7379. Monday to Friday (excluding bank holidays): 8am to 8pm. Saturday and Sunday: 9:30am to 4:30pm.
  • From outside the UK, call +44 (0)203 080 0010. Monday to Friday (excluding bank holidays): 8am to 8pm. Saturday and Sunday: 9:30am to 4:30pm.
Settled is here for you if you require further help with your EU Settlement Scheme issue. We provide free, mulltilingual advice, accredited by the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner (OISC). Please call us on 0330 223 5336 or email [email protected]


(last updated November 2023)

We’re here to help you with your Settled Status to remain in the UK. We have 100 volunteers on hand who can provide advice in all EU lanaguages.

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