The date of the expiry of your pre-settled status will be in the letter you received from the Home Office deciding your application. 

Before your pre-settled status expires, you are required to make an application for settled status, which is also known as indefinite leave to remain. You need to have spent five years in a row living in the UK in order to qualify for settled status. If your application for settled status is successful, you are granted indefinite leave to remain. 

The Home Office should already have an email and phone number for you. Make sure you update these as soon as possible if these details change.  Each application is decided on its merits, so it is very important to submit all the documents supporting your application.

Could you summarise the 2023 and 2024 changes to rules regarding pre-settled status?

In July 2023 the government announced that 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.
 
Then on 21st May 2024, the Home Office announced further changes. These can be seen in full here – https://www.gov.uk/government/news/home-office-confirms-changes-to-the-eu-settlement-scheme. To summarise:

1. Pre-settled statuses will now be extended by 5 years, instead of 2.
2. Landlords, employers and other bodies/institutions that check someone’s status via the Right to Work, Right to Rent and View and Prove systems, will not see the expiry date of pre-settled statuses anymore.
3. Pre-settled status will lapse after either 2 or 5 years of continuous absence, depending on your situation. Please see the following box, “When will my pre-settled status lapse”, for details.

The Home Office intends to take steps during 2024 to automatically upgrade pre-settled status holders to full settled status (as of June 2024 we are waiting for details on this). This should benefit those that have continuous records with HRMC and DWP databases for at least 5 years. However, it is recommended that you apply to the EUSS as soon as you qualify for it, to enable you to obtain a better status as soon as possible. 
 
More information can be found in Free Movement’s summary here.

When will my pre-settled status lapse?

If you have pre-settled status and…

  • acquired permanent residence rights before 21/05/2024, and have an absence exceeding 2 consecutive years before 21/05/2024: your status lapses after 5 years of continuous absence. 

  • have an absence exceeding 2 consecutive years before 21/05/2024, but have not acquired permanent residence rights: your status has lapsed according to law, even if on the online portal your status shows as active.

  • have an absence that started before 21/05/2024, but that as of 21/05/2024 did not reach 2 consecutive years: your status will lapse after 5 years of consecutive absence. Whether you have permanent residence rights or not does not affect this. 

  • you have started, or will start, an absence after 21/05/2024: you can spend up to 5 consecutive years abroad without losing your status. Whether you have permanent residence rights or not does not affect this.

Having permanent residence rights under the Withdrawal Agreement essentially means 1) holding an EUSS status, and 2) having lived in the UK for (usually) 5 years, and 3) having exercised treaty rights.

The rules for applying to settled status do not change. If you break your continuous residence due to long absences, you may not be eligible for settled status.

Is there more detail about changes to the duration of pre-settled status extensions?

The Home Office will change the duration of pre-settled status extensions from 2 to 5 years later this year (as of June 2024 we do not yet have details on this). 

If you have already received a 2 years extension, apply for settled status as soon as you qualify for it.  We do not know if a further 5 years or 3 years extension will be applied. 

You do not need to take any action. You just need to wait for a Home Office’s communication confirming the grant of the extension and the change of expiry date. This should happen close to the expiry date of your pre-settled status. 

We always recommend applying for settled status as soon as you qualify for it. 

The requirements to apply for settled status remain the same: for people with a status based on their own rights, the qualifying period must start before 31.12.2020, 11.00pm.

What recent changes have been made to the checking of immigration status?

Landlords, employers, and other bodies/institutions that use the right to work, right to rent and view and prove systems will no longer be able to see the expiry dates of pre-settled statuses.

Landlords and employers will no longer be able to see the expiry date of your pre-settled status, so it is less likely that they will refuse rent or employment if you have a few months of validity left on your pre-settled status.

The process that landlords and employers use to check someone’s immigration status has remained the same. You will still need to generate a share code and the checker will carry out the verification process in the standard way. What changes is that they will not see the expiry date of your pre-settled statuses anymore. 

What steps do I need to take to apply to move from pre-settled to settled status?

The application process is similar to your previous application for pre-settled status.  To begin the application for settled status you start with the EU EXIT: ID Check App and then go to the online form.

You will need:

  • Biometric ID that you can scan using the EU EXIT: ID Check App
  • National Insurance Number (NIN), if you have one
  • Email
  • Phone number
  • Proof of ‘continuous residence’
  • Justification for long absences

What does continuous residence mean?

To be eligible for settled status you must have spent five years living in the UK and in each of these five years you can spend a maximum of six months outside the UK in any twelve month period. You may not be granted settled status if you have spent more than six months in any twelve month period outside of the UK. 

Absences with pre-settled status

Absences shorter than 6 months

If you have less than 180 days of absences, calculated cumulatively, in each 12 month period of the 5 year period, you will be able to apply for settled status at the end of the 5 year period.

How do I calculate absences?

The six month (or 180 days) absence is not limited to a single lengthy period outside of the UK, it applies to multiple trips which add up to six months altogether. This means that where there are multiple trips, there are also multiple “rolling” 12 month periods, and each and every 12 month period will need to be monitored to make sure absences in “any 12 month period” do not amount to more than six months. 

If you have applied as a joining family member, the continuous residence will begin from the date you receive your status. The calculation of absences will begin from the same date.

When is a long absence allowed?

You may be eligible for Settled Status if you were resident in the UK before 31 December 2020, but you left the UK for an absence between 6 and 12 months for an “important reason”, which could include:

  • Childbirth
  • Severe illness
  • Study
  • Professional training
  • Secondment of work abroad
  • COVID-19

Absences longer than 6 months

If you have more than 180 days of absence, calculated cumulatively, in any of the 12 month periods of the 5 year period, not included in the “important reason”, you are not eligible to apply for settled status. However, you can live, work and study in the UK until your pre-settled status ends after 5 years.

If your absence is for longer than 24 months, please see the above box (second from top), “When will my pre-settled status lapse?” 

Absences due to Covid-19

To justify an absence shorter than 12 months caused by the pandemic, you can submit any coronavirus-related reason when applying for settled status.  Bear in mind that the timing of the absence will be evaluated. For example, the UK lockdown started in March 2020.

Some acceptable justifications for coronavirus-related absences are:

  • You felt safer in the place where you chose to go (or stay) abroad
  • You worked or studied from home abroad
  • You were unemployed in the UK and returned to live with your family abroad

Absences longer than 12 months due to Covid-19

If the Home Office accepts your Covid-19 justification for your absence, the first 12 months of absence can be used for your 5-year continuous residence. But because of the ‘excess’ months, the qualifying period will need to be extended and, when applying for SS, you will need to prove that you have been in the UK for 5 years + X months, where X = number of months spent abroad in excess of 12 months.

How are 2 absences longer than 6 months calculated?

At least one of the two absences must be caused by the pandemic:

First absence – only the first 12 months of absence can be used for your 5 years of continuous residence.

Second absence – only the first 6 months of absence can be used for your 5 years of continuous residence.

You will be able to apply for SS if you can prove that you have lived in the UK for 5 years + X months, where X = number of ‘excess’ months.

How do I make another application for pre-settled status due to Covid-19?

It may be you have to make another pre-settled status application because your qualifying period has been extended to cover the period of absence you spent abroad due to Covid-19.

In this case, you will have to submit a new application using the EU Exit: ID Check app and you will need:

  • A valid biometric identity document.
  • Evidence justifying your absence, and proving that since your return to the UK you have not interrupted your continuous residence.

Please see our guidance on making a late application.

Where can I get help if I get stuck?

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.
 

You can also contact Settled by calling 0330 223 5336 or emailing [email protected]

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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