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 have changed.  Each application is decided on its merits so it is very important to submit all the documents supporting your application.

The steps you need to take.

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

Continuous residence.

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 spent more than six months in any twelve-month period outside of the UK. 

How long is six months?

180 days.

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 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.

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.

Absences longer than 24 months.

If you have been absent for more than 24 months (a single absence longer than 2 years), your Pre-Settled Status is no longer valid and you will need to apply for a visa under the UK points immigrations system.

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.

Making a second application for PSS due to Covid. -

If you have to make a second Pre-Settled Status application because your qualifying period has been extended to cover the period of absence you spent abroad due to Covid-19.

You will have to submit a second application using the EU Exit: ID Check app and you will need:

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

Where to get help if you get stuck.

The UK government runs the EU Settlement Scheme Resolution Centre, which can help you with your EUSS application.

You can contact them online here:

Alternatively you can call the EUSS Resolution Centre on the following numbers:

From within the UK: 0300 123 7379
Monday to Friday (excluding bank holidays), 8am to 8pm
Saturday and Sunday, 9:30am to 4:30pm
You can find out more about call charges here:

From outside the UK: +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.
You can call us on 0330 223 5336 or email [email protected]