On the 23rd of June 2016, UK citizens voted to leave the European Union (EU) and on the 31st January 2020 the UK left the EU. However, the conditions and rights for EU nationals to continue living in the UK have not changed and will not change for those who are able to evidence that they were already living in the UK before 31 December 2020.
If that’s your situation, you should simply make an application under the new scheme, known as the EU Settlement Scheme, which is mandatory. You should apply by the 30th June 2021. you should make an application under a new scheme, which is mandatory by the 30th June 2021, known as the EU Settlement Scheme.
What is happening now?
The EU Settlement Scheme
All EU nationals (and their family members) living in the UK must now apply to remain in the UK. This is known as the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS).
Therefore, even if you currently possess a document under EU law (blue card) you must still apply under the new EU Settlement Scheme before the deadline
The new settlement scheme grants you either ‘settled’ or ‘pre-settled’ status:
- Settled status: If you have already been living in the UK for 5 years. Settled status is also known as indefinite leave to remain.
- Pre-settled status: If you have been living in the UK for less than 5 years. Pre-settled status is also known as limited leave to remain. This will grant you 5
years’ residence in the UK. After 5 years of residence, you must apply for settled status.
This process is applicable for EU nationals as well as their non-EU family members living in the UK. Here is your starting point. This form will determine the next steps for you.
When do I have to act?
The UK left with a ‘deal’ therefore those already living in the UK by the end of the transition period – 31 December 2020-will have until 30 June 2021 to apply under the new scheme.
I am considering moving to the UK, can I still do that?
Yes, if you are an EU national then you and your family members can still come to the UK. You will still be able to come to the UK until 31 December 2020. You will then have until 30 June 2021 in order to apply for residence.
All European nationals who arrive after 31 December 2020 will be subject to new immigration laws and will not be able to enjoy rights under EU law.
If you have specific questions it is best to seek legal advice from an organisation who is accredited. Alternatively, you can find detailed information on the government pages.
Your family members can also apply to stay with you in the UK, even if they are not EU nationals themselves. It is easiest for the EU national to apply first, then for the non-EU family members to submit their applications afterwards.
Non-EU Spouses, and non-EU children of EU nationals or their partners, can simply apply using the app. They may be asked to provide evidence of their relationship with the EU national such as a marriage certificate or birth certificate.
Dependent parents of EU nationals or their partners (i.e. parents who rely on the EU national or the non-EU partner of the EU national) as a primary source of income) can also simply apply using the app, again proving their relationship with the EU national. Their dependency on the EU national will be presumed without the need to evidence of dependency.
Unmarried non-EU partners of EU nationals need to hold an EU family permit or residence document under the old rules before they can apply to the EU settlement scheme. Once they hold one of these documents they can apply to the settlement scheme using the app.
Dependent extended family members also need to hold an EU family permit or residence document under the old rules before they can apply to the EU settlement scheme. Once they hold one of these documents they can apply to the settlement scheme using the app.
How do I apply for the Settled or pre-settled status?
The application is free and is currently made online, and you can submit it via any type of device. The application is the same whether applying for pre-settled or settled status.
To apply using your phone or tablet: First, your device must have an NFC chip (Near field technology). Then you can apply by downloading the mobile application to verify your documents.
If your device does not contain NFC technology, then use the following website to apply from the official Home Office website
If you have been living in the UK for more than 5 years, you will be granted settled status. If you have been living in the UK for less than 5 years, you will be granted pre-settled status. You can stay in the UK for a further 5 years from the date you get pre-settled status. After you have completed 5 years you will then be able to reapply for settled status.
You will receive a decision by email which typically takes between a few days to a few weeks. However, in more complex cases it can take significantly longer.
It is useful to have a National Insurance number (see the National Insurance Number section in this booklet) as the application can check your records quickly in order to grant you settled or pre-settled status.
In the event, you do not have a ‘NIN’, or if you do not have full records of employment or benefits with the Department of Work and Pensions, you will be required to submit your own documents to prove your residence in the UK.
If you have lived in the UK for over five years but the government only has records for less than five years you can also submit your own documents to ensure that you receive settled rather than pre-settled status.
If you are granted settled status it means that you can usually apply for British citizenship after you have held this status for 12 months. This application is known as naturalisation, of which there are additional requirements to meet.