The EU Settlement Scheme explained
What the scheme means if you are an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen
If you are an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen, you and your family members might be able to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS) to continue living in the UK after 30 June 2021. Usually, you must have started living in the UK by 31 December 2020.
The EUSS allows you and your family members to get the immigration status you will need to continue to live, work and study here in the UK. This status means that you continue to be eligible for:
- public services, such as healthcare and schools
- public funds and pensions
- British citizenship, if you want to apply and meet the requirements
Who is eligible to apply
You need to apply if you are an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen or a non-EU family member of an EU citizen, this includes those with a UK permanent residence document.
You do not need to apply if you have indefinite leave to remain or enter, or you are an Irish citizen, but you can if you want to.
You need to have been a resident in the UK by 31 December 2020. If you have been a resident in the UK for five continuous years or more you will be eligible for settled status. If you have been a resident for less than five continuous years you will be eligible for pre-settled status.
You must not be a serious or persistent criminal, a threat to national security, or have a deportation order, exclusion order or exclusion decision against you.
Irish citizens do not need to apply to the scheme to protect their rights in the UK, though they are able to do so if they want to. You can apply if you have a family member who is an eligible person of Northern Ireland whether you are an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen or not.
The EUSS applies to EU, EEA and Swiss citizens: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Republic of Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.
If you are an EU citizen living in the UK, you and your family members may be able to apply to the EUSS. Family members do not need to be from the EU; they can come from anywhere in the world (known as non-EU family members).
Close family members include spouses, civil partners, unmarried partners, dependant children and grandchildren, and dependant parents and grandparents.
Close family members who were not living in the UK by 31 December 2020 can join you in the UK at any point in the future. They will need to be able to show their relationship to you and it must still exist when they apply to come to the UK. Find out more information on close family members on the GOV.UK website.
Children born or adopted after 31 December 2020 will also have their rights protected.
When you can apply
The deadline for most people to apply to the EUSS was 30 June 2021.
You may still be able to apply if you or a family member were living in the UK by 31 December 2020 but you must also either:
- meet one of the criteria for a later deadline to apply
- have ‘reasonable grounds’ for not applying by 30 June 2021
If you are an existing member of staff who began employment on or before 30 June 2021 and have missed the deadline to apply for status under the EUSS, but believe you are eligible and would still like to do so, please contact the Staff Immigration Team email@example.com.
We have also developed a set of FAQs which you may find helpful.
How the application process works
You can access the application online using a computer, tablet or mobile phone. Your application saves automatically, so if you want to, you can start your application and then complete it at another time. It is free to apply to the EUSS.
The application asks for basic information like your name, address, contact details and nationality.
Proof of identity
Verify your identity and nationality using your passport, national identity card, or biometric residence card (if you are a non-EU citizen).
Proof of residence
Prove your residence in the UK by providing your National Insurance number, if you have one. Other documentation may be used, or required, to show proof of residence.
Complete the criminality check by declaring any criminal convictions. Only serious or persistent criminality will affect your application. This will not affect the vast majority of EU citizens and their family members.
You can get support over the phone or in person if you need online assistance.
Key things to know about the application
Proof of identity
To verify your identity you will need a valid passport or national identity card. If you are a non-EU citizen you can use a valid passport, biometric residence card or biometric residence permit. When you apply, you will be able to either:
- scan your identity document using the EU Exit ID Document Check app on an Android phone or iPhone 7 and above device. You will need either a valid EU, EEA or Swiss passport or ID card if it is biometric or a UK-issued biometric residence card
- visit an ID document scanning location which provides access to an Android device. A list of locations can be found on GOV.UK
- send your identity document in the post and upload your photo using the online application (you can take this yourself). Once you start your application you will be provided with the address. You must send your document by post if you have a non-EU or non-EEA passport, biometric residence permit or non-biometric ID card
You will need to provide a digital photo of yourself which will be checked to make sure it matches the photograph on your identity document. Non-EU citizens will also need to provide fingerprint biometrics if they have not already done so, for the purposes of being issued a biometric residence card.
Proof of residence
There are a number of ways to provide evidence of your residence. Providing your National Insurance number (if you have one) should help you prove your residence in the UK.
There may be cases where residence cannot be proven automatically in this way and additional evidence may be required. You can easily submit further evidence online by uploading photos or scanning your documents into your application. Review list of suggested acceptable evidence.
If you want to apply for pre-settled status you will need to show that you moved to the UK before 31 December 2020 and that, since your last entry to the UK before 31 December 2020, you have not been absent for more than six months (or for more than twelve months if the absence was for an ‘important reason’).
If you want to apply for settled status, you'll need to show that you have lived in the UK for five continuous years, starting before 31 December 2020.
Continuity of residence is generally broken by absences of more than six months in any one year. However, not all absences of more than six months break the continuity. In particular, you will not have broken the continuity of your residence if during the five-year qualifying residence, you were outside of the UK for one single period of absence of up to 12 months, and the absence was for an ‘important reason’. For example, pregnancy, childbirth, serious illness, study, vocational training, an overseas posting or some absences due to COVID-19.
Approval and your status
If you receive pre-settled status (also known as limited leave to remain or enter) this means you can stay in the UK for a period of five years. This will allow you to remain in the UK until you are eligible for settled status, generally once you have lived continuously in the UK for five years.
If you receive settled status (also known as indefinite leave to remain or enter) this means there is no time limit on how long you can stay in the UK.
You will usually be able to apply for British citizenship 12 months after you have received settled status.
Successful applicants will get digital proof of their status through an online service. Your family members who are from outside the EU will receive a biometric residence card if they do not already have one.
Your status will be stored electronically by the Home Office. Once you receive your status, details will be provided on how to access it.
You will be able to prove your rights to others online, including employers. Help will be available if you have difficulties using online services.
An EU passport or national identity card alone is no longer valid proof of your right to work in the UK (excluding Irish citizens). As an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen (or a family member of one) who has applied under the EUSS, your right to work check can now be carried out using the Home Office Online Right to Work Checking Service by providing your employer with your share code and date of birth.
The EUSS Resolution Centre
For individual questions about your application, call 0300 123 7379.
ID document scanning service
This service is available to complete the identity verification step if you do not have access to the EU Exit: ID Document Check app. There may be an administrative fee to use this service. Review list of ID document scanning locations.
The Staff Immigration Team
The Staff Immigration Team in HR are providing support to staff who are considering making an application. If you need assistance, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Applying for the scheme from outside of the UK
Review the Home Office guidance on how to apply for the EUSS if you are currently outside the UK.