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How to Apply for Settled Status in the UK

If you are an EU citizen, or a citizen from the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland, you and your family can apply for settled status in the UK in order to continue living lawfully in the UK after 30 June 2021. The EU settlement scheme is now open and is free of charge to apply.

This status also means you will continue to be eligible after the UK leaves the European Union for:

  • public services, such as healthcare and schools
  • public funds and pensions
  • British citizenship, if you meet the requirements.

The final deadline to apply in most cases is 30 June 2021, or 31 December 2020 if the UK leaves the EU without a deal. Your rights will remain unchanged until then, provided that you were resident in the UK by 31 December 2020, or the date the UK leaves the EU if there’s no deal.

Who can apply for the scheme?

In most cases, you can apply for the EU settlement scheme if you fall into one of the following categories:

  • You are from the EU, EEA or Switzerland
  • You are a family member of someone from the EU, EEA or Switzerland.

Non-EU family members living in the UK by 31 December 2020, or the date the UK leaves the EU in the event of no deal, are eligible to apply under the scheme.

Close family members who are not living in the UK by 31 December 2020, or the date the UK leaves the EU in the event of no deal, will be able to join their EU family member in the UK at any point in the future, or until 29 March 2022 in the event of a no deal, as long as the relationship still exists.

In the event that you are not an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen, you may also be able to apply in the following circumstances:

  • You used to have an EU, EEA or Swiss family member living in the UK, but you’ve separated or they have died
  • You are the family member of a British citizen and you lived outside the UK in an EEA country together
  • You are the family member of a British citizen who also has EU, EEA or Swiss citizenship and who lived in the UK as an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen before getting British citizenship
  • You are the primary carer of a British, EU, EEA or Swiss citizen
  • You are the child of an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen who used to live and work in the UK, or the child’s primary carer.

If you have a UK permanent residence document you will still need to apply under the EU settlement scheme. However, you do not need to apply if you have indefinite leave to remain or enter.

If you are an Irish citizen you can stay in the UK without applying to the scheme, although non-British family members of Irish citizens will still need to apply.

Non-EEA family members & Settled Status

You can apply under the EU settlement scheme if you are in a relationship with an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen as their spouse, civil partner or unmarried partner. You can also apply if you are related to an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen, their spouse or civil partner as their:

  • child, grandchild or great-grandchild under 21 years old
  • dependent child over the age of 21
  • dependent parent, grandparent or great-grandparent
  • dependent relative.

Settled or Pre-Settled Status?

If your application under the EU settlement scheme is successful, you will either be granted settled or pre-settled status, depending on how long you’ve been living in the UK when you apply.

If you’ve lived in the UK for five years or more on a continuous basis, you will usually be granted settled status. This will allow you to live and work in the UK for as long as you like. You will also be able to apply for British citizenship if you are eligible, and any children born in the UK while you’re living here will automatically be British citizens.

If you have lived in the UK for less than five years, you will usually be granted pre-settled status. This will allow you to stay in the UK for five years from the date you get your status. Having accrued five years’ continuous residence you will then be able to apply for settled status.

You must have started living in the UK by 31 December 2020, or by the date the UK leaves the EU without a deal, to be eligible for pre-settled status.

How do I apply for Settled Status in the UK?

If you are an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen, or family member of an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen, you can submit your application online. However, you cannot use the online service to apply to the scheme if you are not an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen and you are applying as:

  • the family member of a British citizen you lived with in Switzerland or an EU or EEA country that is not the UK
  • the family member of a British citizen who also has EU, EEA or Swiss citizenship and who lived in the UK as an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen before getting British citizenship
  • the primary carer of a British, EU, EEA or Swiss citizen
  • the child of an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen who used to live and work in the UK, and you’re in education – or you’re the child’s primary carer

In the event that you fall into any one of these categories you will need to apply by post.

To apply you will need the following documents:

  • Proof of your identity, for example, a passport or national identity card
  • Proof of your residence in the UK, including proof of continuous residence where you have lived in the UK for more than five years
  • If you are not an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen, proof of your relationship to your family member from the EU, EEA or Switzerland.

Your national insurance number can be used to carry out an automated check of your residence based on tax and certain benefit records. If this check is successful, you will not need to provide any documents as proof of residence.

You will also need to provide a digital photo of your face during the application process.

Can I apply for British citizenship with settled status?

If your application under the EU settlement scheme is successful, you will usually be able to apply for British citizenship twelve months after you have been granted settled status.

However, you will still need to satisfy the relevant requirements including, for example, that you are of sound mind and good character, and that you have sufficient knowledge of the English language and life in the UK.

Contact us for advice on your circumstances.

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