EU Settlement Scheme Q&A

This document is not legal advice. The information is known to be correct on 1 st October 2019.

The UK has set a date for exiting the EU on 31 st October. However, legislation and politics may lead to a further extension.

Regardless of whether the UK leaves the EU on 31 st October or not, EU citizens living in the UK need to know:

  • You have been guaranteed the right to stay in legislation;
  • You have until December 2020 to apply for settled status;
  • You can continue to exercise almost all the same rights and privileges as under freedom of movement until December 2020 – including if you choose not to apply for settled status.

To secure the residency of EU citizens in the UK, the Government has created the “settled status”.


Do I need to apply if I am also applying for citizenship?

  • You should apply for Settled Status unless you want to apply for British Citizenship; and you will be eligible to do so prior to 30 June 2021 (or 31 December 2020 in the event of no deal); and
  • You have obtained British Citizenship before the deadline for applying under the Settlement Scheme

What is the deadline for applying for either Settled or Pre-Settled Status?

  • If there is a deal – 30 June 2021
  • If there is no deal – 31 December 2020

Do I need to choose whether I am applying for Settled or Pre-settled Status?

  • No, the application is the same for all individuals. You will be given an initial indication of what you may be entitled to, based on the date your National Insurance Number was issued.
  • However, this is not always determinative and you will have the opportunity to provide additional information and documents should you feel the initial assessment is incorrect (e.g you have lived in the UK for 6 years, but only had a National Insurance Number for 3 years).

I currently live outside the UK, can I apply under the Settlement Scheme?

  • Yes, individuals living overseas are able to apply whilst outside the UK

Will I get a document to show I have Pre-settled or Settled Status?

  • Your status under the EU Settlement Scheme will be recorded electronically on Home Office systems. You can view your status as soon as you get a decision on your application.
  • In the future, you’ll also be able to prove your rights to others online.


What makes me eligible for Settled Status?

  • You will be eligible for Settled Status where you have lived in the UK for a continuous period of 5 years. If you have been absent for significant periods during this time, you may only be eligible for Pre-Settled Status. If this is the case, you can apply to convert this to Settled Status at a later date.

What is a continuous period of 5 years?

  • You have lived in the UK for 5 years in a row; and
  • You have been in the UK for at least 6 months in any 12 month period unless the following applies;
    • one period of up to 12 months for an important reason (for example, childbirth, serious illness, study, vocational training or an overseas work posting, compulsory military service of any length)  

Do I need to have worked in the UK for the whole 5 year period?

  • No. Whilst it may be easier to demonstrate 5 years residence if you have worked for 5 years continuously this is not a requirement of the Settlement Scheme. Periods of study, self-employment or unemployment all count towards meeting the 5 years, but in some circumstances you may need to provide additional information (e.g. where you have only recently obtained a National Insurance Number)  

I have been in the UK for 4 ½ years, should I apply for Pre-Settled Status now, or wait 6 months and apply for Settled Status?

  • This is a personal choice. You do not need to submit an application until the deadline for submitting so can either apply now and later make a second application for Settled Status, or if you prefer, wait until you are eligible for Settled Status.

Do I need to apply for British Citizenship?

  • No. This is a personal choice and is not required in order to remain in the UK permanently once you have obtained Settled Status.    


Do my family members automatically obtain status if I do?  

  • No. Each family member will need to apply in their own right.
  • However, where a child is under the age of 21, they can obtain status in line with their parents, if for example, their parents are entitled to Settled Status where the child has lived in the UK for less than 5 years.  

My family members live outside the UK, will they be able to join me?

  • If there is a deal:
    • The relationship must have been in existence by 31 December 2020 (unless children born after this date); and
    • There is no deadline when a family member can apply to join someone benefitting under the Settlement Scheme
    • If the relationship was formed after 31 December 2020, an application will need to be made under UK immigration laws in place at that time  
  •  If there is no deal (please note that the below dates may change in the event “Brexit day” is delayed)
    • The relationship must have been in existence by 29 March 2019 (unless children born after this date); and
    • The application must be submitted by 29 March 2022
    • If the relationship was formed after 29 March 2019, or the application is submitted after 29 March 2022, an application will need to be made under UK immigration laws in place at that time  

What is the position for children born in the UK?

  • Children born in the UK to EU national parents may be entitled to register as British citizens now or at a later date or in some cases be automatically British. This depends on when they were born and also how long their parents have lived in the UK. This is a complex area of UK Nationality legislation however therefore we would recommend legal advice is sought.

What is a dependant for the purposes of the EU Settlement Scheme?

  •  A child under the age of 21 (including an adopted child or a child born through surrogacy) of an EEA citizen or the spouse or civil partner of the EEA citizen
  • Spouse or civil partner
  • An unmarried partner of an EEA citizen provided they have lived with the EEA citizen for at least 2 years
  • Dependant parent of an EEA citizen or the spouse or civil partner of the EEA citizen


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