The EU Settlement Scheme is an immigration route for citizens of the EU, EEA, and Switzerland who wish to apply for permission to stay in the UK after Brexit

Information last updated on 04/11/2019

If you are from the EU, EEA, or Switzerland, you (and your family members) are welcome to stay in the UK to live, work, and study after Brexit. However, if you want to stay here beyond December 2020, you will need to apply for permission under the EU Settlement Scheme.

Eligibility

To be eligible for the EU Settlement Scheme, you must be resident (living) in the UK by a specified date. It doesn't matter for how long you have been living in the UK.

The specified date by which you must be resident in the UK depends on whether the UK leaves the EU with or without a deal:

  • If the UK leaves the UK with a deal, you must be resident in the UK by 31st December 2020
  • If the UK leaves the EU without a deal (a 'no-deal' scenario), you will need to be resident in the UK by 11pm on the day of Brexit (which is likely to be 31st January 2020).

Application Process

Applications for the EU Settlement Scheme are free. The online application process is simple and straightforward. Applications can be made from within the UK or overseas.

The Home Office have published a helpful video to explain the process.

1. Download the Home Office app

You don't need to send your passport or EU ID card to UK Visas & Immigration (UKVI). Instead, you can verify your ID using the EU Exit: ID Document Check app. The app reads the chip in your passport or ID card.

The app is available to both Android and iPhone users (subject to compatibility) and can be download from the Google Play Store or the Apple App Store. If your phone is not compatible, you can borrow one from a friend or colleague. There are also a number of public locations where you can get your passport or ID card scanned, but you may be charged for this service.

2. Complete the online application form

Once you have verified your identity using the app, you can complete the online application form. You don't have to use the same device that you used to verify your ID.

During the application, you will be asked to declare any criminal convictions. If you have a criminal conviction and would like some advice, please contact the International Student Advice Service before you apply.

3. Confirm your UK residence

UKVI will check your UK residency using government records from HMRC (tax) and other departments.

If the records are complete, you won't need to submit any evidence. If the records are incomplete, you may need to submit documentary evidence of your residence in the UK. For students, this can include a Student Status Letter. There is a list of acceptable types of evidence that you can submit to support your application.

Outcomes

A successful application under the EU Settlement Scheme will result in:

  • Settled Status. Granted if you have 5 years' continuous residency in the UK. Settled Status will last indefinitely and you may subsequently be able to apply for British citizenship (subject to eligibility)
  • Pre-Settled Status. If you don't have 5 years' continuous residence, you will receive Pre-Settled Status. This will last up to 5 years, during which time you can apply again for settled status as soon as you are eligible

Both Settled and Pre-Settled status allow you to work, study, and live in the UK without restriction.

If your application is refused, you can apply for an administrative review, or submit a new application. In such cases, we recommend that you seek advice from one of our International Student Advisers.

Deadlines

The deadline for applying under the EU Settlement Scheme is 31st December 2020. You must apply by this date in order to retain your legal status in the UK.

If you don't apply in time, you may lose the right to work and study in the UK. If you are a registered student on this date, the university will ask you for evidence which confirms that you applied by the deadline.

You only need to apply under the EU Settlement Scheme if you wish to stay in the UK after December 2020. If you intend to leave the UK permanently before this date, you don't need to do anything.

Students whose courses finish in 2021

Despite its name, the EU Settlement Scheme is not only for people who wish to permanently 'settle' in the UK. You must apply under this scheme if you wish to remain in the UK after December 2020, even if only temporarily. This is particularly important if your programme finishes in January or June 2021 - to complete your programme, you'll need to apply under this scheme even if you intend to return home after graduation.

Irish Nationals

If you are a national of the Republic of Ireland, you don't need to apply under the EU Settlement Scheme. Your rights to live, work, and study in the UK are protected under separate arrangements.

However, if you have non-EU/EEA family members in the UK, they may need to apply under the EU Settlement Scheme. Please refer to the section below on 'Family Members'.

Family Members

The EU Settlement Scheme is also open to family members of EU, EEA, Swiss, and Irish nationals. They will need to apply under this route for permission to stay, or join you, in the UK.

You may apply to bring your family members to the UK provided that:

  • The relationship is pre-existing AND
  • You have, or are eligible to apply for, Settled or Pre-Settled status

Family members in the UK must apply under the scheme by 31st December 2020. Where possible, we recommend that you apply together with your family member(s), as this can help the decision-making process.

Family members who are outside of the UK may be able to apply under this scheme to join you at a later date. The exact date by which they must apply depends on a number of factors. For more information, please refer to the official guidance.

Leaving the UK for Long Periods of Time

Long periods of absence from the UK can affect how your UK residency is calculated.

In order to obtain Settled Status, you must have been resident in the UK for at least 6 months in each of the past 5 years:

  • Absences over 6 months may break your residency unless this is for a permitted reason (such as a work placement or illness). You may need to provide documentary evidence of this.
  • Absences of over 12 months will break your residency (except where this is due to military service). You will need to start counting your 5 years again when you return to the UK.

If you have had prolonged absences from the UK and are concerned about how this may affect your application, please contact the International Student Advice Service for a confidential consultation.

Once you have been granted Settled Status

Settled Status lasts indefinitely and you can keep it even if you leave the UK. However, as with all indefinite leave, it may lapse if you stop being resident in the UK:

  • If you leave the UK for more than 5 years you will no longer be considered a resident and your Settled Status will lapse

Brexit policy is currently being finalised and changes occur frequently. We have made every effort to ensure that this information is correct at the time of writing but the information is subject to change. You should always refer to the official gov.uk website to ensure that you have up-to-date information: www.gov.uk/browse/visas-immigration/eu-eea-commonwealth