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Advice and Counselling Service

EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS)

This page explains the eligibility requirements to apply for, and the rights obtained from, status with the EU Settlement Scheme. 

What is the EU Settlement Scheme?

The EU Settlement Scheme is UK Immigration Permission which citizens of the European Economic Area (European Union member states, Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Norway) and Switzerland, and relevant family members, may be able to apply for to remain in the UK if already living here before 1 January 2021. 

The EU Settlement Scheme can grant permission to remain in the UK for five years (Pre-Settled Status) or indefinitely (Settled Status). 

For most applicants, the initial deadline to apply to the scheme was 30 June 2021 but for some others a later date may apply and, in some cases, late applications can be considered.  

Family members of EU, EEA and Swiss nationals who are not EU, EEA, or Swiss nationals themselves may also be eligible.  

Irish citizens do not need to apply because the Common Travel Area agreements existed between the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland prior to the EU Directive. There is some specific information for Irish citizens on the UK government website. 

If you are not sure whether you are eligible to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme, please read the guidance below and then contact the Advice and Counselling Service for initial advice. 

What is the difference between Pre-Settled and Settled Status?

Pre-Settled Status gives you permission to remain in the UK for a further 5 years from the date that you are granted this status.  

While in the UK with Pre-Settled Status you can continue to study & work without restriction. You can also access any public funds you may be eligible for and use the National Health Service (NHS). You are free to travel in and out of the UK. 

After obtaining Pre-Settled Status you can spend up to 2 years outside the UK without losing your status. However, absence from the UK can impact on your eligibility to later apply for Settled Status - see the section 'What happens if I spend some time outside the UK' for details. 

Settled Status allows you to remain in the UK indefinitely. You can apply for Settled Status once you have reached five years continuous residence in the UK. You must apply before your five years on Pre-Settled status expires if you wish to remain in the UK.  You do not have to wait until you have had Pre-Settled status for 5 years to apply for Settled Status if you will have reached 5 years residence in the UK before that. 

For example, you may have moved to the UK in September 2019, but only applied for and granted pre-settled status in September 2020 (with pre settled status granted for 5 years until September 2025) - if you meet the criteria of five years continuous residence you can apply for settled status in September 2024. 

While in the UK with Settled Status you can continue to study & work without restriction. You can also access any public funds you may be eligible for and use the National Health Service (NHS). You are free to travel in and out of the UK.  

 After obtaining Settled Status you can spend up to 5 years outside the UK without losing your status (or if you are a Swiss national or their family member you can spend up to 4 years outside the UK), you can choose to apply for British citizenship and any children born in the UK will automatically become British citizens. 

Applying to the EU Settlement Scheme

The EU Settlement Scheme application, in almost all cases, is a short online application form and a requirement to prove your identity and nationality using an app.  

The application asks you to prove your identity and nationality, confirm the type of application you are making (questions about whether you were in the UK by 31 December 2020 and if you were whether you were absent on that date). 

At the end of the application, based on the information provided by you, you are informed if you are being considered for settled or pre-settled status. You can change that by providing additional evidence at the end of the application. 

Settled Status: To be granted Settled Status you must complete the EU Settlement Scheme application and demonstrate that you have been resident in the UK for at least 5 continuous years. The continuous 5-year period can be any historical 5-year continuous period if you have not spent 5 years or longer outside the UK.  Your residence in the UK must normally have started by 31 December 2020. 

If you are under 21 and are applying with your parents, you may not need to have been resident in the UK for 5 continuous years to obtain Settled Status if your parent(s) have met the requirements. 

You also need to meet specific rules in relation to periods of absence from the UK. Please see the section: 'What happens if I spend some time outside the UK' for more information about what types of absences are permitted. 

Pre-Settled Status: To be granted Pre-Settled Status you must complete the EU Settlement Scheme application and demonstrate that you established residence in the UK by 31 December 2020, even if you are applying to the EUSS (EU Settlement Scheme) after that date.

The deadline for your first application to the EU Settlement Scheme was 30 June 2021 but please see the section on this page 'I have missed application deadline, what can I do?'  

Rights in the UK with Settled or Pre-Settled Status

Rights in the UK with Settled or Pre-Settled Status

Settled or Pre-Settled Status is UK immigration permission which is granted by the UK government to “broadly” protect the previously existing rights of EEA citizens and relevant family members resident in the UK before the end of the Brexit Transition Period. 

This means that people who have valid Settled or Pre-Settled Status continue to have rights to live, work, study, rent a property, access the NHS and any eligible public funds in the UK. 

The Home Office has written a guide explaining how EU, EEA, and Swiss citizens who either have status under the EU Settlement Scheme or have been granted a UK Visa will receive notification of their immigration status, and how to prove your rights in the UK, for example, your right to work or study. 

You can view your status or prove it to someone else online. You will not usually get a physical document. 

You must keep your details up to date, this includes if you move address in the UK, get a new UK mobile telephone number or get a new passport.  

What is the deadline to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme?

What is the deadline to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme?

For most applicants, the deadline to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme was 30 June 2021. 

However, there are some exceptions to this date: 

  • People who have pre settled status and now wish to apply for settled status 
  • People who were in the UK with another type of immigration status and who may be eligible to switch to the EUSS 
  • People who joined their family members in the UK and their family member has status under the EUSS 

It may also be possible to make a late application depending on your circumstances.

Rights in the UK with a pending application

Rights in the UK with a pending application

Applications submitted before deadline: 

If you submitted a valid EU Settlement Scheme application by the deadline (this is 30 June 2021 for most - but not all - first applications but see section on deadlines) (Can you link to the section anchor) you keep your residence rights while the Home Office considers your application if your presence in the UK was in full compliance with EU free movement law.  

Examples of people who were not deemed to be here in full compliance of EU free movement law includes students who did not hold Comprehensive Sickness Insurance (an EHIC card or a private healthcare insurance policy), because this was a requirement for those exercising EU Treaty rights to live in the UK as a student.  

However, in practice this is not likely to be an issue because the Home Office has confirmed that the EU Settlement Scheme does not check exercise of Treaty rights. So, in practice everyone who made a valid application by the deadline will keep their residence rights until a decision is made on their application. For example, continuing to be able to work, study, rent accommodation, etc. 

To prove your rights to enter the UK, work, study, rent accommodation etc: 

A Certificate of Application is issued as soon as an application is valid in accordance with paragraph EU9 of the Immigration Rules for the EUSS in Appendix EU.  

Along with your Certificate of Application you should also be able to log into the online and Prove service using your UKVI (UK Visas and Immigration) account and generate a share code to prove these rights.  

We would advise that you have a copy of your Certificate of Application and a status update from the view and prove service whenever entering the UK while you have a pending decision on your application. 

If you applied late (after the deadline) for the EU Settlement Scheme, please see the section on rights in the UK – late applications pending decisions.

Late Applications to the EU Settlement Scheme

Late Applications to the EU Settlement Scheme

The deadline to make a first application to the EU Settlement Scheme was in most cases 30 June 2021, unless you are joining a family member or switching from some other immigration categories in the UK) in which case the deadlines may be different. 

Once you hold Pre-Settled Status, you must apply for Settled Status or another category of immigration permission or leave the UK before your Pre-Settled Status expires. 

If you have missed your application deadline, you may be able to make a late application to the EU Settlement Scheme based on having reasonable grounds for failing to meet the deadline applicable to them. Late applications should be made as close to the deadline as possible.  

Pages 32 to 50 of the EUSS Caseworker Guidance explain how late applications are dealt with, and examples of reasonable grounds for applying late, as well as certain categories of people who can apply after 30 June 2021.  

If you have not made an application to the EU Settlement Scheme by the relevant deadline, if you are thinking of making a late application, if you made a late and have been contacted by the Home Office (UKVI) for additional information or evidence, or if you have made a late application and received a refusal, contact a Welfare Adviser urgently for initial advice on the options available to you. 

Your status if you have not applied to the EU Settlement Scheme

Your status if you have not applied to the EU Settlement Scheme

If you have not made an application to the EU Settlement Scheme at all and have no other valid immigration status in the UK, you will not be able to evidence your rights in the UK. In this case you should seek advice urgently to discuss the options available to you. 

If you were eligible to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme but did not apply by 30 June 2021, you lost your lawful status in the UK (unless a different deadline applies to you, for example if you are applying as a family member).  

From 1 July 2021, where a person without status under the EU Settlement Scheme is encountered by Immigration Enforcement (or referred to them), the officer will consider, based on the information and evidence available to them, whether the person may have been eligible for status under the EU Settlement Scheme, as an EEA citizen or as their family member, had they made an application under Appendix EU by 30 June 2021 

Where it appears to the officer that this is the case, they will provide the person with a written notice giving them an opportunity to make a valid application under Appendix EU, normally within 28 days of the date of the written notice. No immigration enforcement action for being in the UK without permission will normally be taken during this period. The guidance does not state what happens if a person does not apply within the 28 days deadline in the written notice. 

Not having applied to the EUSS and therefore neither having a Certificate of Application nor lawful status affects your residence rights in the following ways:

Employment 

You cannot apply for a new job as you will not pass a right to work check.  

If you were already working by 30 June 2021 but have not applied to the EUSS, and if your employer becomes aware of this, they can give you 28 days to make your EUSS application but must then take steps to end your employment if you do not apply within that time.  

Renting accommodation 

You cannot rent a new property after 30 June 2021 if you have not applied to the EUSS as you cannot pass landlord immigration checks. 

Existing tenants do not need to be checked by landlords. If a landlord did find out that a tenant had not applied in time to the EUSS, they need to report this to the Home Office and advise the tenant to apply to the EUSS within 28 days. 

Healthcare 

Someone who is eligible to apply to the EUSS but who has not submitted an application by 30 June 2021, who is therefore in the UK without immigration status, will be chargeable for treatment. Any payment you make will not be refunded if you later apply for and are granted status under the EUSS.  

If you have not applied for status under the EU Settlement Scheme but you may be eligible, you should seek advice urgently. 

Rights in the UK – late applications pending decisions

If you made an application to the EU Settlement Scheme but after the deadline, we explain below how this affects your rights.  

A Certificate of Application is issued as soon as an application is valid in accordance with paragraph EU9 of the Immigration Rules for the EUSS in Appendix EU.  

A Certificate of Application is normally digital, and you can log into the online View and Prove service using your UKVI account to generate a share code to prove your rights in the UK while your application is pending a decision.

Enrolment at Queen Mary 

Queen Mary can allow you to (re) enrol and (re)commence study if you have a pending EUSS application and hold a valid Certificate of Application, until a decision is made on your application (and if refused until you have exhausted Administrative Review and / or Appeal rights).  

If your application is successful, you will need to update the Academic Registry with evidence of your status. Please see the Permission to Enrol webpage. 

Employment 

You can start a new contract of employment while your EUSS application is pending. Your employer will need to check your status with the relevant Home Office Checking Service.  

The Employer Right to Works Checks Supporting Guidance document explains the procedure to allow EUSS (late) applicants with pending applications to enter a new contract of employment on pages 39-49.   

You will need to provide your employer with your Certificate of Application and your details. Your employer can then use the Employer Checking Service to confirm your right to work. 

Renting accommodation 

Existing tenants do not need to be checked by landlords.  
 
You can rent a new property while your EUSS application is pending. Your prospective landlord will need to check your status with the relevant Home Office Checking Service.  

The landlord Guidance for Right to Rent Checksexplains the procedure to allow EUSS (late) applicants with pending applications to enter into a new tenancy agreement pages 52 - 62. 

You will need to provide your landlord with your Certificate of Application and your details. Your landlord can then use the Landlords Checking Service to confirm your right to rent. 

Healthcare 

You should be able to access healthcare free of charge while your EUSS application is pending.

Entering the UK from abroad 

Where a late applicant was resident in the UK by 31 December 2020, they will have Temporary Protection, regardless of whether the late application was submitted in the UK or from overseas.  

You can be granted entry in accordance with that Temporary Protection status, which will allow you to resume your studies, but you may be required to present evidence of your prior residence at the border to be admitted. 

You must not travel outside the UK (or back to the UK if you apply outside) until you are in possession of a Certificate of Application, confirming you have made a valid application to the EU Settlement Scheme. You may be asked to provide evidence you were resident in the UK by the end of the transition period on 31 December 2020 to be admitted to the UK. 

We would advise that you carry evidence with you in your hand luggage (or available on your phone or mobile device) the following documents:  

  • Your Certificate of Application (the pdf document or email confirmation of receipt of your EUSS application) 
  • The evidence that you provided with your EUSS application to claim settled or pre settles status - of your residence in the UK: 
     
    - Evidence that you were living in the UK before the end of December 2020 (before you left the UK) such as bank statements or other documents listed in the EUSS guidance (pages 230 – 232) 
    - If you were out of the UK for longer than 6 months but less than 12 months due to Covid or another important reason, evidence of the reason for your absence (for example if you have been absent for less than 12 months due to remote study because of Covid, a letter from QM confirming your enrolment and confirming that you were able to study remotely. See page 159 -168 of the EUSS guidance 
    - If you were out of the UK for longer than 12 months because Covid prevented you from returning to the UK (for example because you were ill with Covid, advised to self-isolate because of being clinically vulnerable or because you were looking after a close family member who was ill or self-isolating), evidence of these reasons - For example, a doctor's letter or. See pages 164-166 of the EUSS Guidance   
  • The relevant parts of the EUSS Caseworker Guidance (mentioned above) to refer to in case you need to refer to them if you encounter a Border Force Officer (see above) 
  • The UK Government Guidance for Border Force Officers explains on pages 56 and 59-64 what Border Force Officers may request of you if you have a pending late application. 

What happens if I spend some time outside the UK?

What happens if I spend some time outside the UK?

If you have Settled Status 

After obtaining Settled Status you can spend up to 5 years outside the UK without losing your status, except Swiss nationals who can spend up to 4 years outside the UK. 

If you have Pre-Settled Status 

Pre-settled status is valid for five years from the date it is granted. Once pre-settled status is obtained, within this five-year period it can only be lost where someone spends a period of two consecutive years or more outside the UK. 

For example, someone who was granted pre-settled status in February 2020, who left in March 2020, could re-enter the UK up to February 2025, if they have not spent a period of two consecutive years outside the UK.  

However, it is important that you understand the implications of absences from the UKon any future application for settled status. 

Permitted Absences to maintain residence in the UK

Absence of less than six months in any 12-month period

If you have absences from the UK which are less than 6 months in any 12-month period, you can still be considered as being continuously resident in the UK to qualify for settled status after 5 years.  

UKVI guidance defines a month as “30 calendar days”, so 6 months would be 180 days, so the cumulative total of absences in any 12-month period must not exceed 180 days. You will not need to provide evidence of these absences. 

The six-month cap is not limited to a single lengthy period outside the UK. It also applies to multiple trips totalling six months together. “In any 12-month period”, means the Home Office will not just be looking at travel during a calendar year. It instead considers a rolling period of 12 months which resets with every trip.  

The “rolling” concept means that where there are multiple trips, there are multiple 12-month periods and each and every 12-month period must be monitored to make sure absences in “any 12-month period” do not amount to more 6 months. If you travel regularly you need to note your absences so you can monitor the number of days, you have been outside the UK. 

The 3 million group have published an 'absence calculator' to help you to calculate your greatest total absence in any rolling 12-month period. You may wish to seek specialist advice if the calculator shows that you have exceeded 180 days absence in a 12-month period, and this is not an absence of up to 12 months for an important reason.

One absence of up to 12 months for an important reason

A single period of absence of more than 6 months but which does not exceed 12 months is permitted, where this is for an important reason, and will not break your continuous qualifying period of residence.  

Important reasons include pregnancy, childbirth, serious illness, study. Evidence to support an absence because of pregnancy, childbirth or serious illness might take the form of a letter or other records from a qualified medical professional or evidence to support an absence because of study might take the form of a letter or other records from the relevant educational establishment.  

An absence of any length due to compulsory military service can be considered as continuous residence in the UK.  

Absence from the UK due to remote study for up to 12 months due to Covid-19 does not break your continuous period of residence needed to qualify for Settled Status after five years. The EU Settlement Scheme guidance states on page 164 that the following situation is a permissible absence from the UK for an important reason for up to 12 months: 

“Advised by their university that, due to COVID-19, their course was moved to remote learning and were advised or allowed to return to their home country to study remotely” 

You can rely on any coronavirus related reason (including where you chose to leave or remain outside the UK because of the pandemic) as being an ‘important reason’ permitting an absence of up to 12 months.  

There is explained in the EU Settlement Scheme Guidance (page 164) 

“This means that such a person can rely on any COVID-19 related reason (including where they chose to leave or remain outside the UK because of the pandemic) as being an ‘important reason’ permitting an absence of up to 12 months.” 

It would be useful to retain evidence of your remote studies during this period. This could be, for example, the emails you have received from the Principal at Queen Mary confirming students can study remotely at this time or screenshots from the UK government web pages, or your own country’s government web pages (in English), confirming travel restrictions.  

You can also request a Student Status Letter for EUSS purposes by contacting the Student Enquiry Centre which can confirm the period of remote study at Queen Mary University of London from March 2020 until the end of the academic year 2020/21 (for most courses). 

Absence exceeding 12 months

If you have been absent for an ‘important reason’ – whether because of coronavirus or for another important reason – but your absence has exceeded 12 months, you have exceeded the permitted absence.  

However, UKVI has introduced a coronavirus concession, meaning that you can still maintain your continuous residence for the purposes of eligibility for Settled Status, where you can evidence that this extended absence is because coronavirus meant you were prevented from, or advised against, returning to the UK within 12 months and for a period thereafter.  

The EU Settlement Scheme Guidance outlines on pages 165-166 the type of situation where a Covid-19 related reason may be accepted in relation to absences of longer than 12 months, as well as evidence required.  

This means that where, after an absence of 12 months for an ‘important reason’, coronavirus meant you were prevented from, or advised against, returning to the UK within 12 months, you will be treated as not having broken your continuous qualifying period of residence.  

The period of absence exceeding 12 months will not be counted towards your continuous qualifying period of residence under the EU Settlement Scheme. Your continuous qualifying period will be paused from the point your absence reached 12 months and will resume from the point you return to the UK. 

Where you hold pre-settled status, and this is now due to expire before you can complete the continuous qualifying period of residence required for you to be eligible for settled status, you will be able to apply for a further grant of pre-settled status.

How many permitted absences from the UK can I have in the continuing qualifying

You could have multiple absences of less than 6 months, if your absences total less than 6 months in any 12-month period.  

You can only have a single period of absence of up to 12 months for an ‘important reason’.  

Where you have a second period of absence exceeding 6 months in any 12-month period for an ‘important reason’, you have exceeded the absence permitted. 

However, the EU Settlement Scheme Guidance allows you to rely on any coronavirus related reason (including where you chose to leave or remain outside the UK because of the pandemic) as the basis for requiring a second period of absence of up to 12 months for an ‘important reason’. 

For example, you may have been absent from the UK for a period of up to 12 months due to a study abroad year (an accepted “important reason”) and then subsequently, you had a second absence from the UK for a period of up to 12 months due to coronavirus imposed remote study. In this case, you should be able to maintain your continuous residence in the UK even though you have had two absences 

In these circumstances, you will be treated as not having broken your continuous qualifying period of residence.  

However only up to the first 6 months of the second period of absence will be counted towards your continuous qualifying period of residence under the EU Settlement Scheme, where the period counted means you have not been absent for more than 6 months in any 12-month period.  

Your continuous qualifying period will be paused from that point and will resume from the point you return to the UK. 

Your options if you have exceeded or will exceed the permitted absence

The following options may be available to you if you have been granted Pre-Settled status, but have exceeded the permitted absences detailed above: 

Once you have been granted Pre-settled Status, you can spend up to 2 years outside the UK without losing your status.  

If you have exceeded the permitted absences, described above, but have not been absent for more than 2 continuous years, you could return to the UK, and stay for the validity of your Pre-settled Status. You would need to leave the UK or apply for appropriate immigration permission in a relevant category before your Pre-settled Status expires. 

If you exceeded the permitted absences and then re-established your residence in the UK before 31 December 2020, you could reapply for Pre-settled Status before the expiry date of your current Pre-settled Status. 5 years after you re-established residence, you would be eligible to apply for Settled Status if you have not exceeded the permitted absences again.  

If you do not have time to complete your course within the validity of your current Pre-settled Status, you would need to apply for the appropriate immigration permission to be able to stay in the UK.  

Student immigration permission is appropriate if you are in the UK for the purpose of studies.  

If you believe you have exceptional reasons for exceeding the permitted absences, you may still decide to try applying for Settled Status by asking for discretion and including evidence of why you exceeded the permitted absences. However, the application may not be successful, because it would not meet the UK government's published rules and guidance. 

 

Family Members of someone with Settled or Pre-Settled Status

Family Members of someone with Settled or Pre-Settled Status

You may be able to apply to join or stay with your EU/EEA/Swiss national family member if they have been granted Pre-settled or Settled Status in the UK, or they are eligible to apply because they were resident before 31 December 2020.  

Joining family members 

Relevant family members who are either European nationals or of a non-European nationality currently outside the UK can apply for an EU Settlement Scheme Family Permit to come to the UK and join their EU/EEA/Swiss family members. Your family relationship must normally have begun before 31 December 2020. 

Once you have arrived in the UK, you can apply for the EU Settlement Scheme.   

Family members 

Relevant non-European family members who were resident before 31 December 2020 should normally apply to the EU Settlement Scheme before 30 June 2021. 

Please see the information on the UK government website which explains which family relationships are eligible, and how to apply, and what the deadlines are. 

Further advice

Further advice

If you have questions about the information on this page, you can contact a Welfare Adviser.  

The United Kingdom Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) has detailed information on the EU Settlement scheme and other issues relating to EU, EEA & Swiss nationals, as well as a free student information line 

The UK Government website has a section for EU, EEA & Swiss nationals which contains information on the EU Settlement Scheme, the Application form, policy guidance, immigration rules and other essential information. 

If you have questions about your EU Settlement Scheme application, you can contact the Home Office EU Settlement Resolution Centre by phone or online. 

The gov.uk website lists organisations who can advise 'vulnerable people' on their applications. This includes some Local Authorities so you could try contacting yours to see if they are advising European nationals.  

Settled is an independent specialist information and advice service for European Citizens and family members living in the UK. They can be contacted through their website, by email or by telephone. 

The AIRE Centre (Advice on Individual Rights in Europe) is an advice centre which specialises in European rights. You can email them for written legal advice which they take around 2-3 weeks to provide. 

European Londoners Hub on the London Mayor’s website has detailed information and guidance for European citizens living in London including on the EU Settlement Scheme. 

The Citizens Advice Bureau has branches across the UK and provides free independent advice on a range of legal matters including immigration related issues. 

The Immigration Law Practioners’ Association is an umbrella body for immigration solicitors and advisers many of which specialise in EU rights. 

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