UK Immigration​

Apply to the EU Settlement Scheme

Apply to the EU Settlement Scheme

What is the EU Settlement Scheme?

As of January 21st, 2019, EU & EEA nationals have been able to apply under the EU Settlement Scheme for settled or pre-settled status in the UK.

The system was rolled out to all EU & EEA nationals and dependents of such nationals whether from the EU or not, as from March 30th 2019 and it is mandatory to apply for it prior to June 30th 2021, or risk being an overstayer and subject to possible removal.

What does settled and pre-settled status mean?

EU Migrants who have been in the UK for five years or more (and are not already British citizens) can apply through the scheme for Settled Status. 

Settled status (Permanent Residence / Indefinite Leave to Remain) means that you will be an ordinary resident in the UK and have no immigration restrictions on the length of your stay here. 

EU citizens and their family members who had arrived in the UK for the first time by December 31st, 2020 intending to make the UK their home are eligible to apply for Pre-Settled Status. They must do so by June 30th 2021.  This will allow them to stay and work in the UK until they have reached the five-year threshold after which they can then apply for Settled Status.

Getting settled status or pre-settled status under the EU settlement scheme means the person can continue to live and work in the UK.

If you have pre-settled status, you should not be out of the UK for more than two years, as otherwise, the pre-settled status lapses. If you have settled status, you can be out of the UK for up to 5 years without your settles status lapsing.

How to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme (settled and pre-settled status)?

To apply to the EU Settlement Scheme, you can start the application online or on an Android smartphone or iPhone. 

There are of course many elderly persons and also those in care homes and other institutions who do not have access to the Internet or would not be able to use information technology so may need help and assistance from loved ones to make the application.

The information required should only take a few minutes to complete the application, which hopefully avoids the need to complete lots of paperwork. 

Applicants will need proof of a number of things to apply under the scheme.

What about people from EFTA countries?

EFTA country nationals, Switzerland, Iceland, Lichtenstein and Norway even though they are not EU member states, have the same rights to residency in the UK by way of settled or pre-settled status, their dependents, just like EU citizens. 

A free-trade area, such as EFTA, is a much looser form of economic and political union than the EU. EFTA countries negotiated access to the EU single market and partially accepted EU laws relating to single market access. They will therefore not be discriminated under the UK settled or pre-settled scheme.

Benefits and rights

Settled status will grant a person the same rights to healthcare education benefits and pensions as British citizens. A person with settled status can apply for naturalisations a British citizen.

Problems if applications are not made by June 30th 2021

There are at present some 3.5 million EU nationals with dependents who will have to go through this process of applying under the settlement scheme if they wish to continue living in the UK after June 30th 2021.

Our view is that caution must be exercised to avoid thousands of people in the UK, ending up without legal status. The Windrush scandal shows the dangers if the scheme goes wrong. If by mistake, an adult doesn’t register a child, then that child could lose his or her legal status through no fault of their own. Anyone who is a citizen of the EU country living in the UK and who wants to carry on living in the UK will need to apply under the scheme even if married to someone British unless for other reasons an application has been made under the immigration rules to enter or remain on a spouse settlement visa. Adults will need to apply on behalf of children who have to go through the process. Successful applicants will be granted either settled or pre-settled status.

The following persons do not have to apply under the scheme


EU nationals who have pre- settles status and have lived in the UK for five years can apply for settled status unless they have serious criminal convictions, or there is a security reason why they cannot stay. During these five years based on pre-settled status, they will need to spend at least six months of each year in a 12-month period in the UK, unless there are exceptional circumstances for their absence. People who are granted settled status will only need to apply under the EU settlement scheme once.

Critics of the scheme have said that it will be difficult to verify information like how much of one year a person has spent in a country or how long a person has lived somewhere, so it is important to maintain documentation to show residence in this country, such as employment records, payslips and the like, as these may become relevant when dealing with settled or pre-settled status.

Although there will be no question of the exercise of Treaty rights of workers in the UK either in employment, self-employment, or for example student with private medical healthcare or a person of means with such healthcare, we do not believe that proof of residency with the aforementioned documents may always be sufficient. A person requiring to show that he/ she has spent at least six months of a year (in a 12-month period), in the UK, in order to count towards the five years residence requirements, may therefore find it necessary to show that he/she or EU or non-EU dependent has physically been here by other means such as work documents, confirmation from HMRC, bank statements covering many years of stay in the UK together with payslips. Although these are not matters that are officially stated are required, it is our view that they will probably be required in some circumstances. Anyone who has these documents should keep them safe for further evidence.

This can be obtained in simple cases in a matter of a couple of weeks or so, but much longer for complicated matters. 

What if settled or pre-settled status application is refused?

There would have to be a very good reason for an application to be refused as the idea is generally to grant settled or pre-settled status whenever possible. However, to be realistic and to look at the worst scenario, if an application is rejected there is now a process of appeal to the first tier tribunal immigration and asylum chamber, but prior to the appeal rights granted there was only an administrative review within 28 days of the decision. Technically if that review failed on the same facts as the application, there could be an application for permission for judicial review.

An Irish citizen does not need to apply for under the settlement or pre-settlement scheme. They will continue to enjoy the same rights and benefits as British citizens as at present. Furthermore, Irish family members do not need to apply either. Family members who were not Irish will need to apply, as family members who are not British but married to British, unless of course an alternative application is made under the immigration rules.

Such family member may be able to apply for settled status before the five-year period has expired. The family member must have been working for at least two years in employment or self-employment before the death of the EU national. He/ she must have been living with the EU national at the time of death for at least two years. The death must have been as a result of an injury at work or some occupational disease.

If the overseas individual is not living in the UK by December 31st 2020, the person can apply to join the family member here but will require an entry clearance visa after that date, and will need to show that the following apply: – the EU family member national has either settled or pre-settled status; the relationship began before December 31st 2020, the individual remains a close family member of the EU national, such as for example spouse, civil partner, or unmarried partner, dependent child or dependent parent or grandparent.

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The immigration team at Gulbenkian Andonian can advise and carry out applications on your behalf to secure you with pre-settled or settled status so you can live and work in the UK legally post Brexit.

For any questions or queries, you may have related to the EU Settlement Scheme, please get in touch.