The UK has left the EU and as of January 2021, the immigration rules to enter and remain in the UK have been changing. It is crucial now for EU citizens to secure their pre-settled or settled status in order for them to be able to continue working and residing in the UK without the requirement of a visa to do so. The following groups of people who are currently in the UK or arrived in the UK by 31st December 2020 can apply under the EU Settlement Scheme:
- EU citizens
- Citizens of Norway, Lichtenstein, Iceland (non-EU EEA citizens)
- Swiss citizens
If you have been living in the UK for less than 5 years you will be granted pre-settled status. After completing a further 5 years you can then apply for settled status.
If you have been living in the UK for more than 5 years you will be granted settled status, also referred to as indefinite leave to remain and can apply for British citizenship 1 year later.
Are you currently outside of the UK?
If you are currently outside of the UK and you have already qualified for pre-settled or settled status you may still be eligible to apply. As long as you are able to provide evidence of previously being in the UK and exercising EU treaty rights, you will be able to apply and will be granted status based on the number of years that you were resident in the UK. Evidence of residence can include: P45s, P60s, bank statements or council tax bills.
Under the Withdrawal Agreement agreed between the EU and the UK, those who are granted settled status can live outside the UK for five years without losing their status. EU, EEA or Swiss citizens who have previously lived in the UK for five continuous years but do not live in the UK at the moment, may also be eligible to be granted settled status as long as they have not been absent from the UK for more than five years since they stopped living in the UK.
If you have not completed your five-year continuous residence currently, you need to make sure that you do not spend more than six months outside the UK in any 12 month period to ensure that you do not break your continuous residence period that you need to qualify for settled status (unless you are spending up to 12 months outside the UK in a single period for important reasons e.g. work, pregnancy, medical care).
The deadline for applications to be submitted to the Home Office is 30th June 2021. For information and assistance with an application please contact Aleksandra Broom (firstname.lastname@example.org).
The application does not incur a fee.