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EU Settlement Scheme

EU Settlement Scheme

The EU Settlement Scheme allows European Union (EU), European Economic Area (EEA) and Swiss citizens, as well as their family members, to apply for settled or pre-settled status in the UK.


The scheme was launched in March 2019 and is designed to protect the rights of EU, EEA and Swiss citizens who were living in the UK before the end of the Brexit transition period on 31 December 2020. It is free to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme.

What is the EU Settlement Scheme?

Under the scheme, EU, EEA and Swiss citizens who have lived in the UK for five years or more are eligible to apply for settled status. Settled status gives individuals the legal right to live and work in the UK indefinitely, as well as access to public services such as healthcare and education. Those who have lived in the UK for less than five years can apply for pre-settled status, which allows them to stay in the UK for up to five years and apply for settled status once they have met the residency requirement.

Family members of EU, EEA and Swiss citizens are also eligible to apply for settled or pre-settled status, even if they are not EU, EEA or Swiss citizens themselves. This includes non-EU family members who hold a valid residence card or family permit issued under the current EU regulations.

What is the fee?

The application process for the EU Settlement Scheme is free of charge, and it can be completed online or by post. Applicants need to provide proof of identity, residence in the UK, and their relationship to a qualifying EU, EEA or Swiss citizen.

Can i still apply under the Scheme?

The UK government set a deadline of 30 June 2021 for EU, EEA and Swiss citizens and their family members to apply for settled or pre-settled status under the Scheme. Those who did not apply by the deadline risk losing their right to live and work in the UK. In some cases, you may still be able for apply after 30 June 2021, if you can demonstrate reasonable grounds (for example, medical reasons or being the victim of domestic abuse). You may also be able to apply after the deadline if you are joining a family member who was living in the UK by 31 December 2020, your deadline will be based on when you arrive in the UK, as long as:

  • you were their family member by 31 December 2020 (this does not apply to children born or adopted after this date)

  • the family relationship still exists when you apply.


If you did not apply under EU Settlement Scheme, your rights in the UK are not protected. This means you cannot: access benefits and services (including free NHS healthcare), work or study in the UK, or rent a property in England.

Reasonable grounds for applying late

UKVI has confirmed that the relevant test is: whether, on the balance of probabilities and based on all the information and evidence provided, it is established that, at the date of application, there are reasonable grounds for the applicant's delay in making their application under the EU Settlement Scheme.

The more time that has passed since the deadline, the more difficult it will be to establish reasonable grounds.

What happens if my application is refused?

If you made an application after the deadline and your reasons for the delay are not accepted by UKVI, your application will be rejected as invalid and you will not have a right to appeal or administrative review.

If you made an application is considered valid, but refused on eligibility or suitability grounds, you will usually have the right to challenge the decision by appeal or apply for administrative review.

Automatic extension for pre-settled status holders

From September 2023, people with pre-settled status under the Scheme will automatically have their status extended by 2 years before it expires, if they have not obtained settled status. The Home Office will reflect this in the person’s digital status. They will be notified of the extension directly. This will ensure that nobody loses their immigration status if they do not apply to switch from pre-settled to settled status. The Home Office also intends to take steps to automatically convert as many eligible pre-settled status holders as possible to settled status once they are eligible for it, without them needing to make an application. Throughout 2024, automated checks of a person's pre-settled status will establish their continuous residence in the UK. Safeguards will be in place to ensure that settled status is not wrongly granted.

Are you interested in making an application?

Use this form to fill in your information and one of our partners will get in touch to discuss your needs.

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