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 it 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.
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.
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.
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 fail to 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, such as showing ‘reasonable grounds’ (such as medical reasons, or being the victim of domestic abuse) for why you did not apply by the deadline
You may also be able to apply after the deadline if you’re 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 to the 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.