European Economic Area (EEA) nationals who were living in the UK before 31 December 2020, along with their family members, were required to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme to secure their residence rights, which had been set out in the Withdrawal Agreement, following the UK’s departure from the European Union.
Settled status (indefinite leave to remain) is granted to a person who has lived in the UK for 5 years.
Pre-settled status (5 years' limited leave to remain) is granted to a person who has not yet lived in the UK for five years.
The deadline to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme was 30 June 2021 but the scheme remains open to:
A person who was living in the UK prior to 31 December 2020 can make a late application to the EU Settlement Scheme if they are:
A late application can also be made by a joining family member who has missed their deadline to apply. For example, an EUSS family permit holder is required to apply within three months of entering the UK.
Zambrano carers (non-EEA national primary carer of a British citizen) can no longer apply to the EU Settlement Scheme.
A person who has missed their deadline to apply must demonstrate that there are reasonable grounds for their delay in making their application.
Information about how the Home Office will consider whether the person has reasonable grounds, with sections specific to children and adults with care and support needs, is set out in the Home Office caseworker guidance: EU, other EEA and Swiss citizens and their family members.
A person with pre-settled status can apply for settled status as soon as they have completed 5 years' continuous residence in the UK.
In order to ensure that people with pre-settled status do not inadvertently lose their lawful status if they fail to apply for settled status before their leave to remain expires, from September 2023 the Home Office has confirmed that it will automatically extend the person's pre-settled status by two years. This will be reflected in the person's digital status and they will be notified directly.
When a person meets the 5-year residence requirement, they can only obtain settled status by making an application to the EU Settlement Scheme. However, in future, the Home Office intends to automatically convert a person's pre-settled status to settled status once they are eligible for this.
The application is free and will usually need to be made online. Evidence of identity (or reasons why this cannot be provided) and residence in the UK will need to be submitted with the application.
For full details about the application process, see the Home Office EU Settlement Scheme applicant information.
It is advisable for a person to obtain legal advice from an immigration adviser, particularly if they are making a late application or if their matter is complex. See our information for help finding an immigration adviser and the list of organisations that have been funded by the Home Office to help people apply to the EU Settlement Scheme.
A person can also contact the Home Office EU Settlement Scheme Resolution Centre online or by phone, or can request support with an online application from the Home Office We Are Digital service.