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A guide to Applying for a Settled Status from inside/outside the UK for NON-EU nationals and EEA nationals

Nov 05, 2021
Last Updated on May 21, 2024

EU regulations for Freedom of Movement no longer apply to the UK, so EEA, and Swiss citizens, along with their family members who started living in the UK by 31 December 2020 and who wished to remain legally in the UK after 30 June 2021 must have applied to the EU Settlement Scheme by this date. If the application is successful an applicant will be granted Settled Status which is Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR), or Pre-Settled Status which is Limited Leave to Remain (Ilr). The UK Government stated that they expected the vast majority of applicants to be successful, with only very few exceptions related to convictions for serious crimes.

Deadline to apply under EU Settlement Scheme 

To continue residing lawfully in the UK in the future, EEA, and Swiss citizens, along with their family members must have applied for either status before 30 June 2021. There are some circumstances when an applicant can make a late application after 1 July 2021. 

Applicants can also apply if they have Pre-Settled status and they are applying for Settled Status.

Later deadline to apply

For some people, the deadline of 30 June 2021 does not apply. This is true if you’re one of the following:

  • the family member of someone from the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein who was living here by 31 December 2020, and you join them in the UK on or after 1 April 2021.
  • applying for your child, who was born or adopted in the UK on or after 1 April 2021.
  • the family member of an eligible person of Northern Ireland, but they could not move back to the UK by 31 December 2020 without you – you must be from outside the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein.
  • exempt from immigration control, or you stopped being exempt from immigration control after 30 June 2021.
  • a family member of a British citizen who you lived within the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein – you must have lived with them in that country by the deadline and returned to the UK with them.

Late applications submitted after 30 June 2021

Applicants who did not apply but the deadline may still be able to apply to the schemed provided they will be able to demonstrate they had reasonable ground for not applying by the deadline. Some reasonable grounds are, for example, if:

  • you’re a child, or applying for your child, and you did not know you needed to apply
  • your parent, guardian or local authority did not apply for you when you were a child
  • you have, or had, a medical condition which prevented you from applying
  • you lacked the physical or mental capacity to apply
  • you have care or support needs, or those caring for you were unaware of the deadline
  • you’ve been the victim of modern slavery
  • you’ve been in an abusive or controlling relationship
  • you did not have internet access, or access to relevant documents
  • you came to the UK on a work or study visa and became eligible to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme while you were here, but did not know you could apply
  • you already have indefinite leave to enter or remain, and you did not know you could apply to the scheme
  • you had permanent residence status or a residence document that stopped being valid after 30 June 2021, and you did not know you needed to apply to the scheme
  • you had difficulty accessing support to apply because of coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions
  • another compelling practical or compassionate reason prevented you applying.

Applicants who apply late to the EU Settlement Scheme will have their day-to-day rights protected while that application is considered.

What you’ll need to apply

If you are from the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein, and you started living in the UK by 31 December 2020 – or you’re applying to join or remain with your family member who did – you’ll need evidence to prove your:

  • identity
  • continuous residence in the UK and (unless you’re applying to join a family member) that it started by 31 December 2020
  • eligibility to apply after 30 June 2021
  • suitability – criminal checks will be undertaken of any applicant over 18, where anyone guilty of serious or persistent criminality either in the UK or overseas, may have their application under the new scheme denied.
  • relationship to your family member, and their eligibility or status under the EU Settlement Scheme, if you’re applying to join or remain with them in the UK

If you moved to the UK on or before 31 December 2020 but had not lived here for five consecutive years when you applied, you may have been granted pre-Settled Status. If you have pre-Settled Status you can apply for Settled Status once you have five years of continuous residence in the UK. If you are granted pre-Settled Status, it is very important to make an application for Settled Status before your pre-Settled Status expires otherwise you will have no lawful residence in the UK.

EU Settlement Scheme: applying from outside the UK

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 here 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 here 

You can apply for status under the EU Settlement Scheme from outside the UK.

You must use the EU Exit: ID Document Check app to verify that you’re entitled to apply from outside the UK.

If you’re an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen, you must use your current valid passport or national identity card with a biometric chip. If you’re not an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen, you must use your UK residence card with a biometric chip.

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