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EU Settlement Scheme


What happened on 1 January 2021?

The transition period and free movement ended on 31 December 2020.  Until 11pm on 31 December, EEA nationals could travel to the UK with their European passport or identity card and remain here indefinitely so long as they register under the EU Settlement Scheme (see below).  From 1 January 2021, EEA nationals require a visa to live and work in the UK.

What is the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS)?

The EUSS was introduced in January 2020 to allow EU nationals and their family members to apply to continue living and working in the UK after 1 January 2021.

Applications for this scheme closed on 30 June 2021. EU nationals will now have to apply under the other visa routes available.

If you feel you should have applied under the EUSS but have missed the deadline please get in touch with one of our immigration team and we will be able to discuss potential options with you.

Why is the date 30 June 2021 important?

Anyone who did not apply under the EUSS by the 30 June 2021 will have lost their right to live and work in the UK. They must apply for a valid visa under an alternative route if they wish to remain in the UK.

What if I didn’t apply under the EUSS by 30 June 2021?

There are some grounds on which discretion can be exercised to allow late applications. Late applications will only be granted in limited circumstances and you should have a valid excuse as to why you were unable to apply in the 18 month timescale given while the EUSS was open.

What is the difference between settled and pre-settled status?

Settled status is granted to those who have lived in the UK continuously for 5 years and if granted, allows you to continue living and working in the UK indefinitely.

Pre-settled status is granted to those who haven’t yet lived in the UK continuously for 5 years and so they are given the right to remain in the UK for a further 5 years.  The logic is that you will then be able to convert this into settled status once you have reached 5 years in the UK in total.

Can pre-settled status or settled status expire?

Pre-settled status is granted for a limited period of time which allows the holder to reach 5 years in the UK and then to apply to convert this into settled status.  If the individual is unable to convert their pre-settled status into settled status, for example because they have spent more than 6 months in any 12 month period outside the UK (see below) they cannot renew their pre-settled status and so it will lapse on the expiry date.

In addition, pre-settled status is lost if you spend more than 2 consecutive years outside of the UK and settled status is lost by spending 5 consecutive years outside of the UK.

It can also be lost if you no longer meet the eligibility criteria, for example in relation to criminal offences.

Do holders of settled or pre-settled status need to update this when they move house or if they get married and change their name?

There is no requirement to reapply or update their status but individuals registered under the EUSS are required to maintain up to date personal details online with the Home Office.  When the application is granted, you are given access to your own personal UK Visas and Immigration account and you are required to keep your personal details up to date which are your mobile phone number, email address, name, identity document and address.

Do Irish citizens have to apply under the EUSS?

Irish citizens can continue to live and work in the UK using their Irish passport. This is because free movement between the UK and Ireland is not governed by the EU but a separate agreement.

If the Irish citizen has family members in the UK who are not Irish or British, they will need to apply under the normal visa routes.

If eligible, should I apply for an Irish passport?

If you can obtain Irish citizenship there may be the option to hold dual-nationality and you could then use your Irish passport to evidence your right to work in the UK.  However unlike under the EU Settlement Scheme, non-EU family members of Irish nationals would not have the right to live and work in the UK unless they applied for a visa.

What if I have permanent residence or indefinite leave to remain?

Both of these statuses grant the holder the right to remain in the UK on a permanent basis and will have been granted under the old systems in place before the EUSS was introduced.

Anyone with a valid permanent residence document must have applied under the EUSS by 30 June 2021 to convert this to settled status.  If they didn’t their permanent residence will no longer be valid and they won’t have the right to remain in the UK.

Anyone with indefinite leave to remain will keep this status as there was no requirement for them to apply under the EUSS.

Are British citizens affected by the UK leaving the EU?

They are affected in many ways however their right to live and work in the UK is unaffected.  This is the case even if they are an EEA national who has acquired British citizenship.

Can EEA nationals become British citizens?

Yes. Once they have held permanent residence or settled status for at least 12 months, they can apply to naturalise as a British citizen.  Depending on their nationality, they may or may not be required to renounce their European citizenship and there may also be tax implications that they should consider before making such an application.

Can individuals still travel overseas after 1 January 2021 for business?

Yes, but they need to check the entry requirements of the country they are travelling to.  For example, they may need to show that they have at least 6 months on their current passport and may need to provide evidence of their return flight.

Individuals visiting the UK for work will either need a visitor visa if they are carrying out limited activities, such as coming to the UK for meetings or will need a work visa if they are coming to be employed

Right to Work Checks

Can my employer ask me for evidence that I have applied under the EUSS?

Yes. Now that the deadline for applications under the EUSS has passed employers are able to ask you to prove your entitlement to work in the UK.

If I cannot evidence my settled or pre-settled status after Brexit, can my job offer be retracted?

A job offer can be retracted if you cannot evidence that you have the right to work.


Given the fast pace of change, we would stress that this information is designed to be informative, not advisory and represents our understanding of English law and practice as at the date indicated. We would always recommend that you should seek specific guidance on any particular legal issue.

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