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Media factsheet: EU Settlement Scheme

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The EU Settlement Scheme has been fully open since 30 March 2019. EU, other EEA and Swiss citizens, and their family members have until 30 June 2021 to apply.

What is the EU Settlement Scheme?

  • The EU Settlement Scheme is a free scheme which enables EEA and Swiss citizens resident in the UK by the end of the transition period, and their family members, to obtain the status they will require in order to live and work in the UK.
  • Applicants only need to complete three key steps – prove their identity, show that that they live in the UK, and declare any criminal convictions.
  • It is designed to be as simple and straightforward as possible. For further information, click here.

How many people have applied?

  • According to the latest published statistics up to the end of March 2021, there have been more than 5.3 million applications and more than 4.7 million grants of status.
  • Updated headline figures are published each month and more detailed figures are published quarterly.

What support is available?

  • There is a wide range of support available online, over the phone and in person to help people apply to the EU Settlement Scheme.
  • The EU Settlement Scheme uses cutting edge technology, including the EU Exit: ID Document Check app which allows people to apply from the comfort of their own home in as little as 15 minutes.
  • There are over 1,500 Home Office staff working on the EU Settlement Scheme with 250 Settlement Resolution Centre staff in place to provide assistance to applicants with any questions about the scheme or who need help applying.
  • The Home Office has also made available up to £22 million in funding for a network of now 72 organisations across the UK which includes charities, local authorities and local government associations. They are working to help vulnerable and harder to reach groups apply to the scheme.
  • Additional support is available to those EU citizens in the UK who do not have the appropriate access, skills or confidence to apply online. This includes over 300 assisted digital locations across the UK where people can be supported through their application.
  • There are also over 80 locations where applicants can have their passport scanned and verified across the UK.
    • It is a matter for each local authority as to whether the ID document scanner service can be safely offered in line with the latest public health guidance to protect staff and the public.
    • We advise anyone wishing to make an appointment to contact their local authority to check if the ID document scanner service is available.
    • It should be noted that scanning ID documents in one of these locations is only necessary for those who cannot use the EU Exit: ID Document Check app. The majority of applicants will be able to scan documentation without attending an ID document scanner location.

Have there been any refusals?

  • According to the latest published statistics up to the end of February 2021, there had been 45,500 refusals.
  • The vast majority of these refusals were eligibility rather than suitability refusals.
  • Refusals are always a last resort and do not change that person’s existing rights under EU law.
  • In cases where an applicant is refused, the Home Office will write to them to explain why they have been refused and what steps they need to take.
  • If an individual disagrees with the decision to refuse their application, they can ask for an administrative review of the decision or apply again free of charge until 30 June 2021. Depending upon when they applied, they may also have a right of appeal.

What is the difference between a suitability refusal and an eligibility refusal?

  • Suitability refusals will be made where there is evidence of serious or persistent criminality.
  • This involves considering whether a person represents a genuine, present and sufficiently serious threat affecting one of the fundamental interests of society, where their conduct before the end of the transition period is concerned..
  • This includes the threat the individual poses, their length of time in the UK, health and family ties and propensity to reoffend.
  • Tougher UK criminality rules apply to conduct after the transition period.
  • In contrast, eligibility refusals will be made where someone does not meet the criteria for the scheme. For instance, they are not an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen or the family member of one or they are not resident in the UK.
  • Evidence of residence can be as little as a utility bill, bank statements, or a letter from a GP or charity.
  • The eligibility and suitability criteria can be found in full within the EU Settlement Scheme caseworker guidance.

Are you introducing physical proof of status?

  • There is no change to our digital approach.
  • Physical documents can get lost, stolen, damaged and tampered with.
  • The EU Settlement Scheme provides people with a secure, digital status which future-proofs their rights.
  • It has always been the case that people could print a copy of their confirmation letter, but this can’t be used as evidence of status.

Why does pre-settled status exist?

  • Settled and pre-settled status reflect the residence rights that EU citizens had under EU free movement rules.
  • Under these EU rules, you generally needed to reside in a country for 5+ years before acquiring permanent residence there.
  • Those here for less than 5 years can get pre-settled status, which protects their rights to live, work, receive benefits and access services. They can apply for settled status when they get to 5 years.
  • But the UK Government has been more generous with the EU Settlement Scheme because all EU citizens resident in the UK before the end of the transition period can apply – not just those who qualified under EU free movement rules.

Why have some EU citizens been granted pre-settled status?

  • EU citizens and their family members resident in the UK by the end of the transition period have until 30 June 2021 to apply.
  • Nobody has been granted pre-settled status without first being offered the opportunity to submit evidence that they qualify for settled status.
  • Both pre-settled status and settled status mean people can work, study, receive healthcare and access benefits and services as they could before we left the EU.
  • As soon as EU citizens and their family members have five years’ continuous residence, they can apply for settled status, which gives them leave on an indefinite basis.
  • To be eligible for settled status a person usually needs to have been continuously resident in the UK for five years in a row for at least six months in any 12-month period. But they can be absent from the UK for a single period of up to 12 months for an important reason.

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