The EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS) enables EU, other EEA and Swiss citizens resident in the UK by the end of the transition period on 31 December 2020, and their family members, to obtain the status they require in order to live and work in the UK after 30 June 2021.
The scheme opened to the public on 30 March 2019. The deadline for most people to apply to the EUSS was 30 June 2021, but eligible applicants may still be able to apply if they have a later deadline to do so or they have ‘reasonable grounds’ for their delay in applying.
More than two years have passed since the 30 June 2021 deadline and changes are being made, through routine Immigration Rules changes laid before Parliament on 17 July 2023, to ensure that the scheme continues to deal effectively with spurious EUSS applications. See below for further details of these changes.
- According to the latest published statistics, up to 31 March 2023, there have been more than 7.2 million applications received and 7.1 million applications concluded.
- As of 31 March 2023, an estimated 5.6 million people had obtained status under the EUSS.
- More than 490,000 vulnerable people have been supported to apply to the scheme by our network of grant funded organisations across the UK.
What status will successful applicants get?
- Successful applicants will be given either settled status, usually where they have lived in the UK for a continuous five-year period (known as ‘continuous residence’), or pre-settled status.
- The status granted is generally dependent on how long the applicant has been living in the UK when they apply. Those with at least five years’ continuous residence when they apply are eligible for settled status.
- Those granted pre-settled status can generally make a further application to switch from pre-settled to settled status as soon as they have reached five years’ continuous residence.
- Starting from September 2023, pre-settled status will be extended by two years before the date it was due to expire, where the person has not already obtained settled status. This extension will occur automatically; the Home Office will write to the person to let them know when their pre-settled status has been extended.
- Further details of what successful applicants get is available at uk/settled-status-eu-citizens-families/what-settled-and-presettled-status-means
Extending pre-settled status from September 2023
- From September 2023, pre-settled status holders who are approaching the expiry of that status will automatically have it extended by 2 years. This will happen automatically, and they will be notified when it has occurred. They will not need to contact the Home Office.
- This will ensure that no pre-settled status holder will see their immigration status expire. This does not impact individuals who have already switched to settled status, or have become naturalised British citizens after holding settled status.
- Pre-settled status holders are still encouraged to apply for settled status once they are eligible for it. It is free to apply at gov.uk/eusettlementscheme, where details of the range of available support can also be found.
Automation of conversion from pre-settled to settled status during 2024
- The Home Office aims to ensure that all those eligible for settled status obtain it as soon as possible, generally after five years’ continuous residence, so we are taking steps to automate that process, which we intend to implement during 2024. In the meantime, pre-settled status holders are still encouraged to apply for settled status once they are eligible for it, to confirm their right to remain in the UK indefinitely.
- The Home Office will undertake automated checks of pre-settled status holders against government-held information, for example in respect of their ongoing continuous residence in the UK. This reflects the assessment undertaken when the person first applied to the EUSS and will ensure their eligibility for settled status before it is granted.
- All EUSS status-holders are encouraged to update their digital status with their latest passport/national identity card information, and contact details, including their email address, using the ‘Update your UK Visas and Immigration account details’ service at https://www.gov.uk/update-uk-visas-immigration-account-details
- Pre-settled status holders who meet the eligibility requirements for settled status are encouraged to apply free of charge for settled status as soon as they are eligible for it as the easiest way to prove their right to live in the UK permanently. They can apply at gov.uk/eusettlementscheme.
- A wide range of help and support continues to be available to those who need it.
Are you introducing physical proof of status?
- There is no change to our digital approach. Physical documents can be lost, stolen, damaged or tampered with.
- The EUSS provides people with a secure, digital status which they can rely on to evidence their rights.
Changes to reasonable grounds for a late application from August 2023
- The range of measures laid before Parliament on 17 July 2023 includes changes to the way reasonable grounds for late applications to the scheme are considered.
- These changes will help to ensure that the Home Office can continue to deal effectively with spurious applications. The Home Office will continue to accept and consider late applications from those with reasonable grounds for their delay in applying.
Why would people be refused?
- 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.
- Eligibility refusals will be made where someone does not meet the criteria for the scheme. For instance, they have broken their continuity of residence, or their relationship with an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen has ended.
- Evidence of residence can be as little as a utility bill, bank statements or a letter from a GP or charity.
- The vast majority of refusals to date are on eligibility grounds rather than suitability.
- In cases where an applicant is refused, the Home Office will write to them to explain what steps they can take.
- If an individual disagrees with the decision to refuse their application, they can ask for an administrative review of the decision or appeal.
- For those who have made a valid EUSS application, their rights are protected pending the outcome of their application, including any appeal.
- Published statistics show the latest refusals.
Temporary protection of rights
- EU, other EEA and Swiss citizens and their family members who make a valid in-time or late EUSS application will have their rights in the UK temporarily protected until they receive the outcome of their EUSS application, including any administrative review or appeal.
- More information can be found at: gov.uk/government/news/temporary-protection-for-more-applicants-to-the-settlement-scheme
What is the status of those who have made a valid application but not yet received a decision?
- If someone has made a valid application to the EUSS, but has not had a decision yet, their rights in the UK are protected until their application is decided. That is the law.
- It usually takes around five working days for straightforward applications to be processed if no further information is required. Even if it takes longer, a person’s rights are protected until the outcome of the application, including any appeal against refusal.
- More information can be seen here: uk/government/publications/eu-settlement-scheme-application-processing-times/eu-settlement-scheme-pilot-current-expected-processing-times-for-applications
Evidencing status in the UK
- EUSS status holders need to use their eVisa credentials to sign into the online ‘View and Prove’ service available at uk/view-prove-immigration-status where they can access their immigration status (eVisa) and use it to evidence their rights in the UK.
- Further information about how individuals evidence their immigration status in the UK is available at uk/government/publications/view-and-prove-your-immigration-status-evisa.
How can someone evidence that they have an application pending?
- People who have submitted a valid EUSS application receive a Certificate of Application which they can use to prove their rights pending the outcome of their application. If an individual has been notified that they have a digital Certificate of Application, they are able to use the View and Prove service to prove their rights: uk/view-prove-immigration-status
How do you know employers and landlords won’t discriminate against people with pending applications?
- Employers and landlords who discriminate against those with a pending application are breaking the law and we would urge them to familiarise themselves with published guidance and the statutory codes of practice available on GOV.UK at:
- Since 2019, GOV.UK and other communication channels have carried clear and consistent messaging that checks must be completed in a non-discriminatory manner and have included information on changes to the checking process for EEA citizens specifically.
- The Home Office has delivered an extensive, wide-reaching campaign targeting UK employers with information on their obligations and responsibilities concerning right to work checks. We have also communicated with landlords and their representative groups in England about right to rent checks.
- We have delivered extensive engagement with stakeholders, including employers, landlords, financial institutions, educational establishments, local authorities, foreign administrations, and citizens, about the EUSS, the points-based immigration system and wider Future Border and Immigration System developments.
- Further guidance for employers on right to work and landlords on right to rent can be found on GOV.UK. Where necessary, employers and landlords may also contact the Home Office checking services to verify an individual’s right to work or right to rent.
How will people who have status through the EUSS be able to evidence this in the future?
- A person who has applied to the EUSS will have created a UKVI account. A person can use their UKVI account credentials to log into the online View and Prove service.
- If an individual has been notified that they have a digital Certificate of Application, they are able to use the View and Prove service to prove their rights uk/view-prove-immigration-status.
- It is important that a person’s personal details on their UKVI account are kept up to date. Details can be updated through the ‘update your UK Visas and Immigration account details’ service or by using the ‘update details’ function in the View and Prove service.
- Individuals granted an eVisa under the points-based immigration system, together with Hong Kong BN(O)s, also have a digital only status. This will be rolled out to more visa types over the next three years.
How does somebody with status under the EUSS enter the UK if they do not have physical documentation to show they have applied?
- Individuals who have been granted digital status under the EUSS are not required to provide evidence of this to enter the UK. Provided that the individual travels using a document that they either used in applying to the EUSS or have added to their eVisa using the ‘Update my Documents’ feature, their status will be automatically recognised at the border.
- Where an individual travels using a document that is not known to the Home Office, they may be asked further questions or further manual systems checks may be conducted at the desk in order to verify their status.
- Children born in the UK on or after 1 July 2021 to a parent with EUSS status may still be British automatically even if their parent did not have settled status at the time of the child’s birth. This may be the case where:
- The parent had applied for settled status by 30 June 2021 but was granted this after the birth; or
- The parent applied for settled status after 30 June 2021, had reasonable grounds for submitting a late application, and would have been granted settled status had they applied by 30 June 2021.
- More information about this and other circumstances in which a child is a British citizen automatically can be found at gov.uk/check-british-citizenship.
- Any child who is not a British citizen and is born to parents with EUSS status in the UK will need their parents to obtain status for them under the EUSS, within three months of their birth, or later, where there are reasonable grounds for the delay in making the application. Applications should be made here: gov.uk/settled-status-eu-citizens-families/applying-for-settled-status.
Applying on behalf of children
- An application must be made for every eligible child within a family. Parents should check if they need to make a late application on behalf of their children, even if they have already applied to the EUSS and been granted a status themselves. More information can be found at gov.uk/settled-status-eu-citizens-families/apply-settled-status-for-child.
What will happen to those who have not applied to the EUSS?
- Although the deadline for the EUSS was 30 June 2021 for those resident in the UK by 31 December 2020, a late application will still be accepted for consideration where there are reasonable grounds for the person’s delay in applying.
- We have published non-exhaustive guidance on reasonable grounds for making a late EUSS application.
- Further details on how a late application can be made are available on GOV.UK
Will somebody who has not applied to the EUSS be removed from the UK?
- Where an individual is encountered in the UK by Immigration Enforcement who has no immigration status, then appropriate enforcement action will be taken. They will still be able to make a valid late application to the EUSS where they have reasonable grounds for their delay in applying.
Will somebody who has not applied have access to benefits?
- Non-British or Irish citizens require a valid immigration status, which will be checked by the department paying benefits.
- The Home Office has worked extensively with DWP and HMRC to ensure that EU, EEA and Swiss benefit claimants who were receiving benefits before the 30 June 20021 deadline received postal and (where appropriate) digital notification of the need to apply to the EUSS to secure their ongoing rights to benefits.
Can people who have not applied to the EUSS and do not hold any other form of immigration status work in the UK?
- EU, other EEA and Swiss citizens and their family members who are in the UK and do not hold either EUSS status or to stay will be in the UK without lawful status. Therefore, they will not be able to pass a right to work check.
- We have guidance for employers which sets out what they should do if they identify someone in their workforce who did not apply by the 30 June 2021 deadline. We have in place a process to ensure that employers do not have to cease the employment of an individual without status who has been working for them since before 1 July 2021.
- Retrospective right to work checks are not required for existing EEA citizen employees who used their passport or national identity card to demonstrate their right to work before 1 July 2021
Will somebody who did not apply by 30 June 2021 or applies late lose guaranteed access to healthcare and NHS services?
- The Department of Health and Social Care has set out that where a valid late application to the EUSS has been made (evidenced by a Certificate of Application), the individual will be non-chargeable for NHS healthcare from the date of that application until its final outcome.
- Urgent and necessary treatment is never withheld regardless of immigration status.
What support is available for those who need to apply to switch from pre-settled to settled status, use their status, or make a late application?
- A wide range of support remains available to those who are eligible and need help to make a late application to the scheme, switch from pre-settled to settled status, or demonstrate their status.
This includes the Settlement Resolution Centre telephone helpline, whose staff can provide assistance to applicants with any questions about the scheme or who need help applying. Full contact details for the Settlement Resolution Centre can be found at gov.uk/eusettlementscheme.
- Additional support is available to those who do not have the appropriate access, skills or confidence to apply online through the Home Office’s Assisted Digital status. Full details of Assisted Digital can be found at gov.uk/eusettlementscheme.
- Since 2019 the Home Office has provided grant funding totalling over £32 million to a network of organisations across the UK to support vulnerable citizens applying to the EUSS, including making a further application to switch from pre-settled to settled status. There are currently 17 grant funded organisations, and many formerly funded organisations continue to provide support to vulnerable EUSS applicants.
- Grant funding has already supported more than 490,000 vulnerable citizens in applying to the EUSS. The network of grant funded organisations and their delivery partners are part of the wider support available to applicants through charities, community groups and local authorities across the UK. The list of current grant funded organisations is available at gov.uk/government/publications/eu-settlement-scheme-community-support-for-vulnerable-citizens/list-of-organisations
What support is available for people with a digital-only status to demonstrate that?
- The Settlement Resolution Centre provides telephone and email support to all account holders using the online immigration status services. This includes:
- supporting users through the online journey;
- helping them to access or recover their account;
- helping them to update their personal details; and
- sharing status on behalf of account holders if they are unable to do so themselves.
- The Settlement Resolution Centre will also be able to assist users who are experiencing technical issues with their online immigration status, and where necessary, enable account holders’ status to be verified through alternative means.
What about the implementation of the High Court judgment in the judicial review brought by the Independent Monitoring Authority for the Citizens’ Rights Agreements (IMA) concerning pre-settled status holders under the EUSS?
- The High Court judgment found that the Withdrawal Agreement right to reside of a person with pre-settled status does not expire for failure to make a further application to the EUSS.
- Starting from September, individuals’ pre-settled status will be automatically extended by two years before it expires, where they have not yet obtained settled status under the EUSS. We will write to them to let them know when their status has been extended.
- To ensure that all those eligible for settled status obtain it as soon as possible, we also intend to automate that process, which we expect to implement during 2024.
- In the meantime, Pre-settled status holders are still encouraged to apply for settled status as soon as they are eligible for it, to obtain secure evidence of their right to remain in the indefinitely in the UK.