the EU Settlement scheme - faq's


On the 31st January 2020, the United Kingdom (UK) left the European Union (EU).  The UK is currently in a “transition period” which ends at 11pm on 31 December 2020.  During this transition period EU, EEA and Swiss citizens (and their relevant family members) can come to, or stay in, the UK on the same basis as before the UK left the EU – exercising their rights under European Law.  This means no immigration permission will be required. 

After the transition period ends, if you are not already in the UK, EU, EEA and Swiss nationals will need to have immigration permission to travel to and remain in the UK.

The EU Settlement scheme is a type of Immigration permission designed for citizens of the EU, EEA and Switzerland (and their eligible family members) who are in the UK before the end of the transition period. 

The EU Settlement scheme will give you either ‘Settled status’ or ‘Pre-settled status’ in the UK.

who is the settlement scheme for?


The scheme is designed for the following groups of people (and their eligible family members) who are in the UK before the end of the transition period - 11pm on 31st December 2020 and who wish to remain in the UK after this date:

  • EU Citizens
  • Citizens of Norway, Lichtenstein and Iceland (Non-EU, EEA citizens)
  • Swiss Citizens
  • This is not an exhaustive list and more information can be found in the Home Office guidance

You do not have to intend to ‘settle’ in the UK to apply for the EU Settlement Scheme, but the scheme will allow you to study without immigration restrictions on where you study or the type of study you intend to do and can lead to settlement in the UK.


i already have a permanent residence document from the uk government, do i need to apply?


Yes - You will need still need permission under the EU Settlement Scheme or by applying for British Citizenship if you are eligible to do so

i'm an irish national, do i need to apply?


No – Irish citizens will continue to have the right to live in the UK and this will not change after the UK has left the EU.  You will not need to apply to the settlement scheme.

what is the eu settlement scheme?


The EU Settlement Scheme is a UK Immigration route that will result in either ‘Limited permission’ to stay in the UK (Pre-Settled Status) or ‘Indefinite Permission’ to stay in the UK (Settled Status).


Settled Status:  You will be eligible to apply to stay in the UK indefinitely if you have been continually living in the UK for at least 5 years before 31 December 2020.  If you have had some small absences from the UK in this 5 year period, you may still be eligible for ‘Settled Status’ if these absences do not exceed the requirements to achieve the ‘continuous qualifying period’ (see Annex 1 of the Home Office Rules for the definition).

Pre-Settled Status:  You will be eligible to apply for limited permission to remain in the UK if you arrive in the UK before 31 December 2020 but have not yet been living continuously in the UK for 5 years.  Pre-settled status will allow you to remain in the UK until you have reached the 5 years required for indefinite permission, at which point you can then apply for settled status.

How do i apply?


In most cases you will need to apply online via the UK Gov webpages. The application is free of charge and is straightforward to complete. You will need to provide evidence as follows:

Your identity and nationality – if you have a passport or valid national identity card with a biometric chip then you will need to upload these using an app on your phone or tablet (the device does not have to belong to you – you can use any phone or tablet).  If you do not have an identity document with a biometric chip, then you will need to send your documents by post.   You may be able to make an appointment to scan your ID document at a UK service point – enter your postcode here to see where your nearest location is.

Your residence in the UK – If you have a National Insurance number and have worked in the UK, then your residency length will be linked automatically to HMRC tax records.  Other types of evidence can be used, you can find further information about this in the Home Office Guidance for Caseworkers (pages 127 – 129). 

If you have not been in the UK for 5 years, you can provide proof of your student status to show your residency – see the University Student Documents webpages to get a copy of your Certificate of Registration

The application form for both settled and pre-settled status is the same – you will be asked in the form how long you have lived in the UK.If you choose 5 years or more you will be issued settled status; if you choose less than 5 years then you will be issued with pre-settled status.

A photograph – you will need to upload a recent digital photograph of your face.

Do i have to be in the UK to apply?


You can apply for the scheme from outside the UK if you are normally resident in the UK. You can find further information about how to apply from outside the UK here.

Do i have to apply for the EU Settlement Scheme?


No, however, after the end of the transition period all EU, EEA and Swiss nationals will be required to have immigration permission to enter and stay in the UK. If you do not apply for the Settlement scheme you will need to have permission under a different immigration route (such as the Student Visa route). These other immigration routes will have more restrictions on your studies and working conditions and the amount of time you can stay in the UK. It is therefore, recommended that if you are eligible you apply under the EU Settlement Scheme.

When do i need to apply by?


It is strongly advised that you should apply as soon as possible and ideally before 31st December 2020, however, if you are already in the UK you have until 30 June 2021 to submit an application under the EU Settlement scheme. The period of time between 31st December 2020 and 30th June 2021 is known as ‘the grace period’.

Further Advice


SU Advice is only able to give basic information about the EU Settlement Scheme and I’m afraid we are not able to provide individual advice or support. Our advisers are only trained to be able to provide advice on the Tier 4 and Student Visa extension application process. There is further support and information available through the following websites:

UKCISA (UK Council for International Student Affairs) - UKCISA have lots of information on their webpages and also operate telephone adviceline for student enquiries.  They are open Monday to Friday 1pm to 4pm and can be contacted on +4420 7788 9214.

Home Office -  Settled and pre-settled status for EU citizens and their families

Free Movement blog -  How to apply for “settled status” for EU citizens

The Aire Centre – A guide to the Settlement Scheme