Information on the EU Settlement Scheme for EU, EEA and Swiss citizens and their eligible family members.
What is the EU Settlement Scheme and who can apply?
The EU Settlement Scheme is open to EU, EEA and Swiss citizens and their eligible family members to enable them to protect their residency in the UK after the UK leaves the EU.
Those who apply under the scheme will be granted either ‘settled’ or ‘pre-settled’ status. You should be granted settled status if you have lived in the UK for a continuous 5-year period (see definitions below) by the time you apply.
If you do not have 5-years’ of continuous residence, you should be granted pre-settled status. If granted, you will be able to stay in the UK for a further 5 years from the issuance of pre-settled status. Once you meet the 5-years’ continuous residency you can apply for settled status.
If you have a ‘right of permanent residence document’ you must still apply for the EU Settlement Scheme. If you have Indefinite leave to remain in or enter the UK you do not need to apply, but if you do you will be granted ‘indefinite leave to remain under the EU Settlement Scheme’ i.e. settled status and should have the rights connected to this status.
When should I apply?
Those who are resident in the UK before 31 December 2020 will have until 30 June 2021 to apply under the scheme.
Eligible family members who are not in the UK by 31 December 2020 may still be eligible to apply under the scheme if the relationship with the EU/EEA citizen was formed before this date.
Those who arrive in the UK from 1 January 2021 will be expected to apply for immigration permission under the Immigration Rules in place at the time they want to come to the UK.
If you will meet the 5-years’ continuous residency for settled status at some point before the specified deadlines above, but not now, you may want to wait until you have acquired the required 5-years’ residency. This way you would move immediately to settled status in the UK with no interim stage i.e. pre-settled status.
Should I apply for the Settlement Scheme?
Benefits of applying:
It is evidence of immigration permission to be in the UK.
If your course ends after the deadline for applying for the scheme as specified above you must apply. Otherwise, you may not be able to continue on your course and will be subsequently suspended/withdrawn because you will not be able to prove you have a right to study in the UK.
It is free and simple to apply.
Circumstances can change! Even if you feel that you are definitely not going to stay in the UK after completion of your studies, things can change. Applying for the scheme increases the options open to you.
As a current University of Reading student you have access to a free, confidential advice service with dedicated International Student Advisers who can assist you with your application.
It is entirely your choice to decide whether you apply for the scheme, but when making your decision you should consider the future and how it may affect you.
Please note that you will need to declare any criminal convictions in your application. The Home Office will check you against the UK’s crime database and if you have criminal convictions it may affect if you will be granted settled or pre-settled status. You will still be eligible for the settlement scheme for minor crimes such as speeding fines, but other crimes will be judged on a case-by-case basis.
The Application Process
The EU Settlement Scheme is open to EU, EEA and Swiss citizens and their eligible family members, as well as eligible family members of British citizens who have exercised a right to reside in another EU country.
Prove your identity:
If you want to prove your identity using the App, you can apply inside or outside of the UK.
You will need to use the Home Office’s ‘EU Exit: ID Document Check’ app which is compatible with Android phones 6.0 and above that have Near Field Communication (NFC) technology that is required to make contactless payments using your phone or an iPhone 7 or above. If you do not have an appropriate device, you can use someone else’s phone, find a location where you can use a phone or you can contact the International Student Advisory Team to arrange to use their device in the Carrington building.
You will need to open the app, scan your passport, national identity card (containing a biometric chip) or a UK issued biometric residence card before placing your ID document on the phone to enable it to check the electronic information stored in it. Then you will be asked to scan your face using the phone (children aged 10 and below will not be asked to scan their face). You will then be required to take a photo of yourself using the app.
If you would like to prove your identity by sending your documents by post* you must apply inside the UK. Your documents will be returned to you after they have been checked. This option will require you to upload a photo of yourself and answer questions on nationality as part of the online application.
*Important note: due to COVID-19 the Home Office have asked applicants not to send their documents by post after March 25th as there may be a delay in it being returned to you.
You will need to answer a few questions about yourself by completing the online application. The form will ask if you have a UK permanent residence document or indefinite leave to remain - if you have you will not have to go through residency checks. Alternatively, the Home Office will use your answers to confirm how long you have been resident. In most cases, this means you will not have to provide any evidence. You will also need to declare any criminal convictions.
The Home Office will confirm what status you will be considered for based on your answers. You can accept this result if you agree, or add evidence of your residence if you disagree.
If you are confirming your identity by post you will need to send your document proving your ID.
Then wait for the result!
The most simple way of proving your residency is by providing your National Insurance number (NI number) in your application if you have one.
If you do not have an NI number or the information attached does not cover your 5-years’ continuous residence you can upload documents such as; annual bank statements, a letter from the University/previous schools confirming the dates you are/were enrolled, utility bills etc. Click here to view further information on which documents can be used.
If you are applying for pre-settled status there is no minimum amount of time you need to have spent in the UK, you only need to show evidence that you currently live in the UK. A confirmation of student enrolment letter confirming your UK address and your status as a current student is more than adequate.
After you Apply – Status and Rights
If you are granted either settled of pre-settled status you will not get a physical document unless you are a non-EU family member and do not already have a biometric residence permit (BRP). You will be able to access evidence of your status and application via an online system and share your rights to others online such as employers, landlords and educational institutions.
Settled status: You will be able to work, study, use the NHS, access public funding, travel in and out of the UK and apply for British citizenship if eligible. You should be able to spend up to 5 years in a row outside of the UK without losing your settled status (this is subject to parliamentary approval) or up to 4 years in a row if you are a Swiss citizen or their eligible family member (this is also subject to parliamentary approval).
Pre-settled status: You will be able to work, study, use the NHS, access public funding and travel in and out of the UK. You can spend up to 2 years in a row outside of the UK without losing your pre-settled status, but you will need to maintain your 5-years continuous residency if you want to apply for settled status.
Eligible family members:
Those in a relationship with an EU citizen as their spouse, civil partner or unmarried partner
Those related to an EU citizen, their spouse or civil partner as their: child, grandchild or great-grandchild under 21 years old, dependent child over the age of 21, dependent parent, grandparent or great-grandparent, dependent relative with a residence card to prove the relationship
Those who used to have an EU, EEA or Swiss family member living in the UK (but you have separated, or they have died)
The family member of a British citizen who lived outside the UK in an EEA country together
The family member of a British citizen who also has EU, EEA or Swiss citizenship and who lived in the UK as an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen before getting British citizenship
The primary carer of a British, EU, EEA or Swiss citizen
The child of an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen who used to live and work in the UK, or the child’s primary carer
5-years’ of continuous residence: been in the UK for at least 6 months in any 12-month period for 5 years in a row.
Permitted absences under continuous qualifying periods: There are some exceptions for remaining outside of the UK for longer than the required periods to count towards 5-years’ of continuous residence. This includes one instance of absence for up to 12 months for an important reason such as study, serious illness, compulsory military service etc. Please contact the International Student Advisory Team if you have been absent for more than 6 months in a 12-month period, but you believe you may meet one of the exemptions. See the term
30 March 2019: The date the EU Settlement Scheme fully opened.
31 January 2020: The date the UK left the EU.
31 December 2020: The end of the transition period. EU citizens who arrive on or before this date can apply for the EU Settlement Scheme.
30 June 2021: The deadline for applying for the EU Settlement Scheme if the UK leaves the EU with a deal.