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As the UK is getting closer to Brexit, the uncertainty of the EU citizens in the UK about their eligibility to remain in the UK increases.

As an EU citizen, you will need to get a pre-settled or settled status to keep living in the UK without restrictions, even after the divorce of the UK from the EU. To receive any of these UK residence statuses, you are required to apply under the EU Settlement Scheme from March 2019 until June 30, 2021.

Still there are exceptional cases when you as an EU citizen can remain in the UK after Brexit, without having to get pre-settled or settled status. This is possible if you are an Irish citizen or an EU national with Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) or with Indefinite Leave to Enter (ILE).

What is a Pre-settled and a Settled status?

Pre-settled and settled status are meant for EU citizens and their family members (EU and non-EU) to remain in the UK even after Brexit.

These statuses of EU citizens in the UK are verifiable only through the online service. If you will be issued a pre-settled or settled status in a physical document, you must be applying from a foreign country and you don’t have a biometric residence card.

What Does This Mean for EU Citizens Who are Already in the UK?

Your stay as an EU citizen in the UK without a pre-settled or settled status will be illegal as of December 31, 2020. This rule includes also EU spouses of the British citizens.

If you are a family member (EU or non-EU) of an EU settled or pre-settled citizen in the UK, you can apply to join them through the same scheme, even after the deadline.

Even if you are an EU citizen with a permanent residence right in the UK, you should apply to get the status of a settled person after December 31, 2020. You, however, will not need to give evidence of the continuous period spent in the UK, or to pay the respective application fee.

If you are an EU citizen living in the UK with an ILR, you may switch your status into a settled person, but you are not required to. With an ILR you are allowed to stay in the UK indefinitely.

How to Qualify for a Settled or Pre-settled Status?

As an EU citizen or a family member of an EU citizen, you will qualify to be issued a settled status in the UK, only if you have lived there for five continuous years, or you will start living there as of 31 December 2020.

In case you have lived in the UK for less than five continuous years, you can only get a pre-settled status until completing five continuous years of residence, for becoming a settled citizen.

When your continuous period of stay in the UK is calculated, your stays out of the UK are added up only if they are not more than six complete months in each year. Stays up to one year are exceptionally counted, if you have left the UK for an important issue such as to study, birth of a child, professional training, serious disease, death, and similar. Likewise, stays of any length are calculated if you have left the UK to attend a compulsory military service.

Rights of Pre-settled and Settled EU Citizens in the UK

Your rights are guaranteed in the UK if you hold either a pre-settled or a settled status as an EU citizen even when the UK officially leaves the European Union.

Settled

With a settled or pre-settled status, you can:

  • Bring your family members.
  • Get a job.
  • Get benefits and pensions.
  • Leave the UK and return here for as many times as you need.
  • Receive healthcare services of the NHS.
  • Enroll/continue studying.
  • Become a British citizen after five continuous years spent in the UK.

Moreover, your children born in the UK while you hold a settled status will be automatically granted with British citizenship.

Pre-settled

As a pre-settled person you can exercise equal rights as settled persons, although you aren’t yet settled.

With a pre-settled status, you are given eligibility to remain for up to five years in the UK. After this time spent legally in the UK, you can become a settled citizen.

Your children born while you have a pre-settled status will automatically be British citizens if their second parent is either a British citizen, a settled citizen, has a valid ILR or ILE, or a right to adobe in the UK.

Who Can Settle in Less Than Five Continuous Years Spent in the UK?

To be able to settle in the UK in less than five continuous years of life in the UK you must fall into one of the following:

  • Sudden permanent disability. You must have been employed/self-employed before this.
    • The permanent disability must be caused by an accident or illness.
    • You must have lived for two years right before this in the UK. If not, you must be a spouse/civil partner of a British citizen.
    • You are a family member of such an EU citizen.
  • Early retirement/reaching the state pension age.
    • You must have been constantly employed. Otherwise, you must have lived for three continuous years. In the last year before retirement must have been self-employed.
    • You are married/civil partnership with a British citizen.
    • You are a family member of such EU citizen.
  • Employment/self-employment in another EU state.
    • You must have lived, employed or self-employed in the UK for three continuous years before this.
    • You have not permanently left the UK, as you return here at least once in a week.
    • You are a family member of such EU citizen.
  • Death of your EU family member.
    • Your EU family member must have been employed/self-employed right before their death.
    • You must have been living with your EU family member right before their death.
    • Your EU family member must have lived here for at least two years right before their death.
    • Cause of death of your EU family member must have been a work-related accident/ illness.

Do My Family Members Get the Same Status?

Your non-EU family members can obtain the same status as you, if they qualify to do so.

Here is a list of non-EU family members who can take up the same status as you in the UK:

  • Your spouse/civil partner.
  • Your partner in a long-lasting relationship. This is not a marriage/civil relationship.
  • Children/grandchildren/great-grandchildren of yours/your spouse or civil partner. They must be younger than 21.
  • Dependent children of yours/your spouse or civil partner. They can be of any age, as far as they are not independent persons.
  • Dependent parent/grandparent/great-grandparent of yours/your spouse or civil partner. They can be of any age, as far as they are not independent persons.
  • Other dependent family member of yours/your spouse or civil partner. Only if they have a UK residence card based on your relationship you have with them.

Family Members Living Outside the UK

Your family members living outside the UK up until 31 December 2020 may join you after this date, and get the same status as you in the UK, if they qualify to do so.

Here is a list of circumstances under which family members living outside the UK may join you after Brexit and take up a pre-settled/settled status as you in the UK:

  • They must be your spouse/civil partner, a partner in a long-lasting relationship, child/grandchild, or a dependent parent/grandparent.
  • They must have been your family member before 31 December 2020.
  • They must continue being your family member even after coming to the UK.

Settled Status for EU Citizens Younger Than 21 Years Old

If you are an EU citizen younger than 21, living in the UK you will likewise receive the pre-settled or settled status in the UK, if you qualify to do so. You must have a parent/their spouse/their civil partner is an EU national.

The application in such case must be carried by you, your parent, grandparent or legal guardian.

Requirements of Applying for Settled and Pre-Settled Status

You must make the application for the settled or pre-settled status using an online form.  If you complete five years of continuous residence in the UK before June 30, 2021 you are advised to apply directly for settled status on this date or after. If your complete years of continuous residence in the UK are less than five years before such date, you must apply for a pre-settled status first.

If you are a family member of an EU citizen, you are encouraged to make the application for pre-settled or settled status together with your EU family member, for a faster decision.

Supporting evidences of your application are accepted in a scanned version through the online form. However, you may also send them in physical format through the post office.

Here are the documents that you must provide, when applying for the UK pre-settled or settled status:

  • Documents showing your identity and nationality.
    • Your valid passport/national ID Card.
    • Your valid passport/Biometric Residence Card. (If you are a non-EU family member of an EU citizen).
    • One recent digital photograph of yours.
  • Evidence of your continuous residence in the UK. They must display the activities you have exercised in the UK in five years of your continuous stay in the UK.
  • Utility bills.
  • Formal letters received by post.
  • Evidence of your self-employment.
    • Registration for self-assessment with HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).
    • Business records. Showing profits and costs for tax return.
    • P60s by including tax and national insurance contributions.
    • Income tax documents.
    • National insurance documents.
    • VAT registration documents as a self-employed person.
    • VAT registration certificate.
    • VAT returns containing the VAT registration number. In the form of a printout and accompanied by a copy.
    • Documents of self-employment operations.
    • Documents of an active trading activity.
    • Documents of involvement in a business partnership.
    • Documents of involvement in a business with limited activity.
    • Documents of a franchise.
  • Evidence of your employment.
    • P60 of the five latest years. (Or, the following documents).
    • Three pay slips for every year.  They may be monthly or weekly.
    • Employer’s letter. Confirming the employment periods and a yearly salary of the EEA national. (If you cannot send any of the aforementioned documents, send the following ones).
    • Acceptance of resignation letter.
    • Employment tribunal decisions.
    • Formal employment agreement.
    • Letter of termination of the employment.
    • P45given – given to a worker when leaving the job
  • Evidence of your self-sufficiency.
  • Evidence of your studies.
    • Certificate of enrollment in studies/Formal letter of an accredited education provider. It has to show the duration of your studies, study subject, qualification to be received upon completion.
    • Bank statements of each study year/certificate of scholarship award.They have to show payments of student fees, or covered study costs by scholarship.
    • Invoices issued by the respective education provider.
  • Evidence of your travels.
    • UK border entry stamps in your passport.
    • Flight or train tickets of your travels towards the UK.
  • Evidence showing your relationship with the EU citizen living in the UK. (If you are a non-EU family member of an EU citizen).
  • Certificate of birth/adoption.
    • Certificate of marriage/civil partnership.
    • Passport/national ID card of your EU family member living in the UK.
    • Evidence showing that your EU family member lives in the UK.
    • Biometric information. (If you don’t already have a biometric residence card).You need to submit your photograph and fingerprints at the application center in the UK.
  • Previous criminal history. (If you are older than 18). The information and evidence you provide will be inspected by authorities using the UK’s crime databases. Involvement in minor crimes, are not expected to affect your application. If you have been involved in major crimes, the decision on your eligibility is taken counting your personal circumstances. If you have been imprisoned, you may be eligible but you need to spend five continuous years of lawful residence in the UK after the date of your release.
  • Adoption court order/equally recognized document of adoption. (If you are a parent of an adopted child).

Additional Documents

Additional documents to send if you are applying for settled status in less than five continuous years:

  • Sudden permanent disability.
    • Letter issued by a medical doctor/medical consultant confirming a permanent disability.
    • Letter issued by a medical doctor/medical consultant stating causes of disability are related to their work performed.
    • Proof of your employment/self-employment right before disability.
  • Early retirement/reaching the state pension age.
    • Official retirement letter with all retirement details. Has to be issued by the employer
    • Letter from the pension provider authority, plus bank statements. To confirm the receipt of the pension payment.
    • Proof of your employment/self-employment.
  • Employment/self-employment in another EU state.
    • Proof of employment in another EU state.
    • Work contract with an employer in another EU state.
    • Bank statements showing receipt of salary.
    • Paid contribution.
    • Proof of residence of the EU family member in another EU country.
    • Rental contracts.
    • Utility bills.
    • Formal letters received by post.
  • Death of your EU family member.
    • Certificate of death.
    • Proof of employment/self-employment of your EU family member before their death.
    • Proof of having lived together right before their death.
    • Proof of residence in the UK of the EU family member right before their death.
    • Letter issued by a medical doctor/medical consultant stating causes of disability are related to their work performed.

How Much Does it Cost to Apply Under the EU Settlement Scheme?

The table below provides the fees of applying under the EU Settlement Scheme:

Category of applicant Application Fee
Age 16 and older 65£
Age under 16 32.50£
Holders of a valid ILR or ILE Free
Holders of UK permanent residence Free
Switching from pre-settled to settled status Free
Children in local authority care Free

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