EU Pre-Settled Status, Immigration Visa Lawyers UK

The EU Settlement Scheme consists of:


Settled status


Pre-settled status

Settled status is for those who have continuously resided in the UK for at least 5 years prior to 31 December 2021.  From 24 August 2020, the period of residence an applicant can rely upon for eligibility under the EU settlement scheme can be from past, as well as current, residence within the UK. Pre-settled status can be granted in all other cases with the possibility of obtaining settled status at a later date within the above-mentioned guidelines.

Settled and pre-settled status reflects the residence rights that EU citizens currently had under EU free movement rules.

Under these EU rules, you generally need to reside in a country 5+ years before acquiring permanent residence.

If you do not have 5 years continuous residence when you apply, you should apply for pre-settled status. This protects your rights to live, work and access services and received benefits if you are eligible for them. You must have started living in the UK before 31 December 2020 unless you are applying as an existing close family member of an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen who started living here by then.

You can stay in the UK for a further 5 years from the date you get pre-settled status.  This cannot be extended.

You can apply to change this to settled status once you have 5 years continuous residence. You must do this before your pre-settled status expires.

If you reached 5 years continuous residence by 31 December 2020, you can apply for settled status. You will not need pre-settled status first. Your application for settled status must be undertaken before 30 June 2021.

After 1 July 2021 it is no longer possible to reapply to the EU Settlement Scheme.

Your rights with pre-settled status

You will be able to:


work in the UK


use the NHS


enrol in education or continue studying


access public funds such as benefits and pensions, if you are eligible


travel in and out of the UK

How much time can I spend outside the UK?

With pre-settled status, you can spend up to 2 years in a row outside the UK without losing your status.

However, if you wish to qualify for settled status you will need to maintain your continuous residence.

A continuous qualifying period of residence in the UK generally means that the applicant was resident before 31 December 2020 (except in the case of a joining family member of a relevant sponsor) and has not been absent from the UK for more than 6 months in total (in a single period of absence or more than one) in any given 12-month period, throughout the period of residence relied upon by the applicant.

There are, however, some exceptions:

A single period of absence of more than 6 months is permitted as long as it doesn’t exceed 12 months and it is for one of the below important reasons:






Serious illness of the applicant




Vocational training


Overseas posting due to compulsory military service, Crown service or time spent working in the UK marine area


Coronavirus public health restrictions (ex. You had coronavirus overseas and could not return to the UK or imposed travel restrictions meant you were absent from the UK for longer than planned)


Self-isolating will be considered an important reason for absence only when you are or were:


Ill with coronavirus yourself


Sharing a house with someone ill with coronavirus


Required to self-isolate as a result of being, or being in contact with someone who is, in a vulnerable or high-risk category


The guidance will be updated as and when travel advice changes. Therefore, individuals wishing to qualify for settled status are advised to continue to check for the latest updates. 

For absences of more than 6 months applicants must submit relevant evidence when they apply for settled status.

If you have absences of less than 6 months in any 12-month period, in either a single absence or multiple absences, your continuous qualifying period will not be broken regardless of the reason for your absences. Therefore, you will not have to provide additional information or evidence in support of your application.

Can my family members join me in the UK?

Your close family members can join you in the UK if:


You are an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen


You were resident in the UK by 31 December 2020


Your family relationship with them began before 31 December 2020 (unless they are a child born or adopted after that date)


The relationship still exists when they apply to join you.


EU, EEA or Swiss family members can apply to the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS) from outside the UK using their passport or national identity card with a biometric chip.

Non-EEA family members with a residence card, permanent residence card or a derivative residence card can also apply to the EUSS from outside the UK. Otherwise, they first need to apply for an EU Settlement Scheme family permit to come to the UK. once they are in the UK they can apply to the EUSS.

If your non-EEA family member joins you on or after 1 April 2021, they must apply to the EUSS within 3 months of the date they arrive in the UK.

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