EU Settlement Scheme – your rights under pre-settled status

Feb 18, 2021

As we adjust to the end of free movement between the UK and the European Union and as the pandemic has also affected travel, Migrate UK offers this information about your rights under pre-settled status.

your rights under pre-settled status

compiled by Judit Adorjan – Immigration Consultant


If you don’t have 5 years’ continuous residence in the UK when you apply to the EU Settlement Scheme you may get pre-settled status.

You must have been living in the UK by 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.

Your pre-settled status is valid for 5 years and it cannot be extended.

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


What are my rights with pre-settled status?

You can:

  • Work
  • Use the NHS for free, if you can at the moment.
  • Enrol in education or study
  • Access benefits and pensions, if you are eligible for them.
  • 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 and Islands 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 and Islands 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:
    • Pregnancy
    • Childbirth
    • Serious illness of the applicant
    • Study
    • 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.
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.

your rights under presettled status

Karen Kaur and Jonathan Beech – Immigration Lawyers


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.

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.


If you would like to discuss your rights under pre-settled status please contact Migrate UK on 01235 841 568 or email