How do I apply for UK settled status? EU settlement scheme and application explained - and how to check status

Whether you get pre-settled or settled status will depend on how long you’ve lived in the UK

The deadline for applications to the settled status scheme is tomorrow (31 June) and there are thousands of EU citizens living in the UK yet to apply.

After the UK left the EU in January 2020, changes to the immigration system did not come into effect until January 2021, with EU citizens given extra time to apply for the right to remain.

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What does settled status mean?

Settled status UK: how to check and apply for settled and pre settled status - and application deadline (Photo by ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP via Getty Images)
Settled status UK: how to check and apply for settled and pre settled status - and application deadline (Photo by ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP via Getty Images)

When freedom of movement came to an end after Brexit, a new points-based immigration system was introduced, which came into effect on 1 January 2021.

EU citizens who were already in the UK prior to 31 December 2020 have the right to apply to remain in the UK.

For many, this will mean applying for EU settled status, which gives an individual the right to live, work and study in the UK indefinitely.

People with settled status will have the same rights and benefits they had prior to Brexit. They will be able to leave the UK for up to five years without losing their status, and any if they have children in the UK they will be classed as British citizens.

However, not all EU citizens currently in the UK will qualify for settled status, and those who don’t apply before 30 June will no longer have the legal right to remain in the UK.

EU citizens who haven’t lived in the UK for five years, or are unable to evidence that they have, will likely be granted pre-settled status.

What is pre-settled status?

Pre-settled status grants a right to remain in the UK for five years from the date it is granted.

People with pre-settled status are able to apply for settled status once they have been resident in the UK for five years.

You can still live, work and study in the UK with pre-settled status.

How does settled status work for children?

Settled status applications for children can be linked with that of their parents if needed.

Evidence will be required to prove the familial relationship.

If a parent’s application is approved, this will also apply to the child.

How to apply for settled status

People applying to settled or pre-settled status have to complete a process online or using a smartphone app.

In order to apply, you need to verify your identity and nationality, prove that you have been resident in the UK and go through a criminal check.

You can find out more about the application process here.

How to check your settled status

In order to check or prove your immigration status, you should use this tool on the government’s website.

For further advice on immigration status, you can speak to Citizen’s Advice, or a verified immigration advice service as listed on the government’s website.

You can also use this service to ‘prove’ your settled status, by obtaining a code.

You may need to do this in order to access some services, or e.g a mortgage application.

When is the application deadline for EU citizens?

The EU settled status scheme comes to an end on 31 June 2021.

This means that 31 June is the deadline for applications.

However the government has said that it will allow indefinite time to complete applications for settled status, so long as there is a reasonable excuse for the delay.

More than 5 million people have already applied through the scheme, but there are thought to be around 400,000 still unaccounted for.