Understanding the EU Settlement Scheme

The EU Settlement Scheme is a measure set up to ensure that all EU citizens (as well as EEA and Swiss citizens) who were living and working within the UK before 1st January 2021 (when the UK officially left the EU) can legally live and work in the UK after the 30th June 2021.

After this date, any EU passport or officially issued EEA residence documents will no longer be valid proof that an individual has the right to work in the UK. If any workers do not complete their EU Settlement application on or before the 30th June 2021 then they risk going through the new immigration system to enable them to continue working and living in the UK.

All EU Settlement applications must be completed and submitted by the individual in question. Once your application is verified and accepted, you’ll be able to:

  • Work in the UK.
  • Use the NHS for free, if you can at the moment.
  • Enrol in education or study in the UK.
  • Access public funds such as benefits and pensions, if you’re eligible for them.
  • Travel in and out of the UK.

Here’s all you need to know about the EU settlement scheme ahead of the closing deadline for applications on Wednesday 30th June 2021.

What Is The EU Settlement Scheme?

If you’re an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen, you and your family can apply to the EU Settlement Scheme to continue living in the UK after 30 June 2021. You can also apply if you’re the family member of an eligible person of Northern Ireland. If your application is successful, you’ll get either settled or pre-settled status, granting you the legal right to live and work in the UK whilst being able to access public services.

In order to be granted a successful settlement, you must usually have started living in the UK by 31st December 2020. Failure to apply will mean an individual loses access to employment, benefits, the rental market, the NHS as well as being subjected to other possible sanctions. It also means that should an individual travel abroad, they will be refused entry back into the UK or only be admitted as a visitor, which would deny them from being able to legally work.

If you apply for the EU Settlement Scheme and are successful, you will either be granted pre-settled status (temporary) or settled status (permanent). The EU Settlement scheme is a result of Britain’s exit from the European Union which means freedom of movement is removed for UK citizens.


Who Does The EU Settlement Scheme Affect?

You will need to apply for EU Settled/Pre-Settled status if: 

  • You’re an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen.
  • You’re not an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen, but your family member is (or is an eligible person of Northern Ireland).
  • You were born in the UK but are not a British citizen.
  • You have a UK ‘permanent residence document’.
  • You are a family member of an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen who does not need to apply – including if they’re from Ireland
  • You are an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen with a British citizen family member

If you have children, you need to apply for them separately. You cannot apply to the EU settlement scheme from inside the UK if you arrived after 31st December 2020 and you’re here:

  • On a Standard Visitor visa, Permitted Paid Engagement visa, Parent of a Child Student visa or Transit visa
  • Without a visa, for example if you came through an e-passport gate
  • On a Marriage Visitor visa (unless you’re applying after you have married or entered into a civil partnership with the EU, EEA or Swiss person you’re joining).

If you’re not an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen, you also may be able to apply if:

  • You used to have an EU, EEA or Swiss family member living in the UK (but you’ve separated, they’ve died or the family relationship has broken down).
  • You’re the family member of a British citizen and you lived outside the UK in an EEA country together.
  • You’re 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.
  • You have a family member who is an eligible person of Northern Ireland.
  • You’re the primary carer of a British, EU, EEA or Swiss citizen.
  • You’re the child of an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen who used to live and work in the UK, or the child’s primary carer.
  • You’re the family member of a ‘frontier worker’.

You do not need to apply if you have:

  • indefinite leave to enter the UK
  • indefinite leave to remain in the UK
  • Irish citizenship (including British and Irish ‘dual citizenship’)

Why Have The Government introduced The EU Settlement Scheme?

With the UK voting to leave the EU back in 2016, the UK officially exited the EU as of 1st January 2021. Britain’s departure means that the EU’s freedom of movement measure (allowing all EU citizens to live and work within the EU without further applications or visas) will not apply for the UK. To combat the millions of EU workers and citizens living and working in the UK, the government proposed a 6-month window to apply for the EU settlement scheme.

According to the House of Commons Library, over 5.3 million applications have been made for EU settled status ahead of the 30th June deadline. Minister for Future Borders and Immigration, Kevin Foster, said, “It’s great news there have been more than 5 million applications to the EU Settlement Scheme ahead of the 30th June deadline. My message to European citizens and their family members is simple – apply now and join the millions who have already been through the simple process to secure their status.”

UK Home Secretary, Priti Patel, also stated, “It is fantastic news that over 5 million applications have been made to the hugely successful EU Settlement Scheme. It’s the biggest scheme of its kind in UK history and will mean European citizens and their families can continue to call the UK home.”

How To Apply For Settled or Pre-Settled Status In The EU Settlement Scheme?

You can apply for the EU Settlement Scheme through the dedicated government portal page. You will need proof of your identity (a valid passport, biometric residence permit or biometric residence card), as well as your residence in the UK (unless you have a valid permanent residence document, or valid indefinite leave to remain in or enter the UK).

We hope this has outlined to you exactly what the EU Settlement Scheme is and whether it applies to you or any of your family members. If you require any more information on any schemes as a result of Britain’s departure from the EU, then please don’t hesitate to get in contact with us at Nordens where one of our trusted advisors would be happy talking you through your query.