EU Settlement Scheme

The EU Settlement scheme is the UK’s government’s replacement for free movement regulations that permit EU nationals and their family members to relocate, work and study in the UK. It has been piloted since late 2018, and it went fully live in March 2019.


Who does it benefit & who’s not covered?

The scheme offers protection for EU citizens living and working here either before the end of the implementation period on 31 December 2020. The deadline to apply to the scheme is 30 June 2021.

EU citizens and their families arriving in the UK after this date will not be eligible to use the EU Settlement Scheme. These individuals will have to apply for leave to remain under domestic immigration rules.

How can I apply & who is eligible?

You must apply for the EU Settlement Scheme using the online application form, and the relevant process set out in that form for providing proof of identity and nationality through the use of the identity verification app.

We would, therefore, expect refusals to be rare. If this happens to you, in most cases it will be easiest to simply reapply, providing missing supporting documents if you have them. Remember that the deadline to apply to the scheme is 30 June 2021. The rules now provide for a right of appeal to an Independent Tribunal.

Irish citizens have a right to reside in the UK separate from their rights under EU law, so they do not have to apply under the scheme.

Relevant considerations

Your application will be approved if you meet suitability requirements, broadly relating to your good character, and eligibility requirements:

  • If you have completed 5 years’ continuous qualifying residence in the UK, you will have achieved settled status and be granted indefinite leave to remain (ILR)
  • If you have up to 5 years’ residence, you will be granted 5 years’ limited leave, known as pre-settled status

Residence is treated as “continuous” if you have spent at least 6 months in any 12 month period here. Once settled status is secured, it can only be lost through an absence of 5 years from the UK, or through withdrawal, e.g. if you commit a serious crime and are excluded from the country.

Automated checks on your residence will be conducted via HMRC or DWP records; there is no need to provide documents to prove your residence if your work history is sufficiently well evidenced.

What happens while your application is under consideration?

A digital certificate of application will be issued by the Home Office to confirm that you have submitted a valid application under the scheme. This does not confirm that you have immigration status in the UK.

What happens if your application is successful?

You will either be granted ILR, the same status as non-EU nationals who become settled in the UK; or 5-years’ leave to remain, known in this category as pre-settled status.

What happens if your application is refused?

It is worth remembering that, in all publicity issued around EU Settlement rules, the Home Office has stated that its intention is to approve as many applications as possible. The scheme’s statement of intent confirms:

“The Home Office will work with applicants to help them avoid any errors or omissions that may impact on the application decision. Caseworkers will have scope to engage with applicants and give them a reasonable opportunity to submit supplementary evidence or remedy any deficiencies where it appears a simple omission has taken place. A principle of evidential flexibility will apply…”

We would, therefore, expect refusals to be rare. If this happens to you, in most cases it will be easiest to simply reapply, providing missing supporting documents if you have them. The rules provide for a process of administrative review of negative decisions, but this does not apply where the refusal is on suitability (good character) grounds, in which case judicial review will be the appropriate remedy.

How we can help…

Over many years our team of lawyers have gained extensive experience in assisting EU nationals and their families to relocate, live, work and study in the UK. While the rules are changing, our commitment to providing up-to-the-minute legal advice to those citizens and their loved ones continues.

We have monitored the introduction of the EU Settlement Scheme closely, and have provided effective, timely support to clients applying under the scheme since 2018.

Related services…

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What our clients say…

Success for the Bouameur Family

I am writing this on behalf of the whole family, we would like to say thank you. These two words are such small words for the gratitude and high regard we all hold you in.

Your firm and especially you have been with us throughout the difficult years we have had and you have always been there when we needed picking up, our shoulder to cry on that saw us through with honesty and realistic advice.

I cannot recommend your firm and you enough to people who find themselves at the mercy of a system that at best can be described as confusing.

You have given us back our lives and for that you will always be a cherished member of our family and never forgotten

Many many thanks to you and your team for everything

The Bouameur Family

May 2021
Naturalisation success for a medical doctor

I shall have no hesitation whatsoever in recommending Latitude Law, which is clearly an extremely proficient unit, exemplified by helping clients with patience, attention to detail and sensitivity in equal measure.

Particular mention is merited to Ms Gemma Wylie, whose professionalism is par excellence. I couldn’t thank her enough.

Dr LG

January 2020
The long road to permanent residence

Me and Fady want to thank you and your team for helping us throughout the past 8 years with Fady's immigration issues and finally getting him to live a life without worries and struggles. We just came back from Egypt where we visited his family after 8 years of Fady not seeing them. This wouldn't have been possible without your help and who knows where we would be today if it wasn't for you helping us.

April 2019

All content on this page was reviewed by Latitude Law and is accurate as of 25/02/2019