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.

Our experts

What our clients say…

Stalled EU Settlement Scheme application

Just to thank you all for the help given with Bodil's EU Settlement Scheme application, which came through in the last few days.

A good friend of ours once said: "People do not employ lawyers because they help; they employ them because they make a difference".

I'm convinced that referral to Latitude did jolt the Home Office into progressing consideration of the application, and it made all the difference.

T & B.

Allowed Appeal

To Gemma and the team, Thank you very much for your amazing job done. You are life savers.

Four British passports

The British passports of my four children successfully reached us this week.

I wanted to thank the Latitude Law Firm for the constant professional support provided to us throughout the process. Your services have been helpful for us at each stage of the process. We would be happy to hire you again in the future for the process of my husband, and would also recommend your firm to others around us.

Lastly, I would like to take this opportunity to appreciate the hard work of Joel Reiss towards the successful completion of our case. His support for all of us from day 1 till the very last day has been commendable. Me and my children are very thankful to him for the smooth execution.

Looking forward to hiring the firm for our next case as well.

All content on this page was reviewed by Latitude Law and is accurate as of 17/09/2021