Knowledge Hub | Articles

04 June 2019

Settled status: safeguard your rights

The rights of EU citizens who are resident in the UK to live and work will change when the UK leaves the European Union. In readiness for the departure, the government has introduced the EU Settlement Scheme.  All EU citizens and their non-EU family members wishing to stay in the UK, including those who already have permanent residence documents, can now apply for settled status or pre-settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme. Citizens of Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Switzerland can also apply under the Scheme.  

Chris Brazier, business immigration lawyer, provides an overview on who is eligible and what’s needed to apply. 


If you are granted settled status you can live and work in the UK for as long as you like. You are entitled to settled status if you start living in the UK by 31 December 2020 where there is a deal, or by the date the UK departs in a ‘no deal’ situation.   

To obtain settled status you need to have lived in the UK for a continuous period of five years. Once you have settled status, you can spend up to five years in a row outside the UK without losing this right. 

If you started living in the UK before 31 December 2020 (where there is a deal, or by the date the UK departs in a no deal situation) but have not lived in the UK for a continuous period of five years, you should be granted pre-settled status instead.  

If you have pre-settled status you can live and work in the UK for up to a further five years to reach the five-year continuous residence threshold. Once you have reached the threshold, you will be able to apply to change to settled status. Save for some limited exemptions, if you spend a total of six months in any 12-month period outside the UK you will lose your permission to remain and will not be able to apply for settled status. 

Who can apply 

The EU Settlement Scheme is open to EU citizens and their family members, who may not be EU citizens. “Family members” include: 

• Spouses, civil partners; 

• Durable partners (i.e. partners with whom you have cohabited for two years) 

• Dependent children under the age of 21; 

• Parents, grandparents and great-grandparents; 

• Other “dependent relatives” currently benefitting from EU free movement rules and who hold a document issued under the EEA Regulations (applied for before 31 December 2020) confirming this; and 

• Family members who retain rights after the end of a relationship, such as divorce or death of an EU citizen family member. 

Applications should be made using a smartphone / tablet app called “EU Exit: Document ID Check". 


If you apply under the EU Settlement Scheme, you must also be deemed “suitable”. Generally, this will be a low bar for applicants to clear, because for the Home Office to exclude you from the UK, it must be satisfied that you are a threat to public policy, public security or public health.  

If you have any criminal convictions, it is important to declare them during the application process. If you do not, this will be a misrepresentation which may cause your application (and any future applications) to be rejected. 

It is advisable to contact Chris Brazier directly to receive the most up to date advice. If you’re an employer, Chris can also visit your premises to brief EU national employees directly on the latest criteria for achieving settled status. 

Please note that this article is accurate at the time of publishing.

For more information, call 01753 279029 or email

Chris Brazier

Chris Brazier

Tel: 01753 279029 | 07891 990980

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