Brexit FAQs

Because of Brexit, all EU nationals have to prove their right to live and work in the UK. Most of those who arrived before January 2021 had to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme by 30 June 2021. Everyone arriving from January 2021 for the first time will need to comply with the new immigration system.

Read this guide to understand the EUSS, your rights, and how to prove them. If you need help with your application, get in touch with our team.

Contents

Applying for the EUSS (updated 02 July 2021)

Who is the EUSS for?

The EU Settlement Scheme was designed for EU/EEA/Swiss citizens (and their family members) who came to the UK before January 2021 and wish to continue living here. Depending on the length of your stay in the UK, EUSS will grant you one of two statuses.

  • If you can prove five years of continuous residence, you will receive settled status.
  • If your time in the UK was shorter than five years, you will likely receive pre-settled status

How do I apply?

The deadline was 30 June 2021 but the Home Office is clear that some late applications will be accepted. According to its Guidance to caseworkers, reasonable grounds for failing to meet the deadline may include illness, vulnerability, digital illiteracy, or a history of abuse (p26-p40). In fact, in an update from 01 July the Home Office noted that it "will take a flexible and pragmatic approach to accepting late applications and will look for reasons to grant applications, not to refuse them". We just don't know when this flexibility will end. So please apply as soon as possible.

The easiest way to apply is online - though can obtain a paper form in special circumstances (such as not having a valid passport or ID Card, see below). The application will ask for information about your identity, residence in the UK, criminal record, and - if you are not an EU/EEA/Swiss citizen - your relationship to one. If you've missed the deadline, include a short cover letter outlining the reasons for your delay. For the identity-checking section of the application, you can use the EU Exit: ID document check app, which is available on Android and iPhone and allows you to scan either a biometric passport or national identity card. 

Check your email regularly - including your spam and junk folders. The Home Office may contact you to request further evidence, to provide you with a Certificate of Application, or to notify you of the outcome of your application.

What should I do if my ID has expired? (updated 05 July 2021)

Apply anyway. You can do so by requesting a paper application from the EU Settlement Resolution Centre (0300 123 7379). You will need to send your application by post, and include a cover letter to explain why you couldn't renew your ID, and demonstrate that you have attempted to do so. This could be a letter, email or a screenshot from your consulate, showing that you were unable to book an appointment to renew your ID in time. 

Paper applications could once be downloaded online and submitted via email. As of 23:59 on 05 July, this is no longer the case

Your rights under the EUSS


What are my rights with the EUSS?

If you applied for the EUSS before the 30 June deadline, you have a right to enter, work, live, study, and claim benefits in the UK (though this is a little more complicated if you have pre-settled status). If you only have pre-settled status and want to apply for means-tested benefits (such as Universal Credit, Tax Credits, or Housing Benefit), you will also have to pass the Right to Reside test. This usually requires you to be in work, to have a history of work, or to be the family of a worker. You won’t need to pass a Right to Reside test if you apply for non means-tested benefits (such as Child Benefit).

I have not received a decision on my EUSS application. Do I still have rights?

Yes you do, as long as you applied before the deadline. In June 2020, there were as many as 400,000 people waiting on a decision. They all have the right to enter, work, rent, and claim benefits. The only thing that is different is the process for proving these rights (see below). Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise, and get in touch with our team if this happens.

I have missed the deadline, do I have any rights?

If you haven’t yet applied, get appropriate immigration advice and make an application as early as possible (see our late applications section). Your current employer or landlord may not check your status. But new employers and landlords most likely will. Without status, they will not be able to enter a lawful agreement with you.

Proving your pre/settled status (updated 30 June 2021)

 

How do I prove my rights under the EUSS?

This depends. If you have already obtained pre/settled status, the whole process happens online. Go to the government page to log in to your EUSS application. You will need your date of birth, and details of the ID document and phone number / email address you used when you made your application. You will be able to issue a share code with a limited 30 day validity. With this share code and your date of birth, an employer, landlord, or education provider can check your right to live and work in the UK. Learn more from the video. 

 

I can't log in to my application. What should I do?

You may have trouble logging in if you lost your ID, the phone number, or email address you used when you first made your application, or when the details you provide don't match the details the Home Office holds for your application. The only way of proving your identity and re-setting your login details is to call the EU Settlement Resolution Centre at 0300 123 7379. Opening hours can be found here.

My application is pending. How do I show employers and landlords that I can work and live in the UK?

Your employer can check your right to work by accessing the Government’s Employer Checking Service, using the details in your Certificate of Application (COA). The same applies to landlords, who can use the Landlord Checking Service. You should have received your COA  a few days after you applied. If not, call the EU Settlement Resolution Centre, and ask your employer to be patient. The Home Office is processing a huge backlog of applications. 

Remember: There is no requirement for employers and landlords to carry out a retrospective check on EEA nationals who entered into a work or rental agreement before 30 June 2021. Being singled out on the basis of your nationality and subjected to unfair treatment constitutes a form of discrimination. Remind your employer or landlord that, as per the Equalities Act 2010, discrimination on the basis of nationality is unlawful, and carries serious consequences.

 

I missed the deadline and did not apply for EUSS. Can I still prove my right to work and rent?

If you’re looking for new employment but haven’t applied to the EUSS, you will not be able to pass the right to work check, and your employer will not be able to hire you. You can learn more on p 45 of the Home Office Guidance to Employers. Your only option will be to obtain appropriate advice, regularise your status, and look for work again once you have the right to work.

If you are looking to rent somewhere new but have not made an application to the EUSS by the 30 June 2021 deadline, you won’t have the right to do so unless you have another form of UK immigration leave.  It is imperative that you apply to the EUSS, even if it is a late application.

EUSS and absence (updated 12 June 2021)

I have pre-settled status, but have been out of the UK. Is my status affected?

You are allowed to be abroad for up to two years in a row before you lose your pre-settled status. So if you return before your status lapses you still can enjoy the same rights as before (working and accessing the NHS, for example). 

However, if you plan to apply for settled status in the future, you should not accrue an absence of any more than six months, in any 12 months (with the exception of acceptable ‘important reasons’, explained below). This is because to be eligible for settled status, you must have been continuously resident in the UK for a five-year period. 

What is meant by ‘continuous residence’?

A five-year ‘continuous’ period starts when you move to the UK. You can leave the country, but only for up to six months at a time in each 12-month period. These six months can be taken at once, or in several shorter breaks that add up to six months. Absences are not calculated by calendar year, so if you were absent in 2019, for example, and then again in 2020, they will be added up if they happened within the same 12-month period. A new year does not reset the counter!

What are the ‘important reasons’ that can allow me to be abroad, without breaking my five-years’ continuous residence?

The Home Office provides a list of acceptable ‘important reasons’ for longer absences of up to one year. This includes things like studying overseas, being pregnant, ill, or unable to return due to travel restrictions. On 10th June, the Home Office confirmed that Covid-19 related absences also count as an ‘important’ reason.  According to this revised guidance, your ‘continuity of residence’ won't be broken if you were: 

  • Self-isolating or shielding in accordance with local public health guidance.
  • Caring for family members with Covid. 
  • Prevented from returning to the UK in time due to travel disruption.
  • Advised by your university that your course was moved to remote learning because of Covid.
  • Advised by your university or employer not to return to the UK, and to continue studying or working remotely from your home country.
  • Absent from the UK for another reason relating to coronavirus (e.g. you left or remained outside the UK because there were fewer coronavirus restrictions elsewhere).

What if I already had a long absence for an important reason but I needed another because of Covid?

You may still qualify for Settled Status if you can prove that one of these absences was because of Covid. Up to six months of your second absence will count towards your continuous qualifying period, but it will then be paused until you return to the UK, at which point it will resume.  

I’m worried I have broken my five-year continuous residence. What should I do?

Be as prepared as you can. Keep good records to show why you had to travel or why you couldn’t return sooner. For example: emails from your university, work, family or doctors that show why you had to travel, and any medical records or emails from airline companies to demonstrate why you couldn't return. Then seek advice from an OISC accredited adviser. The Home Office makes it clear that applications for settled status are reviewed on a case-by-case basis. It is important to get the right advice for your case. See this list of evidence you can provide to prove a Covid-related absence.

Bringing a family member to the UK

 

Can I bring my family members to the UK by using my EUSS status? 

Yes, you can. If you got your own status under EUSS, close family members (a spouse, child, or dependent family member) can join you in the UK. But they must apply before they travel to the UK.

If your family members are from the EU/EEA/Switzerland, they must apply to the EUSS as joining family members. The application is made online. They will only need their biometric passport/ID and evidence to prove their relationship and, if needed, dependency to you. 

If your family members are non-EU nationals, they must apply for the EU Settlement Scheme Family Permit first. They’ll need a valid passport and documents proving the relationship (e.g. a marriage certificate or birth certificate)The family permit will give them leave to enter the UK, as well as work and study for six months. Once they’re in the UK, they have three months or until the expiry of the family permit (whichever is earlier) to apply to the EUSS. They will also need to sign up for a biometrics appointment via the Home Office’s partner, UKVCAS, to be issued a Biometric Residence Card (BRC). The BRC will arrive by post within 10 days of receipt of the ‘decision letter’ from the Home Office. If their details change (for example, they changed their address), they can call the EU Settlement Resolution Centre. BRCs are not issued to EEA nationals. 

What is the deadline for joining family members?

There is no deadline. However, for applications made after 30 June 2021, parents and grandparents will need to show evidence of financial, medical or other dependency. You must also show that the relationship between applicant and sponsor started no later than 31 December 2020.

What about a long-term partner I’m not married to? Can they come to the UK?

Yes, usually if you have lived together for at least two years before 31 December 2020 and they hold a document issued by the relevant authority confirming this relationship exists in EU law (such as a residence card). If you don’t have these documents, you will need to prove that you were in this relationship on or before 31st December 2020 and that your relationship is ongoing. Evidence includes: joint bank statements, utility bills, or a tenancy agreement in joint names. There are other serious grounds that could be considered even if you have not lived together for two years. For example, if you had a child together on or before 31st December 2020 and can evidence this with a birth certificate or custody agreement.

EUSS for Children

 

Do children have to apply?

Yes. Unless children have British citizenship, they will need settled or pre-settled status to join you or to continue living in the UK. Children are considered to be any child of an EU/EEA/Swiss citizen under the age of 21. Older children of age 21 and over can also apply, if they can prove that they are financially or medically dependent on their parent/s, and on staying with them in the UK.  

How can I get EUSS for my child?

Children can apply individually. Or, as a parent or guardian, you can link their application to yours. You don’t need to wait for a decision from the Home Office. You just need your Unique Application Number and an email address. You will also need proof of your relationship to the child via a birth certificate and, if you have pre-settled status, proof of your child’s residence in the UK. This could be a letter from their school or GP. 

With a linked application, your child will receive the same status as yourself, regardless of the child’s length or residence in the UK. 

What if my child doesn't have an ID?

Apply anyway. You can do so via a paper application (available for download online). You will just need to include a cover letter to explain why the child does not have an ID, and demonstrate that you have attempted to obtain one. This could be a letter, email or a screenshot from your consulate, showing that you were unable to book an appointment.

How do I bring my children to the UK from abroad?

There are two different Home Office application routes for children joining you in the UK. 

For children joining under the family members route, you should apply for pre-settled status for them. The second option is for the child to apply for an EU Settlement Scheme Family Permit while they are still abroad, then make the EUSS application once they are in the UK. Children who enter with a family permit will have three months to apply for the EUSS (if they arrive after 1 April 2021). 

Please note that it isn’t possible to apply for pre-settled status in the UK while holding visitor status. If you have EEA nationality, we would encourage you to apply for pre-settled status for your child, as this is a less complicated process. 

Are my children British citizens?

Being born in the UK does not automatically make a child a British citizen. Children acquire British citizenship in a more limited set of circumstances, depending on their parents' status. In summary, the children of EU/EEA/Swiss citizens may be British if at least one parent held British citizenship, or was settled in the UK at the time of their birth. If you are pregnant and have settled status, your child will automatically receive British citizenship. 

If you aren’t sure, check and get advice from an OISC-accredited adviser. 

 

Arriving in the UK from January 2021

 

I have never been to the UK before/I have been briefly a few years back but I do not have EUSS status. Can I come to the UK and work now? 

Free movement with the European Union (EU) ended on 31 December 2020 and there are now new arrangements for EU citizens who have not been to the UK before (or visited briefly in the past, but did not obtain EUSS status). 

If you just wish to visit from 1st Jan 2021 you can do so for up to 90 days without a visa as a tourist/visitor, but you will not have the right to work. 

If you are looking to come to the UK to work and live, you need to apply under the new immigration system. Employers will need a sponsor licence to employ someone from outside the UK. This includes citizens of the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland who arrived in the UK after 31 December 2020. Always clarify with a potential employer how they will sponsor you as a worker. 

If you previously lived in the UK for five years and have not been absent for more than five years in a row you can claim settled status under ‘historic residence’. 

For more information: https://www.gov.uk/uk-visa-sponsorship-employers

Get help with your EUSS application

What should I do if I have been refused status?

The most frequent reason for refusal is eligibility, which includes things like not submitting enough evidence of your time in the UK. If that is your case, you can:

  1. Apply again - if you receive the wrong outcome before 30 June 2021, you can re-apply. Try to provide as much evidence as possible, where it is required. 
  2. Request an administrative review - you can ask the Home Office to administratively review their decision. 
  3. Appeal the decision - if your application was made after 11pm on 31 January 2020, you can make an appeal to the Immigration Tribunal. 

We recommend that you find an immigration adviser to support you with complex cases and to help you decide which option is the best choice for you.

Where can I get help?

You can find a list of all Home Office accredited immigration advisers, including our team, online. It's important to understand if your application is ‘simple’, or ‘complex’, and to get a suitably qualified adviser. If your application is simple, any adviser who holds OISC Level 1 should be qualified to help. For complex cases, speak to an adviser with OISC Level 2 or above.

What is a simple application?

An application is considered simple and within the remit of OISC Level 1 advisers, if it is for an EEA national, or anyone with a permanent residence document or Indefinite Leave to Remain. Read the guidance here.

What is a complex case?

An application will require an adviser qualified above Level 1 if it refers to someone who entered illegally, who overstayed a visa, where durable partners and other ‘dependent relatives’ do not have the necessary documentation, where you are unable to prove required documentation (for example, you don’t have a valid identity and nationality document), or where a non-EEA applicant does not have evidence relating to their EEA family member. Read the guidance here.

For complex cases, you can contact our friends at Settled, as well as immigration solicitors at Seraphus and Here for Good

What EUSS cases can the Work Rights Centre help with?

We can help with applications for settled or pre-settled status under the EUSS scheme when there are no ‘complex’ issues; where you meet the qualifying criteria, have supporting evidence and no criminal history. We are also able to advise on family permits and applications via the ‘joining family members’ route where the relationship between applicant and sponsor is a direct one (i.e. a child under 21, a dependent parent or a spouse). In some situations, we may refer you to an adviser with a higher OISC accreditation.