Because of Brexit, the status of EU citizens in the UK has changed. Those who were already living in the UK by 31 December 2020, when free movement ended, had to make an application under the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS) by 30 June 2021 to obtain permission to continue living in the UK. For those EU citizens arriving in the UK after 1 January 2021, new immigration rules apply.
There is a lot of misinformation about EUSS applications submitted after the 30 June 2021 deadline. Some people are eligible to make an EUSS application after this date. Others may have needed to make an EUSS application by 30 June 2021 but have good reasons for making a late application after this date - if you should have applied under the EUSS by this date but did not do so, you should apply as soon as possible in order to protect your rights in the UK.
You should be mindful of the risk of being tricked into making and even paying for applications under the EUSS that have no prospect of success. You should only get legal advice from qualified immigration advisers.
This guide explains who is still eligible to make an EUSS application after 30 June 2021, your right to work with a pending EUSS application, and how to protect yourself against fraudulent applications and the risks that come with them. Updated 14 August 2023.
The deadline for most applications to the EUSS was 30 June 2021. However, the Home Office has made it clear that some applications will continue to be accepted after this date. In summary, there are several main scenarios where you can, and indeed should, apply.
You are an EU citizen, or the family member of an EU citizen, and were living in the UK on or before 31 December 2020, and had reasonable grounds to apply late after the deadline of 30 June 2021.
Eligible family members of an EU citizen can be of any nationality, and include:
Reasonable grounds for a late application might include situations where you:
This is not an exhaustive list of reasonable grounds for applying late. If you were living in the UK before 31 December 2020, were eligible to apply to the EUSS and have not done so yet, get advice from a qualified immigration adviser as soon as possible.
You are the eligible family member of an EU citizen, and were not living in the UK by 31 December 2020. Eligible joining family members can be of any nationality, and include:
Note on family relationships
It's important to understand how the Home Office views eligible family relationships under the EUSS. Family relationships between the EU citizen and their family member, with the exception of children, generally need to have begun on or before 31 December 2020. "Durable" partners usually refers to unmarried partners who have lived together for at least two years by 31 December 2020, although the Home Office may accept other significant evidence of the relationship where a couple has not lived together for this period of time. To apply as a "dependent" family member of an EU citizen you'll generally need to show that you cannot meet your essential living needs without the support of the EU citizen or the EU citizen's spouse or civil partner. In other words, simply having some family in the UK won't be enough. Extended family members such as siblings, cousins, aunts and uncles were only able to apply to the EUSS if they had applied for an EEA Family Permit or residence card before 31 December 2020
Applications based on dependent or durable family relationships can be complex, and you should obtain legal advice from a qualified immigration adviser where you are seeking to make such an application. If you have questions about your family eligibility, you can get support from our team, or find another qualified adviser here.
You currently have pre-settled status but you are now eligible for settled status.
You should apply for settled status before your pre-settled status expires. Please note that when you apply for settled status you should start a completely new application, rather than adding residence evidence to your pre-settled status, as recorded in your UKVI account.
In July 2023, the Home Office announced a series of changes to the EUSS, after the High Court found that the EUSS breached the Withdrawal Agreement between the UK and EU, as it failed to protect pre-settled status holders from becoming unlawfully resident if they did not apply for settled status before their pre-settled status expired. The Home Office has said that from September 2023, those with pre-settled status will have their status automatically extended by two years if they have not yet applied for settled status before the expiry of their pre-settled status. As of 2024, the Home Office also intends to automatically convert as many pre-settled status holders as possible to settled status, once they meet the eligibility requirements for it, and without the need for them to submit an application.
In spite of the above changes, we still advise you to apply for settled status as soon as you become eligible to do so, in order to secure your rights in the UK. For further information on the announced changes by the Home Office, please refer to this document produced by the3million.
If you've been living in the UK on or before 31 December 2020
If you are an EU citizen or a family member of one, and have been living in the UK on or before 31 December 2020, and you missed the 30 June deadline, seek help from a qualified immigration adviser. You can get support from our team, or find another qualified adviser here.
Remember: You do not need to apply if you have indefinite leave to remain or enter, if you are a naturalised British citizen, or if you are an Irish citizen. Please note that if you were previously granted permanent residence, you must still apply for a status under the EUSS.
How should I apply, if I am the family member of an EU citizen who has a status under the EUSS and I am outside the UK?
If you're a citizen with an EU/EEA/Swiss passport or national identity card with a biometric chip, or a citizen from another country with a valid UK-issued biometric residence card, you can apply directly to the EUSS. Otherwise, you will need to apply for an EUSS family permit to join your EU family member in the UK. If you are already in the UK and meet the relevant eligibility requirements, you may be able to apply as a joining family member under the EUSS, but must normally do so within 3 months of the date you arrived in the UK. If you need help you can get support from our team, or find another qualified immigration adviser here.
Should I pay someone to apply to the EUSS for me?
You do not have to pay a fee to make an application under the EUSS. It is not advisable to get anyone other than a qualified immigration adviser to assist you with your application, and nobody other than a qualified adviser should charge you money to assist with an application (in fact, several organisations, including ours and other charitable organisations, can do this for free). Bad advice can be costly. Even friends with the best of intentions can make mistakes that cause applications to be delayed or refused. If you need help you can get support from our team, or find another qualified immigration adviser here.
If you applied to the EUSS from outside of the UK, although a Certificate of Application issued to you will say you have the right to work in the UK, this should not be understood as you having the right to enter the UK before a decision is made on your application. You should therefore seek advice from a qualified immigration adviser on your rights to travel to and work in the UK while waiting for a decision on your application.
This depends on whether or not you made a valid application under the EUSS.
A valid EUSS application refers to the following:
If you have made a valid application under the EUSS, the Home Office should issue you with a Certificate of Application (which usually is digital, but on some occasions comes in paper form). This document does not confirm that you have an immigration status in the UK. However, it does confirm that you can live and work in the UK until you receive a decision on your EUSS application.
How you prove your right to work may depend on the format of your Certificate of Application. Digital certificates will enable you to give your employer a share code. Your employer may be able to view your right to work by then inputting this code into the online right to work check service.
In some circumstances, your employer may need to check your right to work through another platform called the Employer Checking Service (ECS) - this may occur where you don't have a digital Certificate of Application or if, having made an EUSS application after 30 June 2021, the online right to work check service directs your employer to the ECS. Home Office guidance for employers clearly states that employers should offer current and prospective employees every opportunity to prove their immigration status.
We have created a step-by-step video for employers on how to conduct right to work checks. If you are having issues with an employer, or have been refused employment on the basis of you having a Certificate of Application, please get in touch with us for support.
There is a similar checking system for landlords in England who you wish to rent from.
If you made an application to the EUSS which does not meet the eligibility criteria, your application is likely to be refused by the Home Office. Without a valid immigration status you will not have permission to live and work in the UK, you will be at risk of labour exploitation, and you risk being removed from the country. If you are in this situation, you should immediately seek legal advice from a qualified immigration adviser.
If you think the refusal was a mistake, get immigration advice immediately. A qualified immigration adviser can help you appeal or seek an administrative review of the Home Office decision, and protect your rights while the decision is being challenged. If your EUSS application is refused and you do not appeal or seek an administrative review of this decision within the prescribed timeframes, you will no longer have permission to live or work in the UK.
If you know that your application didn't have merit, you will be vulnerable to the UK's hostile environment policies, designed to make life as difficult as possible for people without a secure immigration status. If you are in this situation, we recommend you immediately seek advice from a qualified immigration adviser.
After Brexit, EU citizens who wish to come to work in the UK require a visa, like everyone else. In most cases, you will have to be abroad to apply for a visa, and wait for a positive decision until you can come to the UK to work - there may likely be no simple way of regularising your status from inside the UK.
Remember. It is illegal to knowingly live and work in the UK without permission. Not having a lawful immigration status in the UK can put you at a higher risk of labour exploitation. If an employer knows your EUSS application was refused, and that you did not meet the eligibility requirements, they may use this as leverage and evade paying you. Unless you made a valid and well-founded application under the EUSS, there might be little protection against this kind of behaviour.
If false information, representations or documents were submitted as part of your application, by yourself or another person, this may have an impact on any future UK immigration applications you make as well as future attempts to travel to the UK. For example, if your application stated that you are an EU citizen who resided in the UK on or before 31 December 2020, when in fact you did not, that can carry very serious consequences.
If your EUSS application has not been decided yet and contains false information, representations or documents, you should immediately seek legal advice.
If you made an application to the EUSS which met the eligibility criteria, but submitted it after the deadline that applied to you and the Home Office considers there were no reasonable grounds for the delay in submission, your application may be considered invalid and rejected.
If you think the rejection of your application was a mistake, and that you had reasonable grounds for making a late application, get advice immediately. You would not have a right of appeal or administrative review against a rejected application, and should speak to a qualified immigration adviser on your options.
I used to live in the UK. Can I get status under the EUSS?
This depends. If you have already completed a five-year period of continuous residence in the UK, and have not since been outside of the UK for more than five years, you may be eligible to apply for settled status.
If you have not already completed a five-year period of continuous residence in the UK, but lived in the UK on or before 31 December 2020 and have not since left the UK for more than six months in any twelve-month period, you may qualify for a status under the EUSS. If, however, it's been more than six months since you last lived in the UK, or if you've been away from the UK for more than six months in any twelve-month period during your residence in the UK, you might not be able to get a status under the EUSS. There are exceptions to this, where you have been outside of the UK for a single period of up to 12 months due to an important reason, as well as absences resulting from coronavirus.
You should obtain advice from a qualified immigration adviser where you are seeking to make an application under the EUSS and have had lengthy absences outside of the UK or previously resided in the UK.
Remember: Having a UK bank account, NINO, or old payslips is not enough to make you eligible if you were not physically resident in the UK. What matters is your continuity of residence.
What is a retained right to reside in the UK?
You may be able to apply to remain or come to the UK if you previously had the right to reside in the UK through an eligible family member, even if that relationship has since broken down or the family member in question has left the UK or died. In this situation, you may have 'retained the right of residence'. You can read more about the eligibility criteria for applying for a retained right of residence here.
Are there other applications that can be made under the EUSS?
People such as primary carers of EEA national children in the UK, who could have claimed a 'derivative right of residence' in the UK under EU law, as well as family members of people from Northern Ireland, might also be eligible to apply under the EUSS.
It is strongly recommended that you seek legal advice before making an application under one of these routes, as they are complex in nature and must satisfy specific sets of criteria which differ from the other EUSS applications listed above.
If you are unsure what application route under the EUSS is the most appropriate one for your circumstances, we strongly advise you to obtain advice from a qualified immigration adviser.