UCL News


The Brexit transition period ends on 31 December 2020: Immigration advice and reminder

26 November 2020

The Brexit transition period ends on 31 December 2020. EEA staff wishing to apply for pre-settled or settled status; and overseas staff wishing to apply for settlement (indefinite leave to remain) or citizenship should act now.

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The Brexit transition period, during which EU rules and regulations still apply, ends on 31 December 2020.

The information below is a reminder for EEA/Swiss and overseas staff on what they need to do in advance of the transition period ending, and is a notification for all staff involved in recruitment on the new immigration laws coming in on 1 January 2021.

Applying for Pre-Settled and Settled Status for EEA and Swiss nationals

If you and/or your dependents are an EEA or Swiss national and you do not yet have pre-settled or settled status to live in the UK, you will need to do so before 30 June 2021, provided you started living in the UK by 31 December 2020. It is highly recommended that you do so as soon as possible to ensure that your application is processed in good time, as it is taking longer than usual to process applications because of COVID-19.

For information on the Settlement Scheme and how to apply please see here.

Permanent residence documents will no longer be valid after 31 December 2020 so if you have one of these, you still need to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme in order to continue working in the UK. There is no fee if you apply to convert your residence status through the Settlement Scheme.

The UK Government has also published guidance to settled status EU citizens and their families in a range of European languages.

There is also guidance for retirees and for those with a permanent incapacity.

Applying for Pre-settled or Settled Status for EEA and Swiss nationals if you are currently working remotely outside of the UK

If you have been working outside of the UK during the COVID-19 pandemic, you can still apply under the EU Settlement Scheme, provided that you have not been outside the UK for more than 180 days in the last twelve months. You may wish to consider returning to the UK if you have been working abroad for nearly 180 days.

Applying for settlement or “Indefinite Leave to Remain” for non-EEA nationals

You can usually apply for settlement after you've lived in the UK for 5 years. However, you will need to have been in the UK for at least 180 days in any rolling twelve month period, for five continuous years. If you are currently working remotely outside of the UK and you are planning on applying for settlement, you may wish to consider returning to the UK if you have been abroad for nearly 180 days. Certain absences of more than 180 days in a 12 month period, such as where a Tier 2 (General) applicant is sponsored to work in a PhD level occupation and their absence is linked to research purposes, may be permitted.

Applying for citizenship

Provided you meet the relevant eligibility criteria, you may choose to apply for British citizenship.

Immigration loan

UCL offers an interest free immigration loan of up to £10,000, if you are an eligible employee, to obtain immigration law advice and to make certain immigration applications for you and your immediate dependants.

Change to immigration rules from 1 January 2021

A new points-based system governing immigration to the UK comes into force from 1 January 2021. We have provided an abridged briefing on this on our immigration page. This briefing gives staff and recruiting managers an overview of the new immigration system, however the government have not yet released detailed information for employers on how to sponsor a successful applicant, nor details for successful applicants on applying for a visa.  We will update staff and applicants when more details are made available. For full details on the new immigration system please see the government website

Please contact the Employment Policy Team if you and your colleagues would like a briefing about the new immigration system.