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EU Settlement Scheme

The UK Government’s EU Settlement Scheme allows EU citizens to continue to study, work and live in the UK post-Brexit. 

The UK has now formally left the EU. This could mean that you need a visa to continue to study at UCL. To help you understand your immigration status, please read this information carefully.

‘Free movement’ continues until 11pm on 31 December 2020: this means that until that date, EU/EEA/Swiss citizens can enter the UK without needing a visa. As an EU/EEA/Swiss citizen, if you are already living in the UK or arrive in the UK by 11pm 31 December 2020, you will be eligible to apply for the EU Settlement Scheme. As long as you arrive in the UK by 31 December 2020 the deadline to apply for the EU Settlement Scheme to remain resident in the UK is 30 June 2021.

As an EU national, most people will be able to complete their application, including identity verification, using a smartphone app. Some applicants may need to attend a Visa Application Centre, if they are unable to access the app, or if they do not have a biometric passport. More details on the application process are available on GOV.UK

From 1 January 2021, the UK will have a new immigration system and any EU/EEA/Swiss citizen not eligible for the EU Settlement Scheme will require a visa to enter after 1 January 2021. As a student, this means that to enter the UK on or after 1 January 2021, you must apply for a Student visa. To apply for a Student visa, you must meet specific requirements, complete an application form, pay an application fee and pay for the Immigration Health Surcharge.  You will also need a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) which you can request from us.  

Find out more

For further information about the EU Settlement Scheme and Student visas, the UCL Student Immigration Advice Team will be running weekly online drop-ins for EU/EEA/Swiss UCL applicants and students where you will be able to hear more from the team and have your questions answered. If you’d like additional information about how the changes may affect your access to health care in the UK, please check the International Student Support website.  If you have any specific questions about your situation, please contact the team on askUCL.  

Read UKVI's "UK's points-based immigration system: An introduction for EU students" guide

Click here for the latest information on getting ready for Brexit.

Immigration advice and support

Please contact the Student Immigration Advice Team for further information about how to apply for the EU Settlement Scheme on askUCL. You can also make an appointment to scan your ID document at a number of service locations across the UK.  Please follow this link and enter your post code to find your nearest location


The EU Settlement Scheme was fully rolled out on 30 March 2019. 

You will be eligible to apply for the scheme if you are either

  • an EU national with a valid passport or (not identity card)
  • a citizen of Norway, Lichtenstein, Iceland (no-EU EEA citizens)
  • a Swiss citizen 
  • an eligible family member of the above

and are resident in the UK or arrive by 31 December 2020. The scheme is now available to the family members of British citizens who are currently in the UK under EU law provisions. EU family members are also able to apply for the EU Settlement Scheme.

On this page you will find more information about:


What is the EU Settlement Scheme?

The EU Settlement Scheme allows you to apply for either settled or pre-settled status.

Settled status:

You will be eligible to apply to stay in the UK indefinitely (known as settled status) if by 31 December 2020, you have been continually living in the UK for 5 years. If you have had absences from the UK during the 5 year period of up to 6 months, or one period of up to 12 months in specific circumstances including serious illness or study, you can still apply for the scheme.

Pre-settled status:

You will be eligible to apply for limited leave to remain in the UK (known as pre-settled status) if you arrive by 31 December 2020, but have not yet have been continuously living in the UK for 5 years. This enables you to stay until you have reached the 5-year threshold, after which time you will be eligible to apply for settled status.


How do I apply?

You can submit your application for settled or pre-settled status online. 

If you make a mistake on your EU settlement application or further information is required, the Home Office will contact you before making a decision on your application, so you can correct the error or provide further information.

If your application is successful, you will not receive a physical document unless you are a non-EEA family member and do not already have a biometric residence card. Instead, you’ll be able to get proof of your status through an online service. 

As part of the application you will be required to evidence the following:  

  • Your identity and nationality

You will be asked to upload a passport or valid national identity card digitally using an app on an Android phone or tablet with OS 6.0 or above (you can use someone else's phone to do this). Please note that this process will only work if your document has a biometric chip, if you do not, you will be able to send your documents by post instead.

You can also make an appointment to scan your ID document at a number of service locations across the UK.  Please follow this link and enter your post code to find your nearest location.

  • Your residence in the UK  

If you are applying for settled status, you will need to show that you have been living in the UK for 5 continuous years. If you have a National Insurance number and worked in the UK, your application will automatically link to HMRC UK tax records to establish the duration of your residency. Please see the UK Home Office website for other types of acceptable evidence of residency.

If you are applying for pre-settled status, you can upload your student status letter to show that you are currently living in the UK.

  • Your photograph

As part of the online application, you will be asked to upload a recent digital photo of your face.

  • Criminal convictions

If applicable, you will be asked to provide any information about criminal convictions and these will be checked against UK crime databases.


FAQs

Eligibility

 

Does the EU Settlement Scheme apply to citizens of Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Switzerland?

Yes, the scheme is also open to resident citizens of the other European Economic Area (EEA) countries (Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway) and of Switzerland, and their family members.

My passport expires in less than 6 months, can I still apply for the EU Settlement Scheme?

Yes, your passport only needs to be valid at the time of application. ‘Valid’ here means that the document is genuine and has not expired or been cancelled or invalidated.

Should I apply for the EU Settlement Scheme even if I do not plan on staying in the UK after the transition period?

We encourage you to apply under the EU settlement scheme to avoid any problems. The application is free and is quite straightforward and a quick process. 

If I will have been living in the UK for 5 years by 31 December 2020, can I apply for settled status now?

You cannot apply for settled status based on a future date. You must have completed 5 years of residency in the UK at the time of application in order to be eligible for settled status, otherwise you will only be eligible for pre-settled status. We would recommend you apply now for pre-settled status and when you have reached the 5 years make a further application for settled status.

Does research carried out abroad for more than 6 months as a postgraduate at UCL qualify as an exception for the continuous residence requirement?

Yes, research carried out abroad for more than 6 months but no more than 12 months would qualify as an exception to the continuous residence requirement. You will need to obtain a letter from your institution confirming the period of time spent abroad for research purposes.

If I already have a permanent residence document (and have already provided proof of 5 years residency) do I need to apply for settled status?

Yes, you will still need to apply for settled status.

As an EU citizen, should I apply first before my non-EU spouse applies?

The main EU family member should apply first and then the non-EEA family member.

My spouse is British and I have been studying in the UK for over 5 years. Do I have any advantage in the application process?

No, you will still need to apply for settled or pre-settled status.

How does Brexit affect EU distance learning students?

Following the UK's exit from the EU,  EU EEA or Swiss nationals will able to live, work and study in the UK as they do now until 31 December 2020.  If you are intending to frequently travel to and from the UK to attend supervisory meetings or courses, we strongly encourage you to apply for the EU Settlement Scheme.  The application is free and is designed to be user-friendly. 

If you would like to study in the UK beyond 31 December 2020, you will need to have immigration permission, either through the EU Settlement Scheme or through a Student visa.  Please note 31 December 2020 is the date the Withdrawal Agreement names as the end of any 'transitional' phase, but this date may be extended. 

Those who arrive in the UK from 1 January 2021 will be expected to apply for the Student visa in order to study in the UK. 

Can I renew my Pre-Settled Status if I am not eligible for Settled Status in year 5?

It will not be possible to renew or extend your pre-settled status if you have remained outside the UK for more than 6 months (or 12 months due to Covid, study abroad or other medical reasons) after 31st Dec 2020. You will need to apply to enter or remain in the UK under the relevant UK Immigration laws once your pre-settled status expires.

Immigration status

 

I’m planning on joining UCL in September 2020.  What should I do about my immigration status?

If you are an EU/EEA national who will be joining UCL in September 2020, you will not need a visa to enter the UK.  However once you arrive, you will need to apply for the EU Settlement Scheme.  Please read the section on applying for the EU Settlement Scheme. You must be resident in the UK by 31 December 2020 to be eligible and must apply by 30 June 2021 to remain living here.

If I apply for the EU Settlement Scheme, will I lose my status in my home country?

No, you will not lose any other residency status that you have for another country.

Do I need to apply if I am married to a British citizen?

In this situation you will still need to make an application to regularise your status in the UK post-Brexit, but you will have a choice to make an application under the EU Settlement Scheme or under the UK Immigration rules. We advise that you contact the UCL Student Immigration Advice Team to discuss the requirements and benefits of each route. You can get in touch with the Advice Team through their contact form.

I hold an Irish (Republic of) passport. I saw online that Irish citizens do not have to apply for settled status. Is this correct?

The Common Travel Area (CTA) is a long-standing arrangement between the UK, the Crown Dependencies and Ireland. The CTA established cooperation between respective immigration authorities enabling British and Irish citizens to move freely between, and reside in, these islands. British and Irish citizens enjoy additional rights in Ireland and the UK. These include the right to work, study and vote in certain elections, as well as to access social welfare benefits and health services.

If you are a British citizen or an Irish citizen you do not need to take any action to protect your status and rights associated with the CTA. After the UK leaves the EU, you will continue to enjoy these rights, no matter what the terms of the UK’s exit. Both the UK and Irish governments have committed to taking all necessary measures to ensure that the agreed CTA rights and privileges are protected in all outcomes.

Travel

Can I leave the UK and return before December 2020 if I haven't applied for settled status?

We encourage you to apply under the EU settlement scheme to avoid any problems. The application is free and it is quite a straightforward and quick process.

I plan to leave the UK for a short break and return to the UK after Brexit, what should I do?

We encourage you to apply under the EU settlement scheme to avoid any problems. The application is free and it is quite a straightforward and quick process.

We do advise that if you are planning on leaving the UK before 31 December 2020 and returning after this date then you should apply under the EU settlement scheme.

If you are travelling in the coming months and have not yet applied for pre-settled/settled status, we recommend that you carry in your hand luggage a copy of your Statement of Student Status. This can be obtained from the Student Enquiries Centre or you can easily print and save a copy from your Portico. More information on obtaining a Statement of Student Status can be found here.

If I am granted pre-settled status, can I come and go to and from the UK?

Yes. However, you must not remain outside the UK for more than 2 continuous years otherwise you will lose your pre-settled status (abscences over 6/12 montsh may also effect your application for Settled Status). For those granted settled status, you must not remain outside the UK for more than 5 continuous years otherwise you will lose your settled status. This is still subject to parliamentary approval, we will update these pages when we have more updated information.

Application 

When is the final deadline to make an application?

As long as you are living in the UK before 31 December 2020, the deadline to apply for the EU Settlement Scheme is 30 June 2021.

Can I apply for the EU Settlement Scheme from outside the UK?

The government has confirmed that applications under this scheme will be able to be made from outside the UK for those who are normally resident in the UK.

Further Information for applicants to the EU Settlement Scheme who are applying from outside the UK can be found here.

Once I submit an application, how long does it take to get a decision?

You will be emailed a decision on your application within 5 working days.

Should I apply if I haven't yet been in the UK for 6 months?

You can apply under the EU Settlement scheme even if you have been in the UK for less than 6 months, but only if you arrived in the UK prior to 31 December 2020.

Under the list of documents, how many different types of documents should I submit?

‘Preferred evidence’ is that which covers you for a period longer than 6 months, which means one document for each year of residence will be sufficient from this list.

‘Alternative evidence’ is that which covers you for less than 6 months, this means you will need to submit more of them to evidence that you meet the residence requirement.

A list of ‘preferred’ and ‘alternative’ documents can be found at pages 70-73 of this document.

If I have applied and obtained pre-settled status, do I have to apply again for settled status?

Yes, you will need to apply for settled status once you reach the 5 year residency mark.

Do I have to use my own device to apply for the scheme?

You may use the mobile application on any Android or Apple device. All personal information will be deleted from the mobile app once it has been closed, ready for the next person to use.

What kind of device will I need to apply?

The first stage of the application must be made via the ‘EU Exit ID Document check’ application. Your phone/tablet will need:

  • Android 6.0 or above – you can find this in your settings; or 
  • iPhone 7 or above
  • at least 135MB of storage space to install the app;
  • to be connected to 3G/4G or Wi-Fi;
  • NFC – you can find this in your settings.

You can use someone else’s phone to aubmit the application. You can also visit one of the organisations offering to scan your document for you. You’ll need to book an appointment and you may have to pay a fee.

However, you can also begin your application online using a computer and complete the Identity checks via post. You will need to enter your document details, upload a digital photo and then post your document at the end of the application. If you want to apply whilst you are outside the UK, then you cannot use this postal option.

    Do I need Comprehensive Sickness Insurance (CSI) to apply for the EU Settlement Scheme?

    There is no requirement under the scheme to provide evidence that you have or have had Comprehensive Sickness Insurance.

    Do you recommend trying to get a National Insurance number now?

    If you do not already have a National Insurance number then this means you most likely have not worked in the UK. Getting a National Insurance number now will not help with proving your residence in the UK as the UKVI’s automated checks will not be able to cross reference your National Insurance contributions against HMRC records.

    You will still be able to evidence your residence in the UK without a National Insurance number. Please see Annex A of this guidance document for more information on what documents can be used to prove your residence in the UK.

    Can monthly bank statements from neo banks or mobile-only banks (such as Monzo, Revolut, N26) be used as a proof of residency?

    As long as these bank statements show transactions that have taken place in the UK for 6 months in every year then you can use them.

    If I am currently only eligible for pre-settled status, how do I then transition to settled status? Is it automatic, or will I have to apply again?

    Applicants who are granted pre-settled status will need to apply via the same application process for settled status once they have been resident in the UK for 5 years. The 5 years do not have to start from the point of the grant of pre-settled status - it will include all the time you have resided in the UK.

    I’ve lost my UCL Statement of Student Status letter, where can I get a new copy?

    You can download a copy of your UCL Statement of Student Status letter from your Portico account or you can request a copy from the Student Enquiries Centre. More information on obtaining a Statement of Student Status can be found here.

    Is the Student Status letter from all the universities I have attended enough to prove my residence in the UK?

    Yes, but you will also need to provide evidence of course completion in the form of your Degree Certificate or Transcript of Results for the course which you have completed.

    How safe is the phone scanning procedure in terms of identity theft?

    You can read further information on UKVI’s privacy policy here.

    Where do I get a criminal record status from?

    You are not required to provide evidence of this as part of your application if you have no criminal convictions. You will be simply asked to make a declaration confirming your criminal record status as part of your application.

    Erasmus+/Study Abroad

    I have previously studied on a year abroad, how do I prove I have been resident in the UK?

    If you have been away from the UK for less than 6 months you will be able to apply for pre-settled/settled status. If you have been away 6 - 12 months, you will still be able to apply under as long as you can prove that this was due to your study or work year abroad. You should be able to prove this with a Statement of Student Status from both UCL and your host institution. Information on obtaining a UCL Statement of Student Status can be found here.

    If you have been outside the UK for more than 12 months, you will not be eligible to apply for pre settled/settled status. However, you will be able to re-enter the UK for 3 months and during this period, you will then need to apply for ‘European Temporary Leave to Remain’, which will be valid for up to 3 years.

    I am an Erasmus student and I am currently studying abroad, what should I do?

    If you have been away from the UK for less than 6 months you will be able to apply for pre-settled/settled status. If you have been away 6 - 12 months, you will still be able to apply under as long as you can prove that this was due to your study or work year abroad. You should be able to prove this with a Statement of Student Status from both UCL and your host institution. Information on obtaining a UCL Statement of Student Status can be found here.

    As a Swiss person on an exchange until June, do I have to apply for anything like the Settlement Scheme?

    We encourage all those EU/Swiss citizens in the UK before exit day to apply under the new scheme irrespective of the length of their proposed stay in the UK.

    Definitions

    Does 'settled status' mean the same thing as 'permanent residence'?

    ‘Settled status’ is similar to ‘permanent residence’. You can stay in the UK as long as you like if you get settled status. You’ll usually be able to apply for citizenship 12 months after you have obtained settled status.

    What is an 'unmarried partner'?

    You are an unmarried partner if you are in a durable relationship with the relevant EEA citizen and you have been living together in a relationship akin to marriage or civil partnership for 2 years or more, unless there is other significant evidence of the durable relationship, for example, evidence of joint responsibility for a child (a birth certificate or a custody agreement showing they are cohabiting and sharing parental responsibility).


    Further Information

    UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA): Brexit: EU Settlement Scheme

    Home Office: Settled and pre-settled status for EU citizens and their families

    Free Movement blog: How to apply for “settled status” for EU citizens

    British Council: Brexit FAQs for EU students