The EU Settlement Scheme, sometimes abbreviated to EUSS, is the government’s post Brexit scheme for EU citizens and their family members to remain in the UK.
The Scheme is open to all EU and Switzerland citizens who are living in the country by 31 December 2020.
The only requirement is residence in the UK. There is no need for applicants to show they have been working, studying, in self-employment or self-sufficient.
Applicants who have already lived in the UK for a continuous five-year period will be given settled status. This includes applicants who have lived here for a continuous five-year period in the past, provided they have not been outside the UK for five years or more since.
“Continuous” residence means there have been no absences from the UK that exceed a total of six months in any 12-month period
Applicants who have lived in the UK for less than five years, will be given pre-settled status. This allows them to remain in the UK for five years, after which they can apply for settled status if they qualify at that time. During this period they can be absent from the UK for up to two years without losing their pre-settled status. If they do not qualify at the end of the five years, due to prolonged absences, they can apply to renew their pre-settled status.
Settled status gives EEA and Swiss citizens the right to reside in the UK permanently and can only be lost through five years of absence from the UK.
EU and Swiss citizens will not receive a document confirming their status. They will instead be issued with electronic confirmation of their status.
All EU and Swiss nationals who wish to continue living in the UK must apply to the EU Settlement Scheme. The only exceptions are people who have indefinite leave to remain or who have already naturalised as British citizens.
The deadline for making applications under the Scheme was 30 June 2021. However, there is scope for “late” applications if there is a reasonable explanation for why the application was not made in time.
If you are married to a British citizen, you may be able to apply for your own citizenship as soon as you are granted settled status.
If you are not married to a British citizen, then you will have to wait a year after obtaining settled status before you can apply for citizenship.
It is important to make sure you are applying for the right status at the right time. Although the Settlement Scheme is less prescriptive than the previous system for EU nationals, it is still easy to make mistakes. Our highly experienced team of immigration lawyers will assist in preparing and submitting your application to achieve the best possible outcome, including advice on the fastest route to citizenship.
If you’d like to discuss matters further, please email our expert Immigration team on email@example.com or complete the online enquiry form on this page.