- If you were resident in the UK before 31 December 2020 you were able to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme to continue living in the UK. If you have moved back to your home country due to Covid-19 and studying remotely, please use the information on this page - particularly the guidance on absence from the UK - to understand how your absence may affect your right to re-enter and remain in the UK
- If you have never lived in the UK because you have been studying online from home since the start of your course, EU students who move to the UK from 1 January 2021 to study on a course of longer than six months will need to apply for Student immigration permission. You will need to complete an application, pay an application fee, and have a current passport or other valid travel document. You will need to meet specific requirements and to pass relevant checks, including UK criminality checks. There is more information in our guide called Applying for Student immigration permission. For a course of up to six months you can come to the UK as a Visitor.
If you were already resident in the UK before 31 December 2020 please see the rest of the information on this page about the EU Settlement Scheme.
EU students who move to the UK from 1 January 2021 onwards to study on a course of more than six months will need to apply for Student immigration permission. You will need to complete an application, pay an application fee, and have a current passport or other valid travel document. You will need to meet specific requirements and to pass relevant checks, including UK criminality checks. There is more information in our Guide called Apply for student immigration permission.
Please also see our information about tuition fees and funding for courses starting from September 2021.
The UK left the EU on 31 January 2020. This was followed by a transition period from 31 January 2020 to 31 December 2020, during which EU law continued to apply in the UK. After the transition period, the UK government ended reciprocal European Freedom of Movement to the UK.
EU/EEA & Swiss nationals & their family members already resident in the UK by 31 December 2020 were able to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme by 30 June 2021 for Pre-Settled or Settled status to continue living in the UK.
Irish citizens don't need to apply because the Common Travel Area agreements existed between the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland prior to the EU Directive. There is some specific information for Irish citizens on the UK government website.
Family members of EU,EEA and Swiss nationals who are not EU, EEA or Swiss nationals themselves may also be eligible. Please see the section of this page'What about my family members?'
Pre-Settled Status gives you permission to remain in the UK for a further 5 years from the date that you are granted this status. Once you have reached five years continuous residence, you can apply again to obtain Settled Status if you want to remain in the UK longer. However, you must apply before your five years on Pre-settled status expires if you wish to remain in the UK. You do not have to wait until you have had pre-settled status for 5 years to apply for Settled Status if you will have reached 5 years residence in the UK before that. For example you may have moved to the UK in September 2019, but only applied for and were granted pre-settled status in September 2020 - as long as you meet the criteria for five years continuous residence you can apply for settled status in September 2024.
Whilst in the UK with Pre-Settled Status you can continue to study & work in the UK without restriction. You can also access any public funds you may be eligible for and use the National Health Service (NHS). You are free to travel in and out of the UK
Additionally, after obtaining Pre-Settled Status you can spend up to 2 years outside the UK without losing your status. However, absence from the UK can impact on your eligibility to later apply for Settled Status - see the page: 'What happens if I spend some time outside the UK' for details.
The qualifying criteria for Pre-settled Status is explained in the section below 'How do I get Settled or Pre-Settled status?'
Settled status allows you to remain in the UK indefinitely. Whilst in the UK with Settled Status you can continue to study & work without restriction. You can also access any public funds you may be eligible for and use the National Health Service (NHS). You are free to travel in and out of the UK.
After obtaining Settled Status you can spend up to 5 years outside the UK without losing your status (or if you are a Swiss national or their family member you can spend up to 4 years outside the UK), you can choose to apply for British citizenship and any children born in the UK will automatically become British citizens.
The qualifying criteria for Settled Status is explained in the section below 'How do I get Settled or Pre-settled status?'
Please refer to our guide to completing the EU Settlement Scheme Application
You need to meet the qualifying criteria, prove your identity, provide your biometric details, complete the online application form and provide evidence of your residence in the UK.
The deadline for a first application was 30 June 2021 (unless you are joining a family member in which case the deadlines are different) but if you missed the deadline please read the section below what to do.
If you submitted a valid EU Settlement Scheme application by the deadline (this is 30 June 2021 for a first application for Pre-Settled Status unless you are applying as a family member in which case different deadlines apply, or the expiry date of your Pre-Settled Status if you are applying for Settled Status), you keep your residence rights while the Home Office considers your application, as long as your presence in the UK was in full compliance with EU free movement law.
Examples of people who were not deemed to be here in full compliance of EU free movement law includes students who did not hold Comprehensive Sickness Insurance (an EHIC card or a private healthcare insurance policy), because this was a requirement for those exercising EU Treaty rights to live in the UK as a student. However in practice this is not likely to be an issue because the Home Office has confirmed that the EU Settlement Scheme does not check exercise of Treaty rights. So in practice everyone who made a valid application by the deadline will keep their residence rights until a decision is made on their application. For example continuing to be able to work, study, rent accommodation, etc.
After you submit your application, you will receive an email confirmation. Applicants are also issued with a Certificate of Application, which can be relied on to evidence their rights. The Certificate of Application will be available in your view and prove account or will be sent to you by post.
If you applied after the deadline please see the section below 'What is my status if I have missed the application deadline'.
The deadline to make a first application to the EU Settlement Scheme wass 30 June 2021, unless you are joining a family member in which case the deadlines are different. Once you hold Pre-Settled Status, you must apply for Settled Status or another category of immigration permission or leave the UK before your Pre-Settled Status expires.
If you have missed your application deadline, someone may make a late application to the EU Settlement Scheme based on having reasonable grounds for failing to meet the deadline applicable to them. Late applications should be made as close to the deadline as possible. Pages 26 to 44 of the EUSS Caseworker Guidance explain how late applications are dealt with, and pages 31 to 44 give examples of reasonable grounds for applying late, as well as certain categories of people who can apply after 30 June 2021.
Caseworkers are required to give applicants the benefit of any doubt in considering whether, in light of information provided with the application, there are reasonable grounds for their failure to meet the deadline applicable to them under the EU Settlement Scheme, unless this would not be reasonable in light of the particular circumstances of the case. Where a person has not provided sufficient information as to the reasonable grounds for their failure to meet the deadline applicable to them, caseworkers are required to give applicants a reasonable opportunity to submit this. Where an application under Appendix EU is refused on eligibility grounds on the basis that there are not reasonable grounds for the applicant’s failure to meet the deadline applicable to them, the applicant may seek an administrative review of that decision, or appeal against it.
Please also read the section below 'What is my status if I have missed the application deadline?'
What is my status once I have submitted a late application?
UK law states that while a late application is being considered by the Home Office, the applicant does not have lawful status, so please refer to the section below about status after missing the deadline for more information. The only difference from the information in the section below is with regards to accessing healthcare - if you have made a late EUSS application you should not be charged for healthcare treatment.
If you were eligible to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme but did not apply by 30 June 2021 you lost your lawful status in the UK (unless a different deadline applies to you, for example if you are applying as a family member).
From 1 July 2021, where a person without status under the EU Settlement Scheme is encountered by Immigration Enforcement (or referred to them), the officer will consider, on the basis of the information and evidence available to them, whether the person may have been eligible for status under the EU Settlement Scheme, as an EEA citizen or as their family member, had they made an application under Appendix EU by 30 June 2021. Where it appears to the officer that this is the case, they will provide the person with a written notice giving them an opportunity to make a valid application under Appendix EU, normally within 28 days of the date of the written notice. No immigration enforcement action for being in the UK without permission will normally be taken during this period. The guidance does not state what happens if a person does not apply within the 28 days deadline in the written notice.
Not having applied by the deadline and therefore not having lawful status affects your residence rights in the following ways:
You cannot apply for a new job as you will not pass a right to work check.
If you were already working by 30 June 2021 but have not applied to the EUSS, and if your employer becomes aware of this, they can give you 28 days to make your EUSS application but must then take steps to end your employment if you do not apply within that time. This 28 day grace period expires on 31 December 2021.
You cannot rent a new property after 30 June 2021 if you have not applied to the EUSS as you cannot pass landlord immigration checks.
Existing tenants do not need to be checked by landlords. If a landlord did find out that a tenant had not applied in time to the EUSS, they need to report this to the Home Office and advise the tenant to apply to the EUSS within 28 days.
Someone who is eligible to apply to the EUSS but who has not submitted an application by 30 June 2021, who is therefore in the UK without immigration status, will be chargeable for treatment. Any payment you make will not be refunded if you later apply for and are granted status under the EUSS.
What is my status once I have submitted a late application?
UK law states that while a late application is being considered by the Home Office, the applicant does not have lawful status, so please refer to the section above. The only difference is accessing healthcare - if you have made a late EUSS application you should not be charged for healthcare treatment.
The deadline to apply to the EUSS is 30 June 2021. There are two circumstances in which you can apply outside the UK:
1. If you were resident in the UK at any time in the previous six months and before 31 December 2020; or
2. If you were previously resident and studying in the UK before 31 December 2020 and you meet either one of the scenarious below:
- you have been outside the UK for between 6 and 12 months for 'an important reason' - please read our guidance to understand what counts as an important reason; or
- you have been outside the UK for over 12 months where this was for 'an important reason' but you were unable to return to the UK within 12 months due to Coronavirus. Please read our guidance to understand if you meet the criteria for this as well as what evidence you will need to provide. If your 'important reason' for being outside the UK was studying remotely due to Coronavirus, you can request a letter from the QM Student Enquiry Centre to include with your EUSS application as evidence that remote study was permitted. You can request a letter via MySIS (SEC online) or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org Please write EUSS in the title of your request message.
Please carefully read our guidance on 'What happens if I spend some time outside the UK' to understand the implications of absences from the UK as this can impact your eligibility to later apply for Settled Status.
The EU Settlement Scheme is open to all EU/ EEA & Swiss nationals resident in the UK by 31 December 2020.
The scheme is also open to non EU/ EEA or Swiss nationals resident in the UK if they are the relevant family members of an EU/ EEA or Swiss national who is resident in the UK. (Relevant family members are: spouse/ civil partner/ unmarried partner, children under 21, dependent children 21 or over including grandchildren and other direct descendants, parents, grandparents and other direct ascendants, and other family members who are dependent).
All applications are subject to an identity, criminality and residence in the UK check
The application for Settled or Pre-Settled Status is the same process through the EU Settlement Scheme. You don’t need to choose which status you are applying for initially. At the end of the application, based on the information provided by you, you are informed if you are being considered for settled or pre-settled status. You have the ability to change that by providing additional evidence at the end of the application.
Settled Status: To be granted Settled Status you must complete the EU Settlement Scheme application and demonstrate that you have been resident in the UK for at least 5 continuous years with no absences of longer than 6 months in any 12 month period. The continuous 5 year period can be any historical 5 year continuous period, provided that you have not spent 5 years or longer outside the UK.
In addition, a one off absence from the UK of up to 12 months for particular reasons is permitted, and is not deemed to disrupt your continuous period of five years qualifying residence required for Settled Status. Please see the page: 'What happens if I spend some time outside the UK' for more information about what types of absences are permitted.
Your residence in the UK must have started by 31 December 2020.
If you are under 21 and are applying with your parents, you may not need to have been resident in the UK for 5 continuous years to obtain Settled Status if your parent(s) have met the requirements.
Pre-Settled Status: To be granted Pre-Settled Status you must complete the EU Settlement Scheme application and demonstrate that you established residence in the UK by 31 December 2020, even if you are applying to the EUSS after that date.
The deadline for your first application to the EU Settlement Scheme is 30 June 2021 but please see the section on this page 'I have missed application deadline, what can I do?'
If you have been resident in the UK for any period of time less than 5 years, you will need to provide evidence that you are resident in the UK before by 31 December 2020. Please note that applying for pre-settled status requires genuine residence. While you must have completed a continuous qualifying period of residence in the UK, the rules do not specify any minimum period, so you could apply as soon as you start living in the UK if you wish to, as long as your stay would be regarded as 'residence'.
If you have a National Insurance Number and you have been working in the last six months, the National Insurance Number should be sufficient evidence for Pre-Settled Status.
Someone without a National Insurance contribution record in the last 6 months will be told near the end of their application that there isn't evidence to consider them for settled or pre settled status and that they can upload a document(s) to show that they meet the residence requirement. The document(s) that you provide as evidence must be less than 6 months old. You can use a Queen Mary student status letter as evidence of your residence. Other acceptable documents are listed on the gov.uk website. As EU/EEA/Swiss nationals can enter the UK through e-gates it may be useful to keep evidence of your arrival date into the UK for example your e-ticket.
If you are applying from outside the UK, as well as providing a Queen Mary student status letter as part of your EUSS application (see the section 'Can I apply outside the UK'), it would also be useful to retain evidence of your remote studies during this period. This could be, for example, the emails from the Principal at Queen Mary confirming students can study remotely at this time or screenshots from the UK government web pages, or your own country’s government web pages (in English), confirming travel restrictions.
As long as you are genuinely resident in the UK, if you then need to leave the UK while your Pre-settled status application is being considered you can do so, as the EU Settlement Scheme caseworker guidance states that "An application made under Appendix EU will not be treated as automatically withdrawn if the applicant travels outside the Common Travel Area before the application has been decided". If your application remains undecided and you need to return to the UK it's advisable to carry evidence in your hand luggage to show you were living in the UK before the end of the transition period. Pages 198 onwards of the EU Settlement Scheme guidance: EU, other EEA and Swiss citizens and their family members gives examples of the type of evidence that may be accepted. Where possible it's advisable to carry evidence from the 'preferred list'.
To be granted Settled Status, you will need to evidence that you have been resident in the UK for 5 continuous years. The gov.uk website explains which documents you can use.
If you have been working/self-employed in the UK for a continuous period of at least 5 years, the easiest and quickest way to prove this is by providing your National Insurance Number (NINo) on your application. UK Visas & Immigration (UKVI) can check this with HM Revenues & Customs by accessing your NINo records. In this case it is likely that no further documents will be needed to prove residence for settled status.
If you haven’t been working during some or all of the continuous 5 year period, you can provide other documents listed on the gov.uk website. All documents you provide must be dated and have your name on them.
If you want to use a Queen Mary student status letter as evidence of your residence, find out how to get this letter here.
If you have had an absence from the UK of longer than 6 months but less than 12 months for one of the important reasons listed, you will need to provide official evidence of the reason.
If you are an EU/EEA/Swiss citizen with a biometric passport you should use your passport with the EU Exit: ID Document Check App. You do not need to send it to the UKVI unless requested.
Non EU/ EEA or Swiss family members of an EU national with a UKVI issued Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) Card, you must use your BRP with the EU Exit: ID Document Check App. You do not need to send it to the UKVI unless requested.
As well as completing the stages on the App, you will also need to provide evidence of your residence in the UK and any evidence to justify absences as explained in the previous section
If you are a non EU/ EEA/ Swiss family member of an EU/ EEA, Swiss national, you will also need to provide evidence of your relationship.
Depending on your circumstances, you may need to provide additional evidence (for example: evidence of absence from the UK of more than 6 months if for a permitted important reason or evidence of dependency if child over the age of 21)
There is information on the gov.uk website about acceptable evidence of residence in the UK.
The EU Settlement Scheme Guidance in general highlights the other documents you may require in specific circumstances (such as absences from the UK for an important reason, evidence of relationship etc)
The application is free of charge.
An application can be rejected if it is considered as invalid, for amongst other reasons; not using the correct application process, not providing the required proof of identity or nationality, or failure to provide biometrics.
An application can be refused in certain cases, including amongst others; an application not meeting the requirements, providing false or misleading information or evidence, failure to disclose information requested such as criminal convictions and where an applicant has certain criminal convictions in particular those which led to a prison sentence. It can also be refused if made after the deadline - see the section of this page about missing the deadline for more information.
It is important to read the Suitability Requirements for more details and seek advice if you think this may apply to you.
If your application has been refused you can seek specialist legal advice about your options and about your status in the UK - we have information about further advice at the end of this page.
If you wish to apply for Settled Status you need to hold five years continuous residence in the UK. In the section 'What happens if I spend some time outside the UK' we explain the rules on permitted absences from the UK while you hold pre-settled status. Please read this information carefully so you understand how being outside the UK can affect your eligibility to later apply for Settled Status.
Your five year continuous qualifying period required for Settled Status is not broken where you have a single absence from the UK of between 6 and 12 months for 'an important reason'. The list of 'important reasons' includes study. We explain this in more detail in our guidance on permitted absence, including what evidence of your absence you will need to provide when you apply for Settled Status.
In addition, on 10 June 2021 the government updated their EU Settlement Scheme guidance to include permission for a second period of absence of up to 12 months where it is for a coronavirus related reason, for example choosing to stay outside the UK during the pandemic. Please read the government guidance carefully. So for example you could have one absence for your study abroad period, and one absence for a coronavirus related reason, each one up to 12 months. This would not be deemed to break your continuous qualifying period of residence. However only up to the first 6 months of the second period of absence will be counted towards your continuous qualifying period of residence under the EU Settlement Scheme, where the period counted means you have not been absent for more than 6 months in any 12-month period. Your continuous qualifying period will be paused from that point and will resume from the point you return to the UK.
There is also a concession to the guidance permitting absence over 12 months for specific coronavirus related reasons.
Please note that if you have Pre-settled Status but then spend 2 consecutive years or more outside the UK, your Pre-settled Status will be cancelled. If you spend more than 2 consecutive years outside the UK after your Pre-settled Status has been granted, you would not be able to return to the UK with your Pre-settled Status in order to complete your course. You would require Student immigration permission instead.
You may be able to apply to join or stay with your EU/EEA/Swiss national family member if they have been granted Pre-settled or Settled Status in the UK, or they are eligible to apply because they were resident before 31 December 2020.
Joining family members
Relevant family members who are either European nationals or of a non European nationality currently outside the UK can apply for an EU Settlement Scheme Family Permit to come to the UK and join their EU/EEA/Swiss family members. Your family relationship must normally have begun before 31 December 2020.
Once you have arrived in the UK, you can apply for the EU Settlement Scheme.
Please see the information on the UK government website which explains which family relationships are eligible, and how to apply, and what the deadlines are.
Your right to accessing healthcare in the UK depends on your immigration permission to the UK, which will vary according to when you moved here. This is explained on Queen Mary University of London's Student Health web pages The page includes information on seeing a doctor, medical emergencies, other healthcare services, dental and eye care.
We recommend that you register with a doctor (GP) as soon as you can after you arrive in the UK.
Your Pre-settled Status will be valid for 5 years from the date that it is issued. We recommend that you diarise the end of the 5 year period. If you want to stay in the UK, you should apply for Settled Status when you meet the requirements and by the end of the 5 year period at the very latest. If you don't wish to stay in the UK, you should leave the UK by the end of the 5 year period at the latest.
You can view your status or prove it to someone else online. You will not usually get a physical document.
You must keep your details up to date, this includes if you move address in the UK, get a new UK mobile telephone number or get a new passport.
Those with Permanent Residency status will be required to apply to exchange this to settled status if intend to remain in the UK beyond 30 June 2021, “subject only to criminality and security checks”.
Those with Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK do not need to apply to exchange this to settled status, but can choose to do so if they wish. One benefit of this is that whereas ILR normally lapses after 2 years absence from the UK, Settled Status doesn’t lapse until 5 years absence from the UK.
Should I apply for British citizenship?
The rules for acquiring British citizenship are explained on the UK Government website and the decision whether to apply if you meet the criteria is a personal one.
There are a small number of jobs in the UK Civil Service which are reserved for British citizens alone. Holding permanent residence or settled status would not be sufficient to qualify for permission to work in those specific roles. Anyone holding permanent residence or settled status in the UK should otherwise be able to access the UK’s job market; indeed, it may well prove an advantage to be able to live and work in European Union countries without restrictions
In order to vote in general elections, you must be a British, Irish or Commonwealth citizen. Otherwise, the majority of the same rights are afforded to those with permanent residency status or settled status, including access to public healthcare, schools and pensions.
For many people, the cost of applying for British citizenship means it is unaffordable.
We cannot advise on citizenship questions. We explain options for seeking advice in the section below.
If you have questions about the information on this page, you can email a Welfare Adviser via our web form.
The United Kingdom Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) has detailed information on the EU Settlement scheme and other issues relating to EU, EEA & Swiss nationals, as well as a free student information line
The UK Government website has a section for EU, EEA & Swiss nationals which contains information on the EU Settlement Scheme, the Application form, policy guidance, immigration rules and other important information.
If you have questions about your EU Settlement Scheme application you can contact the Home Office EU Settlement Resolution Centre by phone or online.
The gov.uk website lists organisations who can advise 'vulnerable people' on their applications. This includes some Local Authorities so you could try contacting yours to see if they are advising European nationals.
The AIRE Centre (Advice on Individual Rights in Europe) is an advice centre which specialises in European rights. You can email them for written legal advice which they take around 2-3 weeks to provide.
The Citizens Advice Bureau has branches across the UK and provides free independent advice on a range of legal matters including immigration related issues.
The Immigration Law Practioners’ Association is an umbrella body for immigration solicitors and advisers many of which specialise in EU rights.