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EU citizens and settled status after Brexit

If you are living in the UK but you were originally from a country in the European Union (EU), European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland, you must apply to stay in the UK following Brexit.

This can also include the family members of EEA citizens. It is free to apply to stay in the UK.

You can apply:

You don’t need to apply if you already have British or Irish citizenship.

Important information

Age UK, our advice line and your local Age UK can't offer advice or assistance with settled status applications.


I've been in the UK for 5 years or more

You should be given ‘settled status’ if you’ve lived in the UK for 5 years or more. Once you have settled status, you can stay as long as you like. You can live outside the UK for up to 5 years in a row without losing settled status.


I've been in the UK for less than 5 years

You may be given ‘pre-settled status’ if you've lived here for less than 5 years. This allows you to stay in the UK for up to 5 years and then you can apply for ‘settled status’ once you’ve been here for 5 years, including the time before you applied.

You can live outside the UK for up to 2 years without losing pre-settled status, but if you want to get settled status, you must live in the UK for at least 6 months each year before you apply for settled status.


How can I protect my rights?

After Brexit, you will need pre-settled or settled status in order to:

  • stay in the UK for more than 3 months
  • work
  • study
  • use the NHS
  • claim State Pension
  • rent a home.

You will need to have settled status to claim benefits like Pension Credit and Housing Benefit. You will need settled status to get help with housing from the council.


How do I apply?

The scheme is open - you can apply now if you’re eligible.

You can also choose to apply later depending on your circumstances.

The deadline for applying will be 30 June 2021, or 31 December 2020 if the UK leaves the EU without a deal.

You can apply using any device, for example, a laptop, Android device etc. In some cases, you will need to apply by post instead.

If you need advice or assistance to apply, the government has funded 57 organisations who can help you.

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Last updated: Jul 22 2019

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