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Are you an EU, EEA or Swiss Citizen who wants to stay in the UK after Brexit?

You should check if you need to apply to the EU settlement scheme. There is no charge to apply to the scheme at https://www.gov.uk/eusettledstatus

Marie* and her partner Roger* came to our office to check what they needed to do to remain in the UK. Marie is a French citizen who has been in the UK for 3 years. She wants to remain in the UK, but her job may require her to work abroad for short periods in the future. Roger is a Swiss national and has been here for 6 years.

The adviser checked the following with them:

  • You don’t need to apply if you are a British or Irish citizen.
  • If you were born in the UK you may already have or be eligible for British citizenship
  • If you have ‘indefinite leave to remain’ you don’t need to apply for settled status, but if you do, you will be able to live for up to 5 years outside the UK without losing your status (with ‘indefinite leave to remain’ the maximum is 2 years)
  • If you have a Permanent Residence document it will not be valid after 31st December 2020 and you will need to apply for settled status or British Citizenship.

He went on to explain that:

If the UK leaves the EU with a deal, the rights of EU citizens living in the UK will remain the same until 30 June 2021. To apply to the resettlement scheme you need to have been living in the UK by 31st December 2020. If you are successful, you’ll be able to stay in the UK after 30th June 2021.

If the UK leaves the EU without a deal, to apply to the EU settlement scheme you will need to have been living in the UK before the date we leave. The deadline for applying will be 31st December 2020.

The status you will get will depend on the length of time you have been living in the UK when you apply.

Settled status – if you have started living in the UK by 31st December 2020 (or the date the UK leaves the EU without a deal) and have lived in the UK for a continuous 5 year period i.e. at least 6 months in any 12 month period, you should get settled status and will be able to stay as long as you like. You will be able to spend up to 5 years in a row outside the UK (4 years for Swiss citizens) without losing your status. Roger said that he should be eligible for this, but Marie said she wouldn’t.

Pre-settled status – If you don’t have 5 years’ continuous residence when you apply, you’ll usually get pre-settled status. You must have started living in the UK by 31st December 2020 (or by the date the UK leaves the EU without a deal). You can stay for a further 5 years from the date you get your pre-settled status and can spend two years in a row outside the UK without losing your status. You can apply to change this to settled status once you have 5 years continuous residence. Marie confirmed that this would meet her needs.

Both wanted to know what the rules would be if they wanted to bring relatives into the UK in the future. The adviser showed them https://www.gov.uk/settled-status-eu-citizens-families which they said they would look at themselves.

*Not their real names to respect confidentiality

Most people should be able to apply online and you can sign up for email updates about developments.

For free, independent, confidential advice on a wide range of topics call 0344 848 7969, visit our office at Bridge Street, Godalming Mon to Fri: 10am-4pm or visit www.citizensadvice.org.uk
Citizens Advice Waverley is a registered charity no 1098859. You can help local people get the support they need by making a donation at www.waverleycab.org.uk/fundraising.

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