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EU settlement scheme

This content applies to England & Wales

Information on leave to remain ('settled' and 'pre-settled' status) under Appendix (EU) to the Immigration Rules (EU settlement scheme).

Brexit background

The United Kingdom (UK) ceased to be member of the European Union (EU) at 11pm on 31 January 2020 (exit day).[1] However, due to saving and transitional provisions,[2] the legal framework applicable to EU/EEA/Swiss nationals (EU 'free movement' law) as in force on the exit day, will continue to apply during a transition (implementation) period, that is until 11pm on 31 December 2020.[3]

EU/EEA/Swiss nationals and their family members resident in the UK will need to regularise their immigration status in order to stay here after the transition period. - UKVI Tool: Continue to live in the UK after it leaves the EU is a step-to-step guide to help EU/EEA/Swiss nationals decide what they should do and when, according to their personal circumstances.

EU settlement scheme

The EU settlement scheme is designed to offer EU/EEA/Swiss nationals and their family members living in the UK by 31 December 2020 the opportunity to protect their right to stay here beyond that date under Appendix (EU) to the Immigration Rules. People who move to the UK before 31 December 2020 (ie during the transition period) may also apply.

The deadline for applications is 30 June 2021.[4]

Help with applications

People in need of advice on when and whether they should apply for the EU settlement scheme, or on any other aspect of the application process, should be referred to an organisation authorised to provide immigration advice, for example AIRE Centre, Coram , ILPA and UKCEN. Useful information is also available from Freemovement, NRPF Network and EU Citizens' Rights.

The UK government has funded a number of organisations to provide help and support to vulnerable people applying to the EU settlement scheme.

Applicants and their advocates can ask questions online about new or existing applications, or call the EU Settlement Resolution Centre.

The Home Office and UKVI have issued detailed guidance for caseworkers considering applications under the EU settlement scheme. This covers:

  • rights of EU, EEA and Swiss citizens and their family members
  • suitability requirements
  • derivative right to reside (Chen/Ibrahim/Teixeira cases)
  • rights of family members of a qualifying British citizen
  • rights of persons with a Zambrano right to reside.

Immigration advice

exclamation Advising on obtaining leave to enter or remain under the UK Immigration Rules is an immigration matter which can only be delivered by an immigration adviser authorised by the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner (OISC) or a qualified solicitor.

Eligibility for public funds

During the transition period, the eligibility rules based on EU free movement will continue to apply in the UK, alongside the Immigration Rules. EEA nationals and their family members can seek to establish their eligibility for social housing, homelessness assistance and benefits by:

  • showing they have a qualifying right to reside under EU law (Directive 2004/38/EC (the Citizenship Directive) and the Immigration (EEA) Regulations 2016) and/or
  • by relying on their settlement status acquired under the EU settlement scheme or another route in the Immigration Rules.

Settled status

Applicants granted settled status are treated as persons subject to immigration control who are eligible[5] - see 'Class C' in Persons eligible for assistance: non EEA/EU

When priority need (or homelessness) is derived from an ineligible person, an application for homelessness assistance will be treated as a restricted case - see Households with eligible and ineligible members

Pre-settled status

Applicants with pre-settled status will need to demonstrate another right to reside that confers eligibility.

Pre-settled status is to be disregarded for the purpose of:

  • establishing eligibility for homelessness assistance and allocation of social housing [6]
  • establishing habitual residence for the purpose of establishing entitlement to most income-related benefit. [7]


The legislative references and the footnotes on this page reflect the law in England. In Wales, very similar rules made under Welsh legislation apply, but the references may be different. Contact Shelter Cymru for information about the law in Wales.

[1] see definition of 'exit day' in s.20 European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018, as amended by reg.2(2) European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 (Exit Day) (Amendment) (No. 2) Regulations 2019/859 and reg. 2(2) European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 (Exit Day) (Amendment) (No. 3) Regulations 2019/1423.

[2] ss.1A-8 European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018, as amended by ss.1-4 European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Act 2020.

[3] see definition of 'IP completion day' in s.39 European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Act 2020.

[4] see 'EU Settlement Scheme: statement of intent' which sets out details about eligibility for the scheme and how it works.

[5] s.7(1) Immigration Act 1988; Barnet LBC v Ismail and another [2006] EWCA Civ 383.

[6] regs 4(1A) and 6(1A) Allocation of Housing and Homelessness (Eligibility) (England) Regulations 2006 SI 2006/1294, as inserted by regs 3(a) and 4(a) Allocation of Housing and Homelessness (Eligibility) (England) (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/861.

[7] see Social Security (Income-related Benefits) (Updating and Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019 SI 872/2019.

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