Frequently Asked Questions

I’m an EU citizen, how am I affected by Brexit?

All EU citizens and their family members who want to stay in the UK beyond 31 December 2020 will need to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme. This allows them to get a new UK immigration status that will protect their rights in the UK once the UK leaves the EU.

The following points have been agreed between the EU and the UK so far:

  • EU citizens who arrive in the UK before the date we leave the EU, which is currently scheduled to be on 31 October 2019, and who have been continuously and lawfully residing in the UK for five years will be allowed to stay indefinitely by obtaining ‘settled status'
  • EU citizens who arrived in the UK before the date we leave the EU, but have not been here for five years, will be given temporary permission to stay until they've been here for five years; then they'll be able to apply for settled status
  • family members who are living with or who join EU citizens in the UK before the date we leave the EU will also be able to apply for settled status after five years in the UK
  • there will be a period of at least two years after the UK leaves the EU, to give EU citizens and their families sufficient time to make their applications
  • all EU citizens and their families in the UK will need to apply to the Home Office for permission to stay before the end of the two-year period; this is regardless of their arrival date and whether they already have permanent residence or documents to confirm that status
  • certain close family members can join EU citizens in the UK for the life time of the EU citizen after the date we leave the EU, providing they were related to the EU citizen on the date we leave and continue to be related at the point they wish to join the EU citizen in the UK (this does not apply in the case of children born or adopted after the date we leave the EU)

How am I affected if I’m from a non-EU EEA member state or Switzerland?

Rights for citizens of Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Switzerland are still being negotiated. The Government has said that it will discuss similar arrangements with these countries.

How am I affected if I’m an Irish citizen?

The Government has indicated that Irish citizens living in the UK will not need to apply for settled status to stay.

What does ‘Settled Status’ mean?

Settled status is likely to be the same as indefinite leave to remain (ILR). ILR is a type of leave without an end date currently given to qualifying non-EU nationals after five years of continuous residence in the UK. In practice, it means that you can live and work in the UK without restriction.

To get settled status, you will need to have lived here for five years as a worker, a self-employed or self-sufficient person or as a family member without leaving the country for more than six months in any 12 month period (with a few exceptions).

How can I apply for Settled Status?

The Government’s EU Settlement Scheme is now open to some EU citizens and their family members. You may be able to apply now if you meet the criteria. The scheme will be open fully by 30 March 2019.

You can complete the application form online using a computer or mobile device.

You’ll be able to get support over the phone or in person if you need help doing things online:

Phone: 03333 445 675
Text message: text the word “VISA” to 07537 416 944
Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm

If you have hearing and/or speech difficulties you can access this service on a smartphone, computer or tablet or text phone by dialling 18001 in front of the phone number above.

What is the deadline for applying for Settled Status?

The deadline for applying for Settled Status will be 30 June 2021, though you must have started living in the UK by 31 December 2020. You may be able to apply after this date if you’re joining a family member in the UK.

How much will it cost to apply for Settled Status?

The current fee for applying for Settled Status is £65, however the Government recently announced that there will be no fee when the scheme opens fully on 30 March 2019. Anyone who has applied already, or who applies and pays during the test phase, will have their fee refunded. For more information see the Government website.

If I already have permanent residence, do I automatically get settled status?

No, the UK government is proposing that permanent residence status will no longer be valid after the UK leaves the EU (even if you have obtained a document to confirm that status). The recent report from the Government and the EU has suggested that those with a permanent residence document will be able to exchange it for a settled status document free of charge (subject to an ID and criminality check, and confirmation of ongoing residence).

Can I apply for British Citizenship?

Yes, if you have lived in the UK for a continuous period of:

  • 5 years and are the spouse or civil partner of a British citizen, or
  • 6 years if you are not the spouse or civil partner of a British citizen

You will first need to get a permanent residence document (or settled status once we leave the EU) and there is additional criteria, including stricter UK absence rules than for permanent residence and a requirement to pass both a ‘Life in the UK’ and an English language test.

EEA nationals with non-EEA dependent family members with them in the UK should seek further advice before applying for British citizenship as this may affect the rights of their non-EEA dependant family members. You should also check first whether your home country will allow dual nationality - some do but others do not, and acquiring British citizenship could lead to you losing your nationality of origin.

What about UK nationals in the rest of the EU?

The recent report produced by the EU and the Government indicated that the same arrangements referred to within this FAQ document will apply to UK citizens living in other EU countries.


Please note: these frequently asked questions (FAQs) are general statements to help you to understand the Brexit situation in a plain and simple way. They should not be considered as legal advice or opinions and do not cover individual situations. These FAQs are based on information available from the Government and are subject to change.

Page last updated: 03 September 2019