EU Settlement Scheme Announced - Securing Rights of EU Citizens in UK


The UK Government has published details of the process for EU citizens living in the UK to guarantee their right to stay here, following the UK’s departure from the EU.

This is an important step which will reduce the uncertainty felt by many individuals and families in Northern Ireland over their status post Brexit.

Obtaining settled status in the UK

To obtain settled status (indefinite leave to remain), EU citizens will need to have lived continuously in the UK for five years. This applies not just to workers but also to stay at home parents, retirees and students. Those with less than 5 years’ continuous residence in the UK will be granted pre-settled status and be able to apply for settled status once they have reached the five year point.

There will be three core criteria which applicants will need to meet:

  • Identity
    Verify the applicant’s identity through a passport, a national identity card, a biometric residence card or biometric residence permit.
  • Eligibility
    Establishing that the applicant is resident in the UK. Where possible, the process will work on an automated basis e.g. using tax and National Insurance data from HMRC and DWP.
  • Suitability
    Checks will be made against criminality and security databases to identify serious or persistent criminals. The vast majority of EU citizens and their families will be unaffected by this criterion.

The Home Office paper - EU Settlement scheme: Statement of Intent (PDF) contains a lot more detail on the criteria and the range of documentary evidence which will be able to be used.

Applying for settled status in the UK

Applications can be made in a number of different ways including online and by post. The cost will be £65 per adult and £32.50 for children under 16. Individuals previously issued with a permanent residence document or granted indefinite leave to remain in the UK will not pay a fee to apply.

Settled status scheme launch date

There is no need for individuals to do anything immediately. The scheme is expected to launch in late 2018 and EU citizens and their family members will have up until 30 June 2021 to apply.