There were three phases of a pilot of the scheme.
The scheme was fully rolled out at 7 a.m. on 30 March 2019.
The following groups of people who are resident in the UK can apply under the settlement scheme:
However, while the UK remains a member of the EU, the above groups continue to benefit from EU laws. Please see below for information about how the scheme will operate when the UK leaves the EU:
if an agreement is reached; or
if no agreement is reached
Once you have ‘settled status’ any children you have who are under 21 can also apply for ‘settled status’ (without needing to be in the UK for five years themselves).
If you have lived in the UK for five years (meeting the definition of ‘continuous qualifying period’ in Appendix EU Annex 1- Definitions, which includes permitted gaps of up to six months in any 12 month period, and/or one instance of up to 12 months absence for a specified reason, which includes study) you will be able to apply for ‘settled status’ under the scheme. This is also referred to as ‘indefinite leave to remain’. There are (limited) circumstances in which someone can obtain ‘settled status’ with less than five years’ residence.
If you have not been in the UK for five years (meeting the definition of ‘continuous qualifying period’ in Appendix EU Annex 1- Definitions), you can apply for ‘pre-settled status’ (a grant of five years’ permission), and after five years of living in the UK you can apply for settled status (the five years does not have to start from the point of the grant of pre-settled status - it will include all the time you have resided in the UK).You will need to do this if you intend to stay in the UK after the five year permission ends (unless you apply under another category of the immigration Rules).
There is no minimum time you need to have spent in the UK in order to apply for pre-settled status – you only need to show evidence that you currently live in the UK (and meet the definition of ‘continuous qualifying period’ in Appendix EU Annex 1- Definitions). The guidance for Home Office caseworkers contains a helpful list at Annex A of evidence that the Home Office currently accept, although other evidence can be used to evidence your residence in the UK.
Once you have ‘pre-settled’ or ‘settled’ status, there will be no restrictions on study (where you study or what you study).
‘Settled status' under the EU settlement scheme (unless granted to Swiss citizens and their family members) will be lost after a continuous absence of more than five years from the UK and Islands. ‘Settled status’ granted to Swiss citizens and their family members under the EU settlement scheme will be lost after a continuous absence of more than four years from the UK and Islands.
'Pre-settled' status will be lost after a continuous absence of more than two years from the UK and Islands.
If status is lost and you are no longer eligible to apply under the settlement scheme, you will only be able to apply under any other category of the immigration Rules in place at the time you wish to come to the UK.
The application is free. The application under the pilot cost £65 (where an applicant was 16 or older), but was free for those with a document confirming the ‘right of permanent residence’ under EU law, and in a few other circumstances. Those who applied under the pilot and who paid £65 will eventually have their fee refunded. The Home Office has published guidance about refunds for those who applied under the pilot
Read our blogs about the application process by two people who applied under the two previous pilots.