We value our staff and want to make sure you have all the information you need during the UK's exit from the European Union (EU). If you're a member of staff from the EU, you can see our help and advice below.
Please note that when we refer to the 'date the UK leaves the EU', this is currently expected to be 31 October 2019, or earlier if the Withdrawal Agreement is approved before then.
Citizens' rights after the UK leaves the EU
There will be no change to the rights and status of EEA and Swiss nationals currently living in the UK until 30 June 2021 or 31 December 2020 if the UK leaves the EU without a deal. To continue living, working and studying in the UK, you and your family can apply to the EU Settlement Scheme. You'll get 'settled' or 'pre- settled' status, depending on how long you've been living in the UK. This enables you to continue to be eligible for public services (such as healthcare and schools), public funds and pensions.
EU Settlement Scheme
The UK government has confirmed its commitment to protect the rights of EEA and Swiss nationals, and their family members, residing in the UK prior to when the UK is scheduled to leave the European Union. The EU Settlement Scheme will allow EEA and Swiss nationals to continue living in the UK with the same access to work, study, benefits and public services as currently.
The EU Settlement Status scheme opened for a public ‘test phase’ on 21 January, which merged into the full public rollout, and opened on 30 March 2019. In the event of a deal, all EU nationals in the UK will be required to apply for either pre-settled or settled status if they wish to remain in the UK after 31 December 2020.
In the event of the UK leaving the EU without a deal, EU staff and their families who are eligible to apply under the settlement scheme will need to do so by 31 December 2020. If a deal is agreed, the date will be 30 June 2021. Find out how to apply.
EU citizens and certain family members are able to apply to the scheme from outside the UK, free of charge and based on their previous residence in the UK, without needing to travel here to make an online application. Resident citizens of Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland and their family members will also be able to apply to the scheme.
What is the EU settlement scheme
In advance of the UK’s exit from the EU, the UK government has committed to protect the rights of EU citizens and their family members currently living in the UK. This includes the right to live here, work here and access public services such as healthcare and benefits. EU nationals wishing to retain these rights can apply for UK immigration status under the EU Settlement Scheme.
You'll have until 30 June 2021 to apply, or until 31 December 2020 if the UK leaves the EU without a deal.
Any EU citizens who have lived in the UK for five years (with ‘permitted’ gaps, for example, for serious illness or study) can apply for ‘settled status’ under the scheme and those who have not yet been in the UK for five years can apply for ‘pre-settled status’, and then after five years of living in the UK you will be eligible for settled status.
What you need to do
To apply to the EU Settlement Scheme you will need to complete a short and simple online application form to:
- prove your identity;
- show that you live in the UK; and
- declare any serious criminal convictions.
Who can apply
You can apply now if:
The EEA includes the EU countries and also Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway.
This means you need to apply even if you:
Irish citizens enjoy a right of residence in the UK that is not reliant on the UK’s membership of the EU. They do not need to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme, but they can if they want to.
See who else can apply.
To apply for status under the EU Settlement Scheme you will need to complete an online application. When you apply, you can either:
- use the 'EU Exit: ID Document Check' app to scan your document and send your photo - you need to use an Android phone to do this
- send your document by post, and upload your photo using the online application (you can take this yourself).
- You can use someone else's Android phone to prove your identity. You can also visit one of the organisations offering to scan your document for you. You'll need to book an appointment and you may have to pay a fee.
- Criminality check - You will need to complete the criminality check by declaring any criminal convictions. Only serious or persistent criminality will affect your application. This should not affect the vast majority of EU citizens and their family members.
- Verify your residence in the UK - There are a number of ways to provide evidence of your residence. Providing your National Insurance number should help the majority of applicants demonstrate whether they qualify for settled or pre-settled status. But there may be cases where residence cannot be proven automatically in this way for a variety of reasons. If this happens, or if you disagree with the outcome of the automated check, do not worry. You will be told if you need to give any further evidence which you can easily submit online by uploading photos or scanning documents into your application. Find out more about the type of evidence that can be used.
- Application fee – On 21 January the Prime Minister announced that there will be no fee from 30 March 2019. Anyone who has applied already and paid a fee during the test phases will have their fee refunded. If you have paid an application fee you will receive a refund after 30 March 2019. If you are due a refund you do not need to do anything. The fee will be automatically refunded to the card that was used to pay it. An email will be sent to the contact address provided in the application, confirming when the refund has been processed.
Where to find support
- For more information on how to apply, visit: EU Settlement Scheme: applicant information
- For any questions about an application made during the pilot, contact the EU Settlement Scheme Resolution Centre by calling 0300 123 7379 (inside the UK) or +44 (0) 203 080 0010 (outside the UK). Find out about call charges. You can also submit an online form.
What is the difference between settled and pre-settled status?
Settled status – allows you to remain in the UK indefinitely and you can continue to study and work without restriction. You can also access any public funds you may be eligible for and use the National Health Service (NHS). You are free to travel in and out of the UK. After obtaining settled status you can spend up to five years outside the UK without losing your status, you can choose to apply for British citizenship and any children born in the UK will automatically become British citizens.
Pre-settled status – gives you permission to remain in the UK for a further five years from the date that you were granted this status. Once you have reached five years continuous residence, you can apply again to obtain settled status if you want to remain in the UK longer. However, you must apply before your five years on pre-settled status expires if you wish to remain in the UK. Whilst in the UK with pre-settled status you can continue to study and work in the UK without restriction. You can also access any public funds you may be eligible for and use the National Health Service (NHS). You are free to travel in and out of the UK. After obtaining pre-settled status you can spend up to two years outside the UK without losing your status and any children born in the UK will automatically be granted pre-settled.
How do I get settled or pre-settled status?
The application for settled or pre-settled status is the same process through the EU Settlement Scheme. You don’t need to choose which status you are applying for.
Settled status – to be granted settled status you must complete the EU Settlement Scheme application and demonstrate that you have been resident in the UK for the last five years with no absences of longer than six months in any 12 month period. In exceptional circumstances, a one off absence from the UK of up to 12 months (such as pregnancy, childbirth, study or work posting) or in the case of compulsory military service of any length can be discounted as absence. You must have started living in the UK before 31 December 2020 (or before the date the UK leaves the EU in the case of the UK leaving the EU with no agreement). If you are under 21 and are applying with your parents, you may not need to have been resident in the UK for 5 continuous years to obtain settled status if your parent(s) have met the requirements.
Pre-settled status – to be granted pre-settled status you must complete the EU Settlement Scheme application and demonstrate that you are resident in the UK. You must have started living in the UK before 31 December 2020 (or before the date the UK leaves the EU in the case of the UK leaving the EU with no deal).
How do I prove my residence?
Settled status – to be granted settled status, you will need to evidence that you have been resident in the UK for five continuous years. If you have been working/self-employed in the UK during the last five years, the easiest and quickest way to prove this is by providing your National Insurance Number (NINo) on the form. UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) can check this with HM Revenues and Customs by accessing your NINo records. In this case no further documents will be needed to prove residence. If you haven't been working some or all of the last five years, you can upload other evidence of your UK residence to your application. Acceptable documents include annual bank statements, letters from
your school or university confirming your attendance, or tenancy agreements. All documents you provide must be dated and have your name on them. Further details are available online.
If you have had an absence from the UK of longer than six months but less than 12 months for one of the ‘exceptional’ reasons listed above, you will need to provide official evidence.
Pre-settled status – if you have been resident in the UK for any period of time less than five years, you will need to provide evidence that you are resident in the UK before 31 December 2020 (or by the date the UK leaves the EU if there is no deal) when you apply. Only one piece of evidence of residence is required to obtain pre-settled status. The document must be less than six months old. If you have a National Insurance Number and you have been working, the National Insurance Number should be sufficient evidence for pre-settled status. If you don't have a National Insurance Number and/or you haven't been working, you can provide other evidence.
Do I have to apply under the settlement scheme if I intend to leave the UK before 31 December 2020?
It is not compulsory to apply, but it is advisable so you can keep your options open in case your circumstances change. For example, you may decide you wish to stay on in the UK for further study, or for a job opportunity, or you may have resits which require you to remain in the UK or return at a later date. The settlement scheme is not only for those who intend to remain in the UK long term after studying. It is an immigration permission which will enable those who are here now to stay after Brexit, if they wish to do so. With permission under the scheme, there will be no restrictions on work (where you work). If you do not apply and decide at a later date that you wish to remain in the UK for work or study, you would need to apply under another category of the immigration rules, which is likely to incur a fee, whereas there is no fee for the settlement scheme.
In a no deal, although the UK Government has confirmed that EEA and Swiss citizens who are lawfully residing in the UK before the Brexit date can continue to do so, 'free movement' will end. This means that anyone who arrives in the UK for the first time after the UK leaves the EU would be able to stay for a maximum of three months (unless they apply for European Temporary Leave to Remain). So if you do not have settled or pre-settled status, you are likely to need proof of previous residence in the UK when returning after any travel.
The application process has been designed to be easy and user-friendly and has been tested under three pilots.
I have dual nationality. Should I apply for settlement status?
You will not need to apply if you have dual British citizenship. If you have dual EU and non EU nationality, you can apply for settlement status using your EU passport.
If I leave the UK, do I lose settlement status?
If you have settled status, this will be lost after an absence of five years from the UK (this is still subject to approval from Parliament).
If you have pre-settled status, this will be lost after an absence of more than two years from the UK.
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.
I am an EU national due to arrive in the UK after the date the UK leaves the EU. Will I be able to apply for settlement status?
In the event of a deal, any EU citizen arriving in the UK before 31 December 2020 will be eligible to apply under the settlement scheme. In the event of no deal, those arriving in the UK for the very first time after the date the UK leaves the EU will not be able to apply for settlement status, unless they are joining a family member who is resident in the UK with settled or pre-settled status. There will be restrictions on the ability of newcomers to the UK to stay beyond three months for which European Temporary Leave to Remain will be required (more information can be found on the government website).
Will the EU Settlement Scheme still operate if no agreement is reached?
The UK government has given assurances that the scheme will still operate but:
Will only be open to EU citizens and their eligible family members who are resident in the UK before 11pm on the date the UK leaves the EU unless:
- You are temporarily absent from the UK (within the Rules of the scheme on permitted absences). In this case you will still be able to enter the UK after the date the UK leaves the EU and apply under the settlement scheme.
- You are an eligible family member and the relationship with the EU citizen (who is eligible to apply under the settlement scheme) was formed before the date the UK leaves the EU.
- You are the child born to an EU citizen who is eligible to apply under the settlement scheme.
The deadline to apply will be 30 December 2020.
I am a national of Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein or Switzerland. Can I apply to the EU Settlement Scheme?
In the event of a deal, the EU Settlement Scheme will be open to non-EU EEA citizens and Swiss nationals in the same way as for EU nationals. However, if there is no deal, there may be a different deadline to apply to the scheme than for EU nationals. At this point, the UK government have said only that the deadline will be ‘no less than six months from exit day’. There would also be different deadlines for family members.
The background to "settled status" for members of staff who are EU nationals
The immigration status of EU nationals working within UK remains a key concern following the June 2016 referendum in favour of Brexit.
A 15-page document, published in June 2017, outlined the UK government's plans for the rights of EU nationals after Brexit and elaborated on the Prime Minister’s offer to EU leaders at a meeting of the European Council in Brussels.
Summary of UK Government's plans
At a glance:
- all EU citizens who have lived in the UK for at least five years will be eligible for a new “settled status”, with the same residency, employment, health, welfare and pensions rights as British citizens
- those who have not reached five years but arrived before a specified cut-off date will be entitled to stay on until they reach the threshold
- those who arrived after the cut-off date will be granted a “grace period” of two years to apply for permanent residence or return to their home countries
- an exact cut-off date has not been pinned down, but it will not be any time before 29 March 2017, the date Article 50 was triggered, or any time after the date the UK formally exits the EU
- EU citizens with “settled status” post-Brexit will be able to bring in family members in the same way as UK citizens
- the European Court of Justice would not have jurisdiction under these proposals. Instead, EU citizens’ rights will be enforceable in the UK legal system, with additional commitments in the Withdrawal Agreement with the EU, which ministers say will have the status of international law
- Irish nationals will continue to have separate rights which allow them to be treated in the same way as British nationals in most circumstances.
See the full proposals.
Prime minister's message to EU citizens living in the UK
In October 2017, the UK Prime Minister, Theresa May, sent a message to EU citizens living in the UK. The main points of her message were:
- the rights of EU citizens living in the UK remain the UK government's first priority in Brexit negotiations
- EU citizens living lawfully in the UK today will be able to stay after Brexit
- an agreement on the rights of EU citizens living in the UK is close
- the agreement with the EU will provide certainty around issues of residence, healthcare, pensions and other benefits
- the UK government is working on a streamlined digital process for those applying for “settled status” in the UK in the future and the cost of this application will be no more than the cost of a UK passport
- the process for swapping current permanent residence to “settled status” will be a simple one.
Read the Prime Minister's message to EU citizens living in the UK.
Travelling to or from the UK after the UK leaves the EU
In the event of a no-deal Brexit, EU nationals will be able to enter the UK as now but for those arriving in the UK for the first time after the UK leaves the EU, there will be restrictions on their ability to stay beyond three months.
Find out more information on the Government's website.
Until there is clarity on the nature of UK’s withdrawal from the EU, it is not possible to provide specific advice about travel arrangements. For the time being, you should continue to arrange your travel as you would have previously, and check this page on the UK Government website for updates as close to the date of travel as possible.
What will happen if there is a Brexit deal?
- If a deal with the UK and EU Government is reached before this date, there will be no changes to current visa requirements or entitlements until the end date of the transition period, which is likely to be December 31, 2020.
- For EU citizens already resident in the UK but travelling after Brexit, the UK government has said that, in the event of a no deal, the same entry requirements that currently apply to EU nationals will continue to apply until the end of 2020. This means that EU nationals will continue to be able to use the ePassport gates at UK airports and should not be subject to detailed scrutiny about their intentions while in the UK.
What will happen if there is no-deal?
- In the event of a no-deal Brexit, the government has outlined arrangements for those arriving to live in the UK after the date the UK leaves the EU.
- On 28 January 2019, the UK government published details of proposals on the temporary immigration system they will put in place for EU nationals in the event of a no deal Brexit. Please note that the Bill is not yet law and is subject to amendment. It states that EEA (and Swiss) citizens arriving in the UK after the date the UK leaves the EU will be able to enter the UK without a visa and stay for up to three months. If you intend to stay in the UK for longer than three months, you will need
- to apply for ‘European Temporary Leave to Remain’. This will be granted for a period of 36 months.
- If you want to stay in the UK for more than 36 months, you will need to apply for an immigration status under the new immigration system which will come into effect from 1 January 2021. Those who do not qualify will need to leave the UK when their European Temporary Leave to Remain expires. Further details of the scheme and how to apply are not yet available.
- In a no deal situation, travellers could face extra costs associated with a fall in the value of the pound. It may be advisable to obtain currency before you travel so that you are secure in the value at time of purchase.
- The UK government has already agreed a deal with Switzerland and the non EU EEA states (Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein) so if you’re travelling to or from one of these countries, there may be some differences to the above. Please check the details of this deal for more information.
For UK citizens travelling in Europe, the European Council has confirmed that, in the event of no deal, it will allow visa-free travel to all EU/EEA and Swiss countries, including those not in the Schengen zone, for a period of up to 90 days (across any 180 day period). This will remain the case provided the UK reciprocates on the same basis. There will be no restrictions on stay during that 90 day period.
Further information for UK nationals who will be travelling to the EU in the event of no deal, including the requirement to have a minimum six months remaining on your passport, is provided on the UK Government website.
Useful travel information for UK students/staff on travel to the EU from the UK: