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EUSS – from Pre-settled to Settled Status

10 January 2024
EUSS – from Pre-settled to Settled Status

What is the difference between pre-settled and settled status for EU nationals?

Compared to pre-settled status, settled status offers a more stable immigration status to nationals of EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein. It is also a mandatory requirement for British citizenship.

With pre-settled status under EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS), you can spend up to 2 years in a row outside the UK, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man without losing your status. Whereas with settled status, you can be absent for up to 5 years in a row without losing your status.

  • Pre-settled status: continuous 2-year absence is allowed.
  • Settled status: continuous 5-year absence is allowed

If you lose your settled or pre-settled status, you will usually need to apply for a visa, like other non-EU nationals, to live and work in the UK, even if your biometric residence card (BRC) has not expired.

You may switch from pre-settled to settled status once you have acquired 5-year continuous residence. 5-year continuous residence may not be required for child under 21 (see below).

The 5-year is counted from the day you started your continuous residence, not the day you were granted pre-settled status. For example, you started living in the UK from 07 June 2017 and were granted pre-settled status on 12 August 2020. You would be eligible to apply for settled status on 06 June 2022 if continuous residence had been maintained.

Continuous residence

It is a requirement that you must not spend more than 6 months (whether consecutively or in total) outside the UK, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man in any 12-month period during the 5-year period unless one of the exceptions applies:

  • one period of up to 12 months for an important reason – for example, childbirth, serious illness, study, vocational training, an overseas work posting or because of coronavirus (COVID-19)
  • compulsory military service of any length
  • time you spent abroad as a Crown servant, or as the family member of a Crown servant
  • time you spent abroad in the armed forces, or as the family member of someone in the armed forces
  • working in the UK marine area

The Home Office is able to check on applicant’s NI number which is the easiest way to prove residence. If the applicant has been working without any break of 6 months or more, then it is likely that they only need to submit their NI number.

If continuous residence cannot be proved using NI numbers, alternative evidence would be required and the you are likely to be notified when you submit the online application, if further evidence is required. The documentation requirement is not particularly stringent, and a variety of documents are accepted, including utilities bills, school letter, bank statements and others.

Child, grandchild or great-grandchild under 21

There are two ways that the above person can switch from pre-settled status to settled status:

  1. they have reached 5 years’ continuous residence; or
  2. their relevant parent, grandparent or great-grandparent has been granted settled status. In this case, they will be granted the same settled status even they do not have 5 years’ continuous residence.

They can choose under which way to apply when making the application.

British citizenship

You may be able to apply for British citizenship once you have been grated settled status for 12 months. More stringent residency requirement applies for applications for British citizenship. Amongst other requirements, you must have not been outside the UK for 450 days or more in the past 5 years and for 90 days or more in the last 12 months prior to the application.

Not switching

Under current policy, if you do not switch to settled status, your pre-settled status will be extended by 2 years shortly before it is due to expire. You are not required to act.

The Home Office may cancel this extension if they think you no longer meet the requirements for it, for example you had been absent from the UK for over 2 years.

If you currently have pre settled status and are considering settled status, our immigration solicitors can help with advising you and preparing the application as well as corresponding with the Home Office.

Feel free to contact us on 0207 903 6888 or email contact@davenportsolicitors.com.

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