Bringing family to live in the UK after Brexit

This advice applies to England. See advice for Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales

If you’re an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen living in the UK, some of your family can also apply to come and live in the UK. They can apply for pre-settled or settled status from the EU Settlement Scheme if both:

  • you arrived in the UK by 31 December 2020

  • your relationship with your family member started by 31 December 2020 - unless you’re a Swiss citizen

If your family member is a child who was born after 31 December 2020, you can also apply for them to come and live in the UK.

The EEA includes EU countries and also Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway.

Your family member will need to either:

  • get pre-settled or settled status before they come to the UK

  • get a family permit to come to the UK and apply for pre-settled or settled status when they’re here 

Coronavirus - if your family or friends are entering the UK from abroad

If your family or friends are planning to arrive in the UK, they'll probably have to:

  • get tested for coronavirus within 3 days before they start their journey to the UK

  • fill in a form on GOV.UK with details of where they'll stay in the UK

  • stay at the address they put on the form for 10 days after they arrive – this is called ‘self-isolating’

This includes if they're coming back to the UK after spending time abroad.

These rules are sometimes called ‘quarantine’ – check if they have to quarantine and how to self-isolate on GOV.UK.

If your family member is already in the UK, check if they can apply for pre-settled or settled status.

If you’re a British or Irish citizen, there are some situations when your family members can apply for pre-settled or settled status.

If you’re a British citizen

If you have close family members who aren’t British citizens, they can apply to the EU Settlement Scheme in some situations.

Close family members are your:

  • husband, wife, civil partner or long-term partner

  • parents or grandparents

  • children or grandchildren under 21 years old

  • dependent children over 21 years old

Your close family members can only apply to come and live in the UK if any of the following apply:

  • you’re an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen who got British citizenship after you came to the UK - this is called ‘naturalising’

  • you lived with your family member in another EU country while the UK was part of the EU

  • you were born in Northern Ireland 

Talk to an adviser if you’re in one of these situations.

If you’re an Irish citizen

If you want to bring your family members to the UK, check if they can apply for pre-settled or settled status.

If you have Irish citizenship

If your family member wants to come and live in the UK, they’ll need to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme or for Irish citizenship if they’re eligible. Check if your family member can get Irish citizenship on Citizens Information - this is an advice website run by the Irish government.

If they’re a citizen of a country outside the EU, EEA or Switzerland, you can help them apply to the EU Settlement Scheme by applying first. 

You don’t need to apply, but it will make your family member’s application easier if you do. If you apply, they will not have to prove you live in the UK when they apply. 

Check if your family member can apply to the EU Settlement Scheme - not all family members are eligible.

If you were born in the UK or have a British parent

You’ll usually have Irish and British citizenship - this is called ‘dual nationality’.  

You might be a British citizen even if you don't have a British passport. You can check if you got British citizenship automatically when you were born on GOV.UK.

If you have Irish and British citizenship, and you were born in Northern Ireland:

  • you can’t apply to the EU Settlement Scheme

  • some of your family members can apply to the EU Settlement Scheme - you’ll need to check if they’re eligible

Check if your family members can apply to the EU Settlement Scheme if you were born in Northern Ireland on GOV.UK.

If you have Irish and British citizenship and you weren’t born in Northern Ireland, you can’t apply to the EU Settlement Scheme. Your family members can only apply to the EU Settlement Scheme if:

  • you were an EU or EEA citizen who got British citizenship after you came to the UK - this is called ‘naturalising’

  • you lived together in another EU country while the UK was part of the EU

Talk to an adviser if you’re in one of these situations.

Before your family member comes to the UK

Before your family member comes to the UK, check:

  • if they’re eligible for the EU Settlement Scheme - this depends on their relationship to you

  • how they should apply to the scheme - this depends on where they’re from

Check if your family member can get pre-settled or settled status

Your family member might be able to apply for pre-settled or settled status - it depends how you’re related to them. 

You should also check what evidence they’ll need to prove they’re related to you.

Children under 21 years old

If your child is under 21, they can apply to the EU Settlement Scheme. Your child includes your step-child, adopted child, grandchild and great-grandchild.

If your child was born after 31 December 2020, you can still apply to the EU Settlement Scheme for them.

You can apply for your child or they can apply for themselves. You’ll need to prove how they’re related to you.

Proving your child’s relationship to you

If your child is an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen, you should use their birth or adoption certificate to prove their relationship to you. If the child is your grandchild or great-grandchild, you also need birth certificates that prove your relationship to their parent.

If your child is from outside the EU, EEA or Switzerland, you should use their residence card to prove their identity. This means you don't have to prove their relationship to you because you proved it when you applied for the card.

If they don't have a residence card, you should use:

  • their birth certificate

  • their adoption certificate

  • their guardianship order - it’s important to get permission from the court that issued the order before you share it with the Home Office

  • a family permit

  • their birth certificate and your marriage or civil partnership certificate - if they’re your step-child

  • birth certificates that prove your relationship to their parent - if you’re their grandparent or great-grandparent

If you care for a child - for example, a foster child or a niece or nephew - they can apply to the EU Settlement Scheme if they applied for a residence card as an extended family member by 31 December 2020.

Check if your child has British citizenship

Your child might already be a British citizen if  they were born in the UK or they have a British parent. You can check if your child is already a British citizen.

If your child is already a British citizen, you can apply for a British passport for them on GOV.UK.

Children over 21 years old

They can only apply to the EU Settlement Scheme if they're dependent on you. Your child must have become dependent on you before 1 January 2021. 

This includes your step-child, adopted child, grandchild and great-grandchild.

Your child is dependent on you if they can't meet their basic needs without your financial support or care - they could be in full-time education, disabled or ill.

Your child will need to prove their relationship to you and prove they’re dependent on you. 

Proving their relationship to you

Your child can prove their relationship to you using:

  • their birth or adoption certificate

  • their guardianship order

  • a residence card

  • a family permit

If the child is your step-child, they’ll need their birth certificate and your marriage or civil partnership certificate.

If they’re your grandchild or great-grandchild, they’ll need birth certificates proving your relationship to their parents and grandparents.

Proving they're dependent on you

If your child got a residence card as a dependent child, they don’t need to prove they’re dependent on you again.

If your child doesn’t have a residence card, they’ll need to prove they depend on you to pay for their basic needs. 

The best way to prove your child is dependent on you is to prove you were sending money to them outside the UK. They could use bank statements showing:

  • rent or mortgage payments for their home

  • regular payments you make to them - for example, school or college fees

  • payments to meet their medical needs

They can use their bank statements or yours.

If your child is disabled or ill, they also need to prove this is why they depend on you. The best way to prove this is with a letter from a hospital or your family doctor.

Husbands, wives and civil partners

Your husband, wife or civil partner can apply to the EU Settlement Scheme if either:

  • you got married or formed a civil partnership by 31 December 2020

  • you had lived together for at least 2 years by 31 December 2020

They’ll need to prove their relationship with you. They can do this using:

  • a residence card

  • a residence card inside their passport - if they applied for it based on your relationship

  • a family permit

  • your marriage or civil partnership certificate 

  • a registration certificate - if they applied for it based on your relationship

Your partner can still use a registration certificate to prove their relationship with you, even if it’s not valid anymore.

Long-term partners

Your long-term partner can apply to the EU Settlement Scheme if either:

  • you had lived together for at least 2 years by 31 December 2020

  • there’s evidence you’re in a long-term relationship - for example, you had a child together by 31 December 2020

Your partner will need to prove their relationship with you. They can do this using a residence card or a family permit.

If they don’t have a residence card or a family permit, they can use things like:

  • joint bank statements

  • joint utility bills

  • joint mortgage statements or tenancy agreements

  • your child’s birth certificate

Parents and grandparents

Your parents and grandparents can apply to the EU Settlement Scheme. This includes adoptive parents, grandparents and great-grandparents, and those of your husband, wife or civil partner.

After 30 June 2021, your parents and grandparents can only apply to the EU Settlement Scheme if they can prove they’re dependent on you. It will be much easier for your parents and grandparents to get pre-settled or settled status if they apply by 30 June 2021.

Your parents and grandparents will need to prove their relationship to you. They can do this using:

  • a residence card

  • a family permit

  • your birth certificate or adoption certificate - if they're your parent

  • birth or adoption certificates for you and a parent - if they're your grandparent

  • birth or adoption certificates for you, a parent and grandparent - if they're your great-grandparent

If they're a family member of your husband, wife or civil partner, they also need to show proof of this relationship - for example your marriage certificate.

Brothers, sisters and other family members

Your extended family members can’t apply to the EU Settlement Scheme unless they applied for a family permit or residence card by 31 December 2020. 

Your extended family members are your:

  • brothers or sisters

  • aunts or uncles

  • nephews or nieces

  • cousins

If your brother or sister is dependent on you

They might be able to get a visa to live in the UK if:

  • they’re dependent on you because of disability, illness or age

  • you have settled status 

These visas are difficult to get - if your brother or sister is thinking of applying for one, talk to an adviser.

You can find out more about visas for dependent adult relatives on GOV.UK.

Check how your family member should apply 

How your family member should apply depends on what citizenship they have.

If your family member is an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen

Your family member should apply to the EU Settlement Scheme as a family member before they come to the UK.

When they’ve got pre-settled or settled status, they can come and live in the UK.

If your family member comes to the UK as a visitor, they will have to leave and apply to the scheme from outside the UK. 

Find out more about applying to the EU Settlement Scheme from outside the UK on GOV.UK.

If your family member is a citizen of a country outside the EU, EEA or Switzerland

How your family member should apply depends on if they have a residence card.

If your family member has a residence card

Your family member can apply to the EU Settlement Scheme as a family member before they come to the UK.

When they’ve got pre-settled or settled status, they can come and live in the UK.

If your family member comes to the UK as a visitor, they will not be able to apply for pre-settled or settled status while they’re in the UK. 

Find out more about applying to the EU Settlement Scheme from outside the UK on GOV.UK.

If your family member doesn’t have a residence card

Your family member usually needs to get an EU Settlement Scheme family permit to come to the UK. They don’t need a permit if they already have a valid family, work or student visa.

They need to be outside the UK to apply for the permit. It’s free to apply for the permit. 

It’s much easier for your family member to apply for the permit if you already have pre-settled or settled status.

If your family member comes to the UK as a visitor, they will have to leave and apply to the scheme from outside the UK.

Applying for a family permit

When your family member applies for the permit, they must include English translations of any documents that are in another language.

Your family member can apply for an EU Settlement Scheme family permit on GOV.UK.

Applying to the EU Settlement Scheme

Once they’re in the UK, your family member needs to apply for pre-settled or settled status before their family permit expires. Their permit will be valid for 6 months.

After your family member applies, their permit might expire before they get pre-settled or settled status. If this happens, they can use their EU Settlement Scheme application certificate to prove their rights in the UK.

Your family member will usually get their certificate by email after they apply for pre-settled or settled status. They’ll get the certificate by post if they applied on a paper form.

Page last reviewed on 01 January 2021