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Staying in the UK after Brexit

This advice applies to England

If you’re from the EU, European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland, you and your family will need to apply if you want to stay in the UK after 30 June 2021. The EEA includes EU countries and Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway.

You can do this by applying to the EU Settlement Scheme.

It's free to apply and usually easy to get. If you apply before 30 March 2019 you'll have to pay a fee but you'll get your money back.

If you're successful and you've lived in the UK for at least 5 years, you'll usually get 'settled status'. This means you can stay in the UK for as long as you like.

You'll get 'pre-settled status' if you've lived in the UK for less than 5 years. This means you can live, work and study in the UK and build up to 5 years, then apply for settled status.

If you’ve got permanent residence or indefinite leave to remain

If you have a permanent residence document you’ll still need to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme. It should be easier for you to apply and you’ll usually be given settled status.

You don't need to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme If you’ve been given ‘indefinite leave to remain’. However you might find it easier to prove you’re allowed to stay in the UK if you do apply. You’ll usually be given settled status.

If you’re in the UK with your family

When you apply you’ll get a ‘unique application number’. Your family can use this number when they apply - children under 21 won’t need to prove how long they’ve been living in the UK.

Read more about staying in the UK after Brexit with your family.

Bringing family to the UK after Brexit

They’ll need to be in the UK by 31 December 2020 to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme.

Brexit - if the UK leaves the EU without a deal

Your family member can still join you. They’ll need to prove their relationship with you existed before 29 March 2019.

If they’re a citizen of a country outside the EU, EEA or Switzerland they’ll need to have an EEA family permit to enter the UK. It'll be valid for 6 months - they can then apply to the EU Settlement Scheme.

Find out more about the EEA family permit on GOV.UK.

Check when to apply

It's best to apply by 31 December 2020.

The final deadline to apply is 30 June 2021 but the rules about who can stay in the UK could have changed by then.

Brexit - if the UK leaves the EU without a deal

If you’re living in the UK before 29 March 2019, you’ll need to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme by 31 December 2020.

If you come to the UK for the first time after 29 March 2019 you’ll be able to stay for 3 months. If you want to continue living in the UK you’ll need to apply to a new scheme - details will be announced if the UK leaves the EU without a deal.

You can apply to the scheme now if:

  • you’re an EU citizen and have a passport with a biometric chip
  • you’re a family member of an EU citizen and have a residence card with a biometric chip
  • you have or can borrow an Android phone - you’ll need this to complete the application

Don’t worry if you don’t have these things. There’ll be more ways to apply after 29 March 2019.

If you’re from Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland

You and your family can apply after 29 March 2019.

Applying for British citizenship

You might be able to apply for British citizenship if you've:

  • got a permanent residence document or 'indefinite leave to remain' - this means you can stay in the UK for as long as you want
  • been in the UK for 6 years - if you're married to a British citizen, it'll be less time

You won't need to apply for settled status if you get British citizenship.

If a child has been born in the UK, they might be British already or eligible to apply for citizenship.

You'll need to pay a fee to apply.

Brexit - if the UK leaves the EU without a deal

You can be a citizen of Britain and a citizen of another country at the same time - but only if the other country allows it. You’ll need to contact the country’s consulate, embassy or high commission in the UK to check.

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