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Preparing to apply for pre-settled and settled status

This advice applies to Wales

You can apply to the EU Settlement Scheme if you're:

  • from the EU, European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland
  • a family member of someone from the EU, EEA or Switzerland

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

You can’t apply if you have both British and Irish nationality - for example, if you were born in Northern Ireland.

You don’t need to be in the UK to apply. 

Find out the deadlines for applying and other ways to stay in the UK after Brexit.

Gather everything you need to apply

You need:

  • an identity document - your passport, national identity card, biometric residence card or permit
  • a digital photo - you can take a selfie during the application
  • your National Insurance number or proof of how long you've lived in the UK
  • a mobile phone number
  • an email address - find out how to set up an email address on Which?
  • proof of your relationship if you're applying for a child or another family member - find out what evidence you can use

Decide which identity document to use

If your identity document has expired, you must renew it before you apply.

If you don’t have an identity document or can’t get hold of it, you should contact your nearest Citizens Advice

If you’re from the EU, EEA or Switzerland

You can use either your passport or a national identity card. 

It will be easier to apply if you choose an identity document that has a biometric chip. This means you can scan it and you will not have to send it to the Home Office. 

If it has a chip, it will have this symbol on it: 

If you’re from outside the EU, EEA or Switzerland

It will be easier to apply if you use a residence card with a biometric chip - if you have one. This is known as a ‘biometric residence card’. 

You have a biometric residence card if it says ‘Residence Card’ at the top and ‘EU Right to Reside’ on the back. It will also have this symbol on it:

If you have a biometric residence card

You can scan your biometric residence card when you apply. This means you don’t have to send your passport to the Home Office. You also don’t have to prove your relationship to your EU, EEA or Swiss family member.  

If you don’t have a biometric residence card

You can use your passport or a residence permit with a biometric chip. You’ll have to send them to the Home Office. 

You’ll have to provide evidence of your relationship to your EU, EEA or Swiss family member. 

You also need to have your fingerprints scanned and a photo taken. This is known as a biometric appointment. You’ll be told how to do this at the end of the online application form.

Proving how long you’ve lived in the UK

You’ll usually need to prove how long you’ve lived in the UK when you apply for settled or pre-settled status.

The easiest way to prove this is to give your National Insurance number when you apply. If you don’t give your National Insurance number, you’ll have to provide documents. 

If you’ve had months when you didn’t work or lived outside the UK, there might be gaps in your National Insurance record. You might need to provide documents to cover those gaps.

You don't need to prove how long you've lived in the UK if you:

Find your National Insurance number

You can find your National Insurance number on a payslip or letter from HM Revenue and Customs. Phone the National Insurance helpline if you can’t find it.

HM Revenue and Customs National Insurance Helpline for employees and individuals
Tel: 0300 200 3500 (Monday to Friday, from 8.00am to 5.00pm, Saturday from 8.00am to 4.00pm)
Textphone: 0300 200 3519
Tel from outside UK: +44 191 203 7010

Calls usually cost up to 40p a minute from mobiles and up to 10p a minute from landlines. It should be free if you have a contract that includes calls to landlines - check with your supplier if you’re not sure.

Find out how to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme.

Check how much evidence you need

You can include any time you’ve lived in the Channel Islands or Isle of Man as time lived in the UK.

To get pre-settled status, you only need to show you’ve lived in the UK for 1 day out of the last 6 months.

To get settled status, you only need evidence for 6 months out of every 12 months for 5 years in a row. It doesn’t have to be the last 5 years. You can provide evidence for a different 5-year period - as long as you haven’t lived outside the UK for 5 years in a row since then.

You might be able to get settled status even if you've lived outside the UK for more than 6 months out of any 12 months. Your time outside the UK still counts if you were away for any of these reasons:

  • childbirth, serious illness, study, training or being sent to work abroad by your employer - for 1 period of up to 12 months
  • compulsory military service - for any length of time
  • serving in the UK armed forces or a family member of someone in the armed forces
  • working for the UK, Scottish or Welsh governments, Northern Ireland executive or the British Council
  • a family member of someone who was working for the UK, Scottish or Welsh governments, Northern Ireland executive or the British Council

Contact your nearest Citizens Advice to get advice about what you can use as evidence for these periods outside the UK.

Check what documents you can use

All documents must have your name and a date on them.

It’s best to use documents that cover a longer period of time. You can only upload 10 documents when you apply. The Home Office will contact you if they need more documents.

If you’ve had gaps in employment

If you've had gaps in your employment, you might not have a full tax and benefits record. You'll be told during the application if you need to upload documents to prove you've been living in the UK in the periods when you weren't working.

Use evidence like:

  • council tax bills
  • mortgage statements for a house or flat
  • your tenancy agreement and evidence you've made payments - for example a bank statement or receipt
  • annual bank statements or account summaries
  • payslips
  • water, gas or electricity bills
  • other bills for your home and evidence that you've paid them - for example for repairs, home insurance or taking a pet to the vet

Find out how to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme

If you’re self-employed or run a business

If you don't have a full tax and benefits record, use evidence like:

  • annual business accounts
  • council tax bills
  • mortgage statements for a house or flat
  • your tenancy agreement and evidence that you've made payments - for example a bank statement or receipt
  • annual bank statements or account summaries
  • invoices for work you've done in the UK and evidence of payment - for example a bank statement

Find out how to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme

If you don’t work and your bills are in someone else’s name

If you don't have a full tax and benefits record and someone else pays the bills in your household, use evidence like:

  • letters or appointment cards from your GP, a hospital or other healthcare professional - for example a physiotherapist
  • annual bank statements or account summaries
  • monthly bank statements showing payments received or spending in the UK
  • a used airline, train, ferry or ship ticket that shows the date you entered the UK
  • a stamp in your passport showing you entered the UK
  • mobile phone bills in your name with your address in the UK
  • other bills for your home and evidence that you've paid them - for example for repairs, home insurance or taking a pet to the vet

If you can't get any evidence, talk to an adviser at your nearest Citizens Advice. You can ask the adviser to give you a letter proving you had an appointment.

You can also ask government departments or charities for a letter showing you had an appointment or they helped you.

Find out how to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme

If you live in a care home

If you live in a care home, use evidence like:

  • a letter from your registered care home showing you live there
  • annual bank statements or account summaries
  • pension statements
  • monthly bank statements showing payments you got or money you spent in the UK
  • letters or appointment cards from your GP, a hospital or other healthcare professional - for example a physiotherapist

Find out how to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme

If you live in a shared house

If you live in a shared house, use evidence like:

  • mobile phone bills in your name with your address in the UK
  • letters or appointment cards from your GP, a hospital or other healthcare professional - for example a physiotherapist
  • annual bank statements or account summaries
  • monthly bank statements showing payments received or spending in the UK
  • a used airline, train, ferry or ship ticket that shows the date you entered the UK
  • a stamp in your passport showing you entered the UK

If you can't get any evidence, talk to an adviser at your nearest Citizens Advice. You can ask the adviser to give you a letter proving you had an appointment.

You can also ask government departments or charities for a letter showing you had an appointment or they helped you.

Find out how to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme

If you want to prove you’ve lived in the UK for a different 5 years

It’s best to use evidence that covers longer time periods. Use evidence like:

  • tax documents - for example your P60 or P45
  • a letter from your employer confirming your employment
  • pension statements showing your employer's pension contributions
  • council tax bills
  • mortgage statements for a house or flat
  • your tenancy agreement and evidence that you've made payments - for example a bank statement or receipt
  • annual bank statements or account summaries

Find out how to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme

If you want to prove 1 day in the last 6 months

You can use evidence like a:

  • used airline, train, ferry or ship ticket that shows the date you entered the UK
  • stamp in your passport showing you entered the UK
  • monthly bank statement showing money you've spent or received in the UK
  • mobile phone bill in your name with your address in the UK
  • council tax, water, gas or electricity bill
  • letter or appointment card from your GP, a hospital or other healthcare professional - for example a physiotherapist

If you can't get any evidence, talk to an adviser at your nearest Citizens Advice. You can ask the adviser to give you a letter proving you had an appointment.

You can also ask government departments or charities for a letter showing you had an appointment or they helped you.

Find out how to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme

If you have a 'permanent residence document'

This is sometimes called a ‘document certifying permanent residence’.

You need to enter your permanent residence document number when you apply.

You will not need to enter your National Insurance number or provide documents to show how long you’ve lived in the UK.

Find out how to apply for settled status.

If you have ‘indefinite leave to remain’

You don’t have to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme to stay in the UK after Brexit. If you do apply, you need to enter the date you were given indefinite leave to remain. You might find it in a letter from the Home Office or on a stamp in your passport.

Find out more about staying in the UK after Brexit. 

Find out how to apply for settled status.

If you’ve been convicted of a crime or are waiting for a trial

When you apply to the scheme, you need to answer questions about crimes you’ve been convicted of or you’re waiting to go to court for. You only need to do this if you’re 18 or over.

What counts as a crime in the UK

You’ll have a criminal record if you were convicted of an offence at a magistrates’ court or crown court in England and Wales. If you were convicted of an offence in Scotland, it could have been at a justice of the peace court, sheriff court or high court. 

You don't have to say if you:

  • went to court for something that wasn't criminal - this is called a civil matter and includes things like debt problems and family hearings
  • had a parking fine or a fine from a local council for breaking traffic rules - this is known as a 'penalty charge notice'
  • committed a driving offence and you didn't get a summons from a court
  • were given a warning or caution at a police station

If you think you have a criminal record or you're waiting to go to court, you should get advice from your nearest Citizens Advice before you apply. 

The Home Office will check UK and international criminal records. Your application could be rejected if you lie about your criminal record or a crime you’ve been charged with.

If you’re under 18

You will not be asked questions about crime but the Home Office will check criminal records in the UK. If you think you have a criminal record, you should should get advice from your nearest Citizens Advice before you apply. 

Find out how to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme

 

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