Skip to navigation Skip to content Skip to footer

Preparing to apply for pre-settled and settled status

This advice applies to Wales

You can apply to the EU Settlement Scheme to stay in the UK after 30 June 2021 if you're:

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

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. 

If you want to apply for your family, find out what you need for their applications.

Decide when to apply

When it’s best for you to apply will depend on how long you’ve lived in the UK. The final deadline to apply is 30 June 2021. You should apply by 31 December 2020 because your rights will change after that date.

If you’ve lived in the UK for 5 years or more

You can apply at any time. You’ll usually get ‘settled status’. This allows you to live and work in the UK for as long as you like.

If you've lived in the UK for less than 5 years

You can apply straight away for 'pre-settled status'. This allows you to stay in the UK for 5 years from the date you get your status.

If you want to stay in the UK as long as you like you can:

  • wait until you've lived in the UK for a total of 5 years and apply for settled status - but you must apply by 31 December 2020
  • apply now for pre-settled status and apply again later for settled status when you've lived in the UK for a total of 5 years - this includes the time before you got pre-settled status

You only need to show you've lived in the UK for 1 day in the last 6 months to get pre-settled status.

If you stopped work because you were ill or injured or you’ve retired

You and your family might be able to get settled status even if you’ve lived in the UK for less than 5 years. You should get advice from your nearest Citizens Advice before you apply. 

Gather everything you need to apply

It's worth getting all your details together before you apply to save you time.

You need:

  • an identity document - for example, your passport
  • a digital photo - you can take a selfie during the application
  • your National Insurance number - to prove how long you've lived in the UK
  • a mobile phone number
  • an email address

You might also need other documents to prove how long you've lived in the UK or your relationship to a family member. 

If you have 'permanent residence'

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

You’ll also need an identity document, National Insurance number, phone and email address.

You’re unlikely to need documents to show how long you’ve lived in the UK - unless you’ve lived outside the UK since you got permanent residence.

Check if you have a permanent residence document

If you’re from the EU or EEA, you’ll have a blue card. If you’re from Switzerland, you’ll have a pink card. It will have a certificate inside saying either ‘Document Certifying Permanent Residence’ or ‘Permanent Residence Card (of an EEA National)’.

If you’re not from the EU, EEA or Switzerland, it’s a certificate inside your passport or a residence card with a biometric chip.

If you have 'indefinite leave to remain'

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.

You also need an identity document, National Insurance number, phone and email address.

Check what identity documents you can use

If you're an EU, European Economic Area (EEA) or Swiss citizen, you can use a valid passport or national identity card. If it's expired, you need to renew it before you apply. You can do this at your country's UK embassy or consulate.

If you're from a country outside the EU, EEA or Switzerland, you can use your:

  • passport - if it's expired you need to renew it before you apply
  • residence card with a biometric chip (known as a 'biometric residence card')
  • residence permit with a biometric chip (known as a 'biometric residence permit')

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

Decide which phone number to use

You need to enter your phone number when you apply. You must use a mobile phone number.

You need to use a phone number you plan to keep for a while. You’ll need it in the future to sign in to your online status to prove your right to live in the UK.

Get an email address

You need an email address to apply. If you don’t have one, find out how to set up an email address on the Which? website.

You need to use an email address you plan to keep for a while. You’ll need it in the future to sign in to your online status to prove your right to live in the UK.

Find your National Insurance number

Your National Insurance number will be used to check your records during the application to work out how long you’ve lived in the UK.  

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.

If you don’t give a National Insurance number, you need to provide documents to show how long you’ve lived in the UK.

You don't need a National Insurance number if you link your application to a family member. You can do this if you're:

  • under 21 years old
  • from a country outside the EU, EEA and Switzerland 

Find out how to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme.

If you need to show how long you’ve lived in the UK

You’ll be asked for extra evidence if you don’t give a National Insurance number or there are gaps or mistakes in your records.  You can take photos or scan your documents and upload them during your application.

If you’re not sure if you need extra evidence, it’s worth starting your application. You don’t have to do the whole application in one go - you can save your answers and come back later.

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

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

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.

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

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.

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 need to prove your relationship to another family member

If you’re applying for a child under 21 or another family member, find out what evidence you can use to prove your family relationship

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.

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

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

Did this advice help?
Why wasn't this advice helpful?
Did this advice help?

Thank you, your feedback has been submitted.