By Tara Materesi, Legal Intern

The Home Office launched the EU Settlement Scheme in 2019, which processes the registration of EU citizens living in the UK prior to its departure from the European Union. 

EU citizens will be able to apply for the EU Settlement Scheme until 30 June 2021. This is when the Citizens’ Rights Regulations 2020 and the Immigration Act 2020 brings free movement laws to an end.

Under free movement laws, EEA citizens and their family members were able to apply for permanent residence documents (if they have lived in the UK for at least 5 years) and non-EEA family members could apply for UK residence cards and derivative residence cards if they had been living in the UK for less than 5 years. However, this has now been replaced by a newer pre-settled status.

It is important to note that it is vital that citizens apply before 30 June as they risk being unlawful residents in the UK. Though it is unclear exactly how the UK government will react if a large number of residents do not apply before this date, it is best to avoid being subject to hostility from the government.

Find out more about the EU Settlement Scheme  here.

Who should apply for a pre-settled status?

You should apply if:

  • You are an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen
  • You are not an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen but your family member is (or is an eligible person of Northern Ireland)
  • You were born in the UK but are not a British citizen.
  • You have a UK ‘permanent residence document’

What if I have a permanent residence document? 

Your permanent residence document will not be valid after 30 June 2021.

Those who have a permanent residence document can essentially swap it for full settled status. If they have been living in the UK for at least 5 years, those who hold a residence card or derivative residence card may apply for settled status (pre-settled status if they have not resided in the UK for 5 years yet). It is unnecessary to switch to settled status for those who have been granted British citizenship.

What is the eligibility criteria for the pre-settled status? 

The two main conditions are: 

  • The residence began before 11.00pm on 31 December 2020 
  • The individual has been a resident in the UK in the past six months.

May I apply for the pre-settled status from outside the UK? 

As long as you have proof of residence in the UK in the last six months, you may apply for the pre-settled status from outside the UK.

How long is the pre-settled status granted for?

A pre-settled status is granted for a period of five years. This duration does not vary with the time you have spent as a resident in the UK. 

How do I convert my pre-settled status into a settled status? 

It is important to note that this conversion does not happen automatically. After completing the 5 year period, you must apply for settled status before the pre-settled status visa expires.


Woodcock Law is well placed and highly experienced in providing advice and assistance on making an application under the EU Settlement Scheme. We can assist you in making the online application and help to ensure your application is processed efficiently without unnecessary delays. 

Contact us if you need any assistance on 0800 049 2471 or email