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EU Londoners Hub

The Mayor, Sadiq Khan, has been clear that EU citizens living in London belong and are welcome in our great city.

To make sure EU citizens and their families have all the information they need about living in London after Brexit we have created this hub. We have launched a few resource sections to give you clear and impartial information and, if required, guide you to further support and advice. This page will continue to be updated.

Brexit: what this means for EU Londoners

The UK voted to leave the European Union in June 2016. Below we have provided answers to some of the questions you may have about this decision and how Brexit impacts you.

What is Brexit?

Brexit is the popular term for the process of the UK leaving the EU, as a result of the referendum held on 23 June 2016. 

In March 2017, Prime Minister Theresa May gave official notice to the EU of the UK’s intention to leave the EU - referred to as the Article 50 notice. This was the start of a two-year negotiation process to agree the terms under which the UK would leave, and what its future relationship with the EU would be. 

The UK has been a member of the EU since 1973. This means that many structures, arrangements and agreements currently in place as part of the UK’s membership of the EU will become redundant when the UK leaves the EU. New structures, arrangement and agreements will need to replace these, which will come under UK law, not EU law.

What is the impact of Brexit on European Londoners?

Londoners, from whatever background or nationality, are resilient and resourceful, able to adapt to change and welcome new opportunities. But not all change is easy and desired, or even in our control. Whatever your thoughts on Brexit, it will have a significant impact on everyone’s lives. 

This will be true of those who hold passports of the other 27 European Union (EU) countries, as well as citizens of non-EU countries like Norway, Liechtenstein and Iceland (also known as EEA countries) and Switzerland, who settled here under Freedom of Movement rights. Europeans resident in the United Kingdom (UK) under Freedom of Movement will see their residence status change when the UK leaves the EU. The UK Government has agreed with the EU a new status for these residents, to allow them to continue living and working in the country. This new residence status is called Settled Status. EU27 citizens resident in the UK will need to apply for this through a process managed by the Home Office of the UK Government.

The Mayor of London has no legislative powers over this process as it is within the remit of the UK's national government, however he wants to ensure that Londoners from the EU, EEA and Switzerland, as well as third country nationals reliant on the rights of EU relatives are able to remain part of and make a full contribution to our community. 

These guidance pages are intended to give you access to clear and impartial information and, if required, guide you to sources for further support and advice. The pages do not provide legal advice and the GLA is unable to do so.

What will be the future relationship between the EU and the UK?

Much of this has yet to be agreed and several scenarios have been discussed widely in the media, including the prospect of leaving the EU with no agreement, or ‘no deal’. This would have a serious impact on organisations, businesses and individuals who rely on EU regulations and arrangements agreed under EU treaties. 

However, the UK and the EU have stated that the protection of the current status and the right to stay and to work of EU27 citizens in the UK (and UK citizens in the rest of the EU) is a priority, whatever happens.

In their Statement of Intent issued on the 21 June 2018, the UK Government states: 

"Securing the rights of citizens has always been our priority in negotiations with the European Union (EU). We have delivered on this commitment and reached an agreement with the EU guaranteeing the rights of EU citizens living in the UK and of UK nationals living in the EU. EU citizens living in the UK, along with their family members, will be able to stay and continue their lives, with the same access to work, study, benefits and public services that they enjoy now. Existing close family members living overseas will be able to join them here in future."

What does this mean for EU citizens in London?

This means that you will be able to stay in London and you will be able to live your life pretty much as you do now when the UK leaves the EU. Your current residence status will be protected, you will be able to work as now and access services and healthcare. However, you will have to apply for a new residence status, which confirms that you live in the UK and have the right to do so. This is called Settled Status or pre-Settled Status.

What does this mean for EEA citizens from Norway, Liechtenstein and Iceland, or Switzerland?

The rights of citizens from other EEA countries, Norway, Liechtenstein and Iceland, as well as those from Switzerland, are still to be negotiated. It is the intention of the UK Government to treat these citizens the same as EU27 citizens, but we will update these pages as soon as there is more information.

What are Settled Status and pre-Settled Status?

EU regulations for Freedom of Movement will no longer apply to the UK after December 2020, so the UK Government is making it compulsory for EU citizens, along with their family members, who wish to remain legally in the UK after 31 December 2020, to apply for a new residence status. This is called Settled Status and it grants Indefinite Leave to Remain to successful applicants.

The UK Government and the Home Office have stated that they expect that the vast majority of applicants will be successful, with only very few exceptions related to convictions for serious crimes. You will have to provide evidence that you have lived in the UK for five consecutive years (continuous residence) to be eligible for Settled Status when you apply. If you can’t, but have entered the UK on or before 31 December 2020, you may be granted pre-Settled Status. Pre-Settled Status can be changed to Settled Status once you have five years of continuous residence in the UK.

Why would you need to apply for Settled Status or pre-Settled Status?

Settled Status guarantees your right to reside in the UK after 30 June 2021, which is the end of the six month grace period after the 31 December 2020 deadline for applications to be submitted. If you are an EU citizen and you want to continue to live and work in the UK, to have the same access to benefits, public services and healthcare, the right to study and rent accommodation after 31 December 2020, you will need this new status. If you are a family member of an EU citizen, or an EEA citizen from Norway, Liechtenstein, or a citizen of Iceland or Switzerland this may also apply to you, even if you yourself are not a citizen of any of these countries.

Who needs to apply?

If you and your family members are citizens from any of the 27 EU states (EU27) and live in the UK, you will all have to apply. This includes Third Country nationals - whose immigration status is dependent on an EU27 family member.

This does not apply to Irish citizens, or EU citizens who have Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) or Indefinite Leave to Enter the UK (ILE), but they may still want to apply. People with a valid Permanent Residence (PR) document will need to exchange this for Settled Status as their document will become invalid after 31 December 2020. You can find further information under the Eligibility section.

If you already hold British nationality in addition to that of a EU27 country, you do not need to apply for Settled Status. However, not all EU27 states allow their citizens to hold nationality of another state in addition to their own, which is known as dual citizenship.

What are your rights as a settled EU citizen after Brexit?

With Settled Status you will broadly keep the same rights as now. You will be able to stay in the UK as long as you like. You will be able to work in the UK, use the NHS, study and have access to public funds such as benefits and pensions, if you are eligible for these. Existing close family members living outside the UK will be able to join you here in the future in the same way they can now.

Some rights, such as the right to vote, and stand as a candidate in local and regional elections are still to be confirmed. Future spouses or family members, with the exception of children born to you, will be subject to future UK immigration law. 

With Settled Status you can also leave the UK for extended periods of time, but if you are absent for five years or more, you will lose your status and can only return as a new immigrant subject to any new immigration rules. 

Settled Status also allows you to apply for British Citizenship, provided you meet the criteria for this.

Settled Status: application process

The government's Settled Status scheme is still being developed and therefore some details may change.

The application process will open to all applicants from the end of March 2019 until the end of the grace period (six months after 31 December 2020), which is 30 June 2021. However, you will need to have entered the UK before or on 31 December 2020 to be able to apply.

Applications received after 30 June 2021 will be accepted only in very exceptional circumstances.

The following guidance will help you find out about your status and what you and your family members will need to complete an application.

We will regularly update this hub with new information as soon as we are aware of any changes.

Can I apply for Settled Status or pre-Settled Status?

If you have lived in the UK continuously for five years or more (and at least six months continuously in each of the five years), you can apply for Settled Status. In the application process you will be asked to confirm your identity, provide evidence of the length of your stay in the UK and be asked to declare any serious criminal convictions.

If you have lived in the UK for less than five years by the end of December 2020, you will be able to apply for pre-Settled Status. Once you reach five years of continuous residence, you will then be able to apply for Settled Status at no extra cost.

What if I already have Permanent Residence or Indefinite Leave to Remain or Indefinite Leave to Enter status?

Settled Status is in effect Indefinite Leave to Remain. People who have Indefinite Leave to Remain or Indefinite Leave to Enter the UK already have the right to remain in the UK. However, they might wish to apply for Settled Status to obtain the additional rights agreed under the Withdrawal Agreement, such as the right to a five-year absence and the right to be joined by eligible family members. 

People who hold a valid Permanent Residence document will have to exchange this for Settled Status, as the Permanent Residence document will become invalid on 31 December 2020. During the application process you can indicate whether you have Indefinite Leave to Remain or Permanent Residence and do not have to provide proof of residence in the UK or pay a fee.

If you held ILR and cannot provide proof of this, for instance you have lost your documents or they have been destroyed for some reason, and you arrived in the UK before 31 December 1988, you may also be able to apply under the Windrush Scheme.

In both cases the application will be free of charge and you will not need to provide evidence of the length of your stay in the UK.

If you are uncertain about your rights, always seek independent legal advice. Resources available to you in London can be found on our support services page.

Does this also apply to Irish citizens?

Irish citizens have a right of residence in the UK that is not reliant on the UK’s membership of the EU and are considered ‘settled’ from the moment they took residence in the UK. They will therefore not be required to apply for the new status under the scheme, although they are not excluded from doing so if they so wish. Family members of Irish citizens who are EU citizens or non-EEA nationals will need to apply for Settled Status.

Eligible family members of Irish Citizens living in the UK from non-EU countries will be able to obtain Settled Status under the scheme without the Irish citizen doing so.

Do children need to apply?

All family members will need to apply individually, although parents or guardians will need to complete the applications on behalf of children under the age of 18 in their care. Children under the age of 21 of parents with Settled Status, will be eligible for Settled Status upon application, even if they have lived in the UK for less than five years. The fee will still apply and a full application is required, but if parents have proof of their continuous residence, it will be presumed that dependent children will have this too. This applies also to children who arrive in the UK after 31 December 2020.

Children born in the UK with one parent who is already a UK citizen, or has Permanent Residence or Settled Status when they were born, are British citizens and do not need to naturalise or register. Some exceptions may apply to this. You can find out more information about whether a child might already be British.

For children who have been adopted, a legal adoption document that is recognised in the UK will have to be provided. Children born or adopted after 31 December 2020 will also be protected

Read examples of how Settled Status and pre-Settled Status applies to different families.

What about people who need more help?

The Home Office is aware that there are many reasons why people will not have easy access to information, or are not able to understand or navigate through the system without assistance. They may not have access to computers or know how to use one, they may have a limited understanding of the English language, they may have a disability or other health issues that prevent them from engaging with the application process easily or without support. For people who can access the Internet but find it difficult to navigate, there will be a service called Digital Assist. We will provide further details when we become aware of this.

The Home Office has consulted with user groups that represent a variety of communities and is learning from a series of trial application processes in real situations. However, this remains an area of particular concern and individual conditions and circumstances of applicants may mean they require specific support. The government intend to work with relevant organisations that can help in identifying and reaching out to those eligible to apply for Settled Status, as well as to put in place specific support to them with making their application. This could include people in care, people that are hospitalised for a longer period and the elderly, as well as travelling communities (Roma) and those with no fixed address. The Mayor has already funded organisations to provide this support in London.

We will update these pages as further details become available. We have identified independent support and advice services in London that may be able to assist.

What if you have Dual Citizenship?

For EU27 nationals who also have a British passport nothing will change. You will continue to be able to access the same rights as now and you do not need to apply for Settled Status. However, you will still retain the rights agreed in the draft Withdrawal Agreement. See the next section for more details.

Can I apply for British Citizenship?

If you hold a valid Permanent Residence (PR) document or have Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR), you may also be able to apply for British Citizenship. You can also do this once you have been granted Settled Status. However, not all EU27 nations allow their citizens to hold a passport of another nation, or only under specific circumstances, so you may have to lose your current nationality. 

If you are eligible for British Citizenship and want to apply for this, it may be good to check first with your embassy whether you can retain the passport of your country of birth and under what conditions. Find out how to apply for British Citizenship and find contact details of the EU27 embassies in London.

What about non-EU family members and dependants?

Proof of your relationship to your EU citizen family member (for example, a birth, marriage or civil partnership certificate) can be scanned and submitted through the online application form. You will also need to provide evidence of your family member’s identity and residence and your fingerprints and a photo of your face at an application centre in the UK, unless you already have a biometric residence card.

EU Citizens who are resident in the UK by 31 December 2020, can be joined by current family members, even if these are not EU citizens themselves. This is also the case for those who obtain of have obtained British citizenship in addition to the citizenship of the country of their origin. They will retain the rights that allow them to be joined automatically by a current non-EU family member after 31 December 2020. This follows the judgment in the Lounes case. UK citizens may not have this automatic right.

This does not apply to British Citizens who have obtained an EU27 passport (including Irish), to enable them to retain the right to Freedom of Movement in the EU, but still reside in the UK.  As they did not immigrate into the UK and are not considered to have exercised their treaty rights and will be treated as a British citizen for this purpose.

If you are not certain about the status of dependents and family members, you may want to ask for independent advice.

What about EU citizens temporarily living outside of the UK?

Currently you can live outside the UK for a maximum of two years, before you lose Indefinite Leave to Remain or Permanent Residence. Under the draft Withdrawal Agreement agreed between the EU and the UK, this will be extended to five years for Settled Status. 

If you are currently living abroad after having lived in the UK for a while and intend to return, you should do this before the cut-off date of 31 December 2020 to qualify for Settled Status or pre-Settled Status, depending on the number of years you lived in the UK before your absence.

There may be circumstances under which you cannot return by that date, but may still be eligible to apply. There is currently no indication of a provision to apply from abroad, but the Home Office is aware that this is an area that needs to be addressed. We will update this page when more information becomes available.

What happens if an EU citizen arrives after the cut-off date? (Post Brexit immigration rules)

If you arrive after the cut-off date of 31 December 2020 your right to stay in the UK will be considered under any new immigration rules to be put in place after Brexit. So, unless anything else is agreed between the UK and EU and you are not a direct relative of an EU family member with Settled Status in the UK, you will be treated like any other national arriving here and the immigration legislation relevant at that time will apply to you.

Nothing of what I've read so far fits with my particular family circumstances. Where can I find further information?

There are a number of other cases in which, for instance, children or carers can derive from EU citizens who reside or have resided in the UK, or where the non-EU carers of EU citizens in the UK can derive rights from those they care for. Free Movement has more information on both.

If any of this applies to you or you are in any way concerned about your rights or the rights of your family members, it will be good to ask for independent advice. We have compiled a list of accredited organisations and other resources in London that may be able to help.

How can I apply? (Mobile app, online, paper, library)

Applications can be completed online and the Home Office will release a mobile phone app to support the application process. The app will be fully functional on smart phones with Android. You will be able to scan your passport and it can read the chip with biometric data. The iPhone app will not be able to scan your passport or biometric ID, meaning you will need to send your documents to the Home Office if you choose to make the application on an iPhone. The Home Office has said they will return these as soon as they can.

Applications will mostly be done via the app or online. Paper applications are possible, but will be limited and there is no detailed information available at this stage about this. Paper applications will require that you send your ID card or passport by post, or you may be able to have them verified at dedicated centres.

If you need specific assistance with the online process you will be able to use a system called Assisted Digital. A triage process will determine which level of help best suits your needs and the service will be free to use. For this group of people who need specific help, the Home Office is looking into using a range of locations such as city centre libraries and other designated centres. Face to face assistance is also considered in exceptional cases. Details of this will be released later this year or early next year.

What documents and other information do I need?

You will need a valid passport or biometric national identity card. A biometric document contains a chip (like a bank card has a chip) that holds information on you.

You will need proof of residence in the UK, unless you already have a valid Permanent Residence document, or Indefinite Leave to Remain or Indefinite Leave to Enter the UK. If you have paid tax through work or received benefits, you can use your National Insurance number to help confirm that you have been residing in the UK. 

If there is not enough information held on national databases, such as HMRC or DWP, you will be asked for further evidence to prove your continuous residence. This could include: 

  • P60s or P45s
  • Payslips
  • Bank statements
  • Utility bills, Council Tax bills, phone bills
  • Annual business accounts
  • Employer contracts or letters confirming employment
  • Letters, invoices or certificates from accredited educational organisations
  • Passport stamps confirming entry at the UK border
  • Airline or train tickets confirming travel into the UK 

You will be able to submit scans of these documents through the online application form. You will not need to provide evidence of your entire residence in the UK, only for the period that proves you are eligible for Settled or pre-Settled Status.

If you are from outside the EU, any of the other three EEA countries or Switzerland you will need to provide evidence of your relationship to a family member from the EU living in the UK.

If you are not able to provide any further information or proof of residence, the Home Office has stated it will engage with you further to help determine your residence in the UK. 

There is a useful checklist of documents and information that would be good for you to keep safe for when the application process starts.

Criminality checks

You will be asked to declare any serious criminal convictions in the UK and overseas, or those of any child over the age of 10 for whom you are submitting an application for. These will be checked against the UK's crime databases. If you have only been arrested or convicted of a minor offence, you will still be eligible to apply for Settled or pre-Settled Status. Speeding fines, for instance, will not be taken into account.

Offences and convictions will be assessed on a case by case basis and it may well be a good idea to seek independent legal advice prior to making your application if you have had more than one conviction or a custodial sentence of 12 months or more. We have provided a list of independent legal advisors.

Is there a cost and how do I pay?

Each application will cost £65 for children and adults of 16 years and older and £32.50 for a child under 16 years old. However, it will be free if:

  • you already have Indefinite Leave to Remain or Indefinite Leave to Enter the UK
  • you have a valid Permanent Residence document
  • you are applying to move from pre-Settled Status to Settled Status
  • you are a child in local authority care

You will be asked to pay by card at the end of the application process but you can ask someone else to do this for you.

Additional information

Applying from abroad

At present, applications will have to be made in the UK and will be open to people considered ‘resident’ before midnight on 31 December 2020. 

It will also include those previously resident in the UK who are outside the UK on that date but who have maintained 'continuity of residence' here. For example, those who are continuously resident in the UK but who happen to be abroad on business or holiday or living overseas temporarily on 31 December 2020 will be able to make an application when they return to the UK. 

The Home Office is currently considering ‘in country applications’, that is to say applications made from abroad, but a decision has yet to be made. This could apply, for instance, to people with Permanent Residence who have not been out of the country for more than two years.

Do I get proof of Settled Status/pre-Settled Status?

If you are granted Settled Status you will not get a document to prove this. However, if you are ever required to provide proof of your status, for example, for a new employer, landlord or other health practitioner, you can provide them with an access code and web link, so they can confirm electronically your status. They will not have access to any other information about you through this link.

Appeal and oversight

You can appeal a decision to reject your application any time after 29 March 2019 and you can reapply as many times as you want up to 30 June 2021, however, you will be charged for each application. 

There is no clarity at this stage on the detail of the appeal process. However, the establishment of an independent authority to oversee the process has been agreed in the draft Withdrawal Agreement. We will update these pages as soon as further information emerges.

Conditions for retaining Settled Status once granted

To retain Settled Status you should not leave the UK for more than a continuous period of five years, or be convicted of a serious crime. Otherwise there are no barriers that we are aware of to retain your Settled Status and to remain in the UK as you are now. If we find out more information we will update this page.

Future rights

Much of this will depend on the final nature of the settlement between the UK and the EU and the arrangements for oversight that are agreed but your rights will become part of UK law. This means there may be changes over time and there is currently no lifetime guarantee that all your rights will remain the same.

We will provide further details as this becomes clear. 

Support services for European Londoners

This hub provides independent guidance to EU citizens and citizens from Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Switzerland and their families who live in London.

The aim is to help you prepare for your Settled Status application. If you require more information than what is on this page, you can search our list of support services for access to reliable, accredited and trusted sources of further support and information.

We've also provided a glossary to help explain some of the terms on this hub. This information does not amount to legal advice and should not be relied on exclusively.

You can also sign up for updates on the Home Office information site.

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