In the UK before Brexit

Guidance in European languages

Translations of guidance on the EU Settlement Scheme in European languages can be found on the Home Office website.


As a deal was agreed before the UK left the EU the rights of European nationals, and their family members who we already resident in the UK, or arrived before the end of the Brexit transition period on 31 December 2020, remain unchanged. Where we refer to European or EU nationals or citizens we are including those from countries in the EU, EEA and EFTA.

Key points:

  • Europeans and their family members who were resident in the UK before the end of the transition period (31 December 2020) should have applied for Pre-Settled or Settled status before the 30 June 2021 deadline. If someone has reasonable grounds for missing this deadline, however, they may be able to submit a late application. Anyone within the collegiate University who has missed the deadline to apply should contact either or in the Staff Immigration Team for advice as soon as possible.
  • Family members of Europeans who have Pre-Settled or Settled status can come to join them in the UK but will need an EUSS Family Permit before travelling to the UK, and when applying will have to show that their relationship existed before 1 January 2021. See the section below for more information.
  • European nationals coming to the UK for the first time from 1 January 2021 onwards will need to apply for a visa, or enter the UK, under the correct UK visa route for their planned work or other activities, see the Arriving after Brexit page for more information.
  • Irish nationals are not affected by the changes since the Brexit referendum as they automatically have settled rights in the UK under ‘Common Travel Area’ (CTA) arrangements which date from before Ireland and the UK joined the EU. Irish nationals do not need to apply for Settled status, but they can apply if they wish. The UK and Irish governments in May 2019 signed a Memorandum of Understanding reaffirming their joint commitment to the CTA. More information is provided in UK government guidance on rights under the CTA.


More information on some issues is provided below but if you wish to discuss your status or have questions about the EU Settlement Scheme, or any other issues, please contact either or in the Staff Immigration Team.

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From 1 July 2021 European nationals, and their family members (including children) who were resident in the UK before 31 December 2020 but have not applied for Pre-Settled or Settled status will be here unlawfully. The Home Secretary, however, has confirmed that applications can be made after the deadline if there are 'reasonable grounds' why an application was not made on time.

Home Office guidance on what could constitute 'reasonable grounds' can be found (on pages 26 to 44) in a guidance document for their caseworkers who consider applications. The Home Office have also published information for late applicants, and published a useful article in April on Late applications to the EU Settlement Scheme.

If you haven't submitted an application for yourself or your family, including children, you should contact contact either or in the Staff Immigration Team to discuss, and submit an application as soon as possible once you have evidence of your 'reasonable grounds' for missing the deadline.

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The deadline to apply for Pre-Settled status was 30 June 2021 but the EU Settlement Scheme remains open for late applications, Settled status applications, and Pre-Settled status applications for 'Joining family members' coming to the UK from 1 July 2021 onwards.

Pre-Settled status is granted to those who have been living in the UK for less than five years, Settled status is for those who have lived in the UK for five years or more.

There is no application fee but non-European family members may have to pay a fee when booking an appointment to submit their biometric information (have their fingerprints and photograph taken) as part of their application.

Applications are made online and the simplest way to apply is through the Android or Apple iPhone app which scans the applicant’s passport. As no data is stored in the app applicants can borrow a friend or family member’s phone if theirs cannot run the application app.

The Home Office's Using the 'EU Exit: ID Document Check' app page provides information about using the Android and new iPhone apps, including the required phone specifications.

Non-European family members, and Europeans who do not have a biometric passport will not be able to apply through the phone app and will instead need to submit an application online and then either post their ID documents to the Home Office or attend an ID Document Scanning Location where they can have their passport scanned. ID Document Scanning is available in the Oxford Register Office but the Home Office website also provides a facility to enter your postcode to find your nearest ID Document scanning location.

The Home Office have now also published forms which can be used to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme by post or email. These forms are provided for applicants who cannot apply using the Android or Apple iPhone app because they do not have a biometric passport, or their passport has expired and they have been unable to renew it due to delays at their Embassy, for example.

Those using the ‘ID Document Scanner Locations’ must not start their application before attending their appointment.



More information can be found in Home Office guidance on applying for Pre-Settled or Settled status through the EU Settlement Scheme.

A video guide to the EU Settlement Scheme is provided by Smith Stone Walters, a UK immigration solicitors firm.

A detailed video walkthrough which steps through the application process is provided by

Processing times

The Home Office provide information on processing times for applications made through the EU Settlement Scheme, which states that most applications for European nationals take around 5 working days, but applications for non-European family members, or where more documents are requested can take longer. Processing times have been slower and less predictable this year due to Covid-19.

If you have queries or problems

If you have any queries about applying through the EU Settlement Scheme, the Staff Immigration Team are happy to help; please contact either or

If you encounter technical or other problems with an application you can contact the Home Office EU Settlement Resolution Centre:

If you have contacted the EU Settlement Resolution Centre but are still encountering problems or delays with your application, the Staff Immigration Team will do all they can to assist; please contact either: or

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Home Office guidance explains that those who have been granted Pre-Settled or Settled status must then keep their details updated so that they can view and prove their rights. If you do not provide details of a new passport to the Home Office your Pre-Settled or Settled status will remain linked to your previous passport and you will encounter complications and delays when travelling or seeking to show your status using your new passport.

The online update service must be used to report changes to the following details:

  • mobile phone number
  • email address
  • name
  • identity document/ passport
  • UK address

The Home Office also provide a useful guide on how you view and prove your Pre-Settled or Settled status.

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Family members (European or non-European) of European nationals resident in the UK before 31 December 2020, will need to apply for and be issued an 'EUSS (EU Settlement Scheme) Family Permit' before travelling to the UK.

Before the UK left the EU it was possible in some cases for non-European family members to be issued a 'Family Permit' as they entered the UK with their European family member, but now an EUSS Family Permit must always be obtained before travel to the UK.

Once the family member has come to the UK they can present their 'EUSS Family Permit' to evidence their right to work, right to rent, and to be able to open a bank account. They must then apply for Pre Settled status within three months after arriving in the UK.

In order to apply for an EUSS Family Permit, the European national in the UK must have Pre-Settled or Settled status and their relationship with the family member joining them in the UK must have existed before 31 December 2020 and must be continuing.

If a couple are not married or in a civil partnership they will need to show evidence of a 'durable relationship' before 31 December 2020 in the form of documents showing they had lived together for at least two years before that point. If a couple are married or enter into a civil partnership after 31 December 2020 they will still have have to show a 'durable relationship' (at least two years cohabitation) before 31 December 2020.

It may also be possible to apply for an 'EUSS Family Permit' for a:

  • child or grandchild aged under 21,
  • dependent child or grandchild of any age, or
  • dependent parent or grandparent

of either the European national who was resident in the UK before 31 December 2020, or their partner. In applications for dependent children, grandchildren, parents or grandparents evidence will need to be provided showing how they are dependant financially or on health care grounds.

Home Office guidance on applications for an 'EUSS Family Permit' is found on their pages about joining your European family member in the UK. The Staff Immigration Team can help with queries about applying for an 'EUSS Family Permit'. Please contact either: or

In some cases British citizens who have been living in Europe may be able to bring their family with them under the EUSS if they are moving back to the UK before 29 March 2022. As this is a specialised and complex area of the EUSS rules the Staff Immigration Team can help with inital queries but anyone thinking of applying on this basis will probably need to seek their own legal advice.

The Covid-19 pandemic, has resulted in many European staff working remotely outside the UK, and they should be aware of the following:

Settled status

If you have already been granted Settled status, you can remain outside the UK for up to 5 years without affecting your status. Returning to the UK, even for one day, during a five year period of absence will mean that you won’t lose your settled status and it will reset the clock for another 5 years.

Pre-Settled status

If you hold Pre-Settled status, you can remain outside the UK for up to 2 years without your Pre-Settled status being cancelled BUT if your absence outside the UK is more than 6 months in any 12 month period (or 12 months for an 'important reason', such as pregnancy and childbirth, serious illness, study or vocational training or an overseas work posting) it will break your continuity of residence. While you could remain in the UK for the five years, a long absence might mean that you do not qualify for Settled status at the end of that time. You might then have to apply for a UK work visa (at significant expense) instead.

Absences due to Covid-19

Originally, Home Office guidance took a strict position that periods outside the UK due to Covid-19 would only be seen as an 'important reason' for a longer absence if were ill with Covid-19, were self-isolating, or physically could not return to the UK due to travel restrictions. This meant that if you could have returned to the UK, but chose not to, this would be counted the same as any other absence and could cause you to exceed the limit and break your continuous residence for Settled status.

Thankfully, new much more flexible Home Office guidance includes a much wider range of circumstances which may be seen as an 'important reason' for a longer absence which would not break your continuous residence for Settled status. Now in addition to your having been ill with Covid-19, self-isolating, or unable to travel, other examples include where you were:

  • caring for a family member affected by Covid-19
  • advised by your university that, due to Covid-19, your course was moved to remote learning and you were advised or allowed to return to your home country
  • advised by your university or employer not to return to the UK, and to continue studying or working remotely
  • absent from the UK for another reason relating to Covid-19, for example:
    • you left or remained outside the UK because there were fewer coronavirus restrictions elsewhere,
    • you preferred to work or run a business from home overseas, or
    • you would have been unemployed in the UK and preferred to rely on support from family or friends overseas

It may now also be possible to have two absences of over six, up to twelve, months if one of these was due to Covid-19.

If you are applying for Settled status and are relying on these issues linked to Covid-19 being an 'important reason' for a longer permitted absence you will need to provide additional evidence with your application to show the length of, and reason for, these absences linked to Covid-19. This is also discussed in the new more flexible Home Office guidance.

As you may not be applying for Settled status until some time in the future we would recommend considering, collating, and retaining documents to serve as evidence of any longer absences due to Covid-19, as this may be difficult to find later if they are not obtained at the time.


If you have any concerns as to your status in the UK now or your eligibility for Settled status, please contact either or in the Staff Immigration Team or obtain legal advice, to ensure the duration of absences outside UK will not affect your continued rights to stay in the UK without having to obtain a UK work visa.

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Those who have held Settled Status for 12 months should be able to apply for Naturalisation as a British citizen, but if they are married to, or the civil partner of a British citizen they are exempt from this 12 month waiting time and can apply for citizenship as soon as they have Settled status.

When applying for British citizenship Europeans will have to evidence that they have been a ‘qualified person’ (a worker, self-employed, a student with Comprehensive Sickness Insurance, or self-sufficient with Comprehensive Sickness Insurance) under the previous rules for Europeans, or they have been the family member of a European who has been a 'qualified person', during the five year qualifying period for citizenship.

The requirement to have held Comprehensive Sickness Insurance (CSI) during any periods as students or self-sufficient can be complex, and some who cannot meet this requirement may not be eligible to apply for British citizenship. The Staff Immigration Team can answer queries on and discuss this requirement but those affected may have obtain legal advice.

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Europeans coming as a Frontier Worker must obtain a 'Frontier Worker permit' before travelling to the UK

There is no deadline to apply for a 'Frontier Worker permit', but from 1 July 2021 Frontier Workers coming to the UK must obtain one before they next travel to the UK. It will normally be valid for five years and can be extended.


European citizens who live outside the UK but have travelled back and forth to work in the UK since before 31 December 2020 are 'Frontier Workers’ if they:

  • are not primarily resident in the UK (they spend less than 180 days in the UK in any 12 month period and return to their home outside the UK at least twice every 12 months)
  • worked (as an employee or self-employed) in the UK at least once in the 12 months prior to 11pm on 31 December 2020 and will continue to work in the UK
  • have come to the UK to work at least once every 12 months since then (or meet requirements to retain their status while temporarily unable to work due to illness, an accident, or involuntary unemployment)
  • carry out 'genuine and effective' work in the UK (they are not just in the UK to attend interviews, meetings or briefings, for example)

Those who have been working in this way will be able to continue to do so but will need a 'Frontier Worker permit'. Full details of the 'Frontier Worker permit' requirements and application process are found on the Home Office website, but some points to note are:

  • there is no application fee
  • applicants do not have to pay the Immigration Health (NHS) Surcharge
  • it is possible to apply from within or outside the UK
  • the permit will be valid for five years, unless they are temporarily unable to work in which case it will be valid for two years
  • it is possible to apply to extend as long as you are still travelling back and forth to work in the UK in the same way

If applicants have been in the UK too long, or have not returned to work in the UK enough, due to Covid-19 they may still be able to apply if they can provide evidence of periods of illness or self-isolation, travel restrictions or cancellations, or that they were instructed to work from home temporarily and not come to the UK, for example.

Please contact either or from the Staff Immigration Team with any queries.

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Who to contact 

James Baker
Head of Staff Immigration 

tel: 01865 289908


Tim Currie
Staff Immigration Officer

tel: 01865 289903