It is free to apply. Most applicants are required to complete an online application form using a computer, tablet or smartphone. There are paper forms available
if you are unable to complete the online form. It does not matter whether you use the online form or the paper form, either way the Home Office application checks three or four things: (1) your identity, (2) your residence in the UK and (3) your reason for applying late (4) any criminal record you may have (5) your relationship to an EU citizen if you are applying as a family member.
The application asks for your basic information (name, nationality, contact details, national insurance number) and you have to confirm your identity and nationality using your passport (for applicants of all nationalities) or national ID card (if you are an EEA / Swiss applicant). To do this you have the following options:
- If you have a valid passport or national ID card with a biometric chip you are able to use the Home Office ID scanning App to send your identity information directly to the Home Office.
- If you do not have a passport and have a national ID card with no biometric chip or your document has expired, you will have to mail this to the Home Office for verification after you complete the online application form.
- If you have a passport or a national ID card with a biometric chip, but you do not have a newer Android or iPhone, you can go to one of the locations listed by the Home Office to scan your document (Covid-19 permitting).
As part of the application you have to upload a digital photo of yourself. There is a different process for non-EU applicants who do not hold a valid Biometric Residence Card as these applicants must attend a biometric appointment at a visa centre in the UK
after completing the online form.
Postal Applications to the EU Settlement Scheme
If you are not an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen and you meet any of the conditions listed below, then you cannot use the online application form and must make your application using a paper form:
- If you do not have a passport or national ID card (either valid or expired) – for example a child who only has a birth certificate as evidence of their identity
- The family member of a dual EU/British citizen where the British citizenship was obtained after exercising free movement rights
- The primary carer of a British, EU, EEA or Swiss citizen
- The child of an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen who used to live and work in the UK, and the child is in education in the UK - or you are the primary carer of a child in this situation
- A dependent under 18 years old of a person in either of the two situations immediately above
- The family member of a British citizen who you lived with in Switzerland or an EU or EEA country
If you fall under any of the above following situations must can call up the Home Office Settlement Resolution Centre
to request a paper form is sent to you. As the paper application forms are more complicated to complete than the online application form you may need to speak to a qualified adviser to understand what information and evidence to provide with your application.
Residence in the UK
You have to prove your residence in the UK and the simplest way for many people to do so will be by providing your National Insurance Number (‘NiNo’). The application will check your NiNo against the HMRC and DWP government department databases to see if you have been resident in the UK. These checks will only cover the past 7 years and so if there are gaps in NiNo records or you do not have a NiNo (for example if you are under 16 years old), you may need to provide additional documents (such as utility bills, bank statements or confirmation of studying at school or university), to show that you are living in the UK. You can scan and upload your supporting documents during your online application. If you are applying for pre-settled status because you have not lived in the UK for 5 years, then your ‘NiNo’ or documentary evidence must show that you have been living in the UK before 01 January 2021 and at some point in the last 6 months (there are some situations where you could have been away from the UK for longer than 6 months – see the below section on How does continuous qualifying residence work?)
Reason for the late application
You will be asked to explain your reason for missing the 30 June 2021 deadline when you apply. The online application form and the paper application forms have been adapted to that you can explain the reasons for missing the deadline when you apply. Please see the below section “How do I apply late to the EU settlement scheme?” for more information about how to explain your reason for applying late.
You will be asked about your criminal record. If you have been convicted of a minor crime you should still be eligible for settled status or pre-settled status. Any dishonest answer could have a negative impact on your application.
If your application is approved you will be granted settled status or pre-settled status depending how long you have lived in the UK. There will be a confirmation email from the Home Office telling stating which status has been granted but the actual proof of status is held as digital status profile which can be accessed through the view and prove your immigration status
page on the gov.uk website. This means EU citizens will not be given a physical ID document to show their settled status or pre-settled status. Holders of settled status or pre-settled status will need to familiarise themselves with how to access the digital status.
From 01 July 2021 employers and landlords can ask to see the online digital status. Status holders can generate “share codes” through their digital status profile which can be given to an employer or a landlord who requesting proof of settled status or pre-settled status. Government departments like the DWP and the NHS may be able to check a person’s status automatically without needing a share code.