eu citizens living in london

What every EU citizen living in London needs to do before Brexit

Are you an EU citizen living in London and not entirely sure what you need to do before Brexit? If you want to continue living in the UK after 30 June 2021, you must apply for the EU Settlement Scheme and get your settled status. Read on for more details.

Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock for the last two years, you’ll know that the UK is very likely to leave the EU on October 31st – ‘come what may’. No matter what the result is – deal or no deal – all EU citizens MUST apply for the EU Settlement Scheme to guarantee their right to stay in the UK. Applying for the scheme is free so there’s no reason to delay.

Important: This information is correct at time of publishing. However, Brexit details and negotiations are changing daily. Make sure you research the latest updates on the official UK government website.


EU, EEA or Swiss citizens and their family members can apply to the EU Settlement Scheme to continue living in the UK after 30 June 2021.

However, if you’re not an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen you may still be able to apply if:

  • you’re a family member of an EUEEA or Swiss citizen
  • you used to have an EUEEA or Swiss family member living in the UK (but you’ve separated, or they’ve died)
  • you’re the family member of a British citizen and you lived outside the UK in an EEA country together
  • you are the family member of a British citizen who also has EUEEA or Swiss citizenship and who lived in the UK as an EUEEA or Swiss citizen before getting British citizenship
  • you are the primary carer of a British, EUEEA or Swiss citizen
  • you’re the child of an EUEEA or Swiss citizen who used to live and work in the UK, or the child’s primary carer


If you’re an EU citizen living in London, or you meet the above criteria, you can apply right now.

If the UK leaves the EU without a deal then the deadline for applying is 31 December 2020 and you’ll need to be living in the UK before it leaves the EU to be eligible. Otherwise, the deadline for applying will (in theory) be 30 June 2021. Be sure to check the official government website for any updates on deadlines.


Firstly, it’s important to point out that even if the UK leaves the EU without a deal, the rights and status of EUEEA and Swiss citizens living in the UK will remain the same until 30 June 2021. However, it’s imperative that you apply for the EU Settlement Scheme. This will make sure that you can continue living and working in the UK beyond this date.

You’ll be given one of two statuses if your application is successful, and your rights will be different depending on which status you get. You can’t choose which one to apply for – it will be based on your circumstances.

Settled Status

You can stay in the UK as long as you like if you’re given settled status. You’ll also be able to apply for British citizenship if eligible. You’re likely to get a settled status if you’ve:

  • moved to the UK before 31 December 2020 (or before the date the UK leaves the EU without a deal – potentially 31 October 2019)
  • lived in the UK for a continuous 5-year period. For more information on what constitutes ‘continuous’ living click here

If you have settled status, you can spend up to 5 years in a row (or 4 years for Swiss citizens) outside the UK without losing your status.

Pre-Settled Status

If you’re given a pre-settled status, you can stay in the UK for another 5 years from the date it’s granted. After that, once you’ve got 5 years’ continuous residence, you can apply to change to a settled status. You’ll most-likely get a pre-settled status if:

  • you haven’t lived in the UK for a continuous 5 years when you apply; and
  • you started living in the UK before 31 December 2020 (or before the date the UK leaves the EU without a deal)

If you’ll reach 5 years’ continuous residence at some point by 31 December 2020, you can choose to wait to apply until you reach 5 years. That means that if your application is successful, you’ll get settled status without having to apply for pre-settled status first. However, be sure to regularly check the government website for updates. This info and any deadlines are likely to change.


Applications are done online so you’ll need a computer or phone. To prove your identity, you’ll also need to download the EU Exit: ID Document Check app to your phone. Annoyingly, it’s only available on Android. But you can use somebody else’s Android phone if you don’t have one yourself.

So you need to provide two key things when applying

  • Proof of identity – a valid passport or national identity card and a digital photo of your face. As mentioned above, you’ll need to either have an Android phone to download the ID scanning app. Or you can also go to an identity document scanning location and have them do it for you. If you’re really stuck, you can send your passport off in the mail (not ideal if you’re travelling a lot).
  • Proof of your residence in the UK. This can be done via an automated check of your National Insurance number. If this check is unsuccessful, you’ll need to scan and send additional documents as proof of residence.

So if you’re eligible to apply, have your passport or ID card ready, plus access to an Android phone with the downloaded ID checker app, then you’re ready to go. Start your application for the EU Settlement Scheme and get your settled status now.

For more information please check the official UK government website or click here

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