This page will be updated with the latest information about the status of European Union (EU) citizens (see note 1) and their families in the UK.
The UK government has reached an agreement with the European Union on citizens’ rights in negotiations on the UK’s withdrawal from the EU. This will provide certainty about the future to millions of EU citizens and their families in the UK. Most importantly, it will allow you to stay here after we leave the EU on 29 March 2019, and to continue to access public funds and services.
There is no need for EU citizens living in the UK to do anything now. There will be no change to the status of EU citizens living in the UK while the UK remains in the EU. If you would like to find out the latest information you can sign up for email updates.
Agreement on rights for EU citizens and their families
The agreement we have reached for EU citizens and their families is:
People who, by 29 March 2019, have been continuously and lawfully living here for 5 years will be able to apply to stay indefinitely by getting ‘settled status’. That means they will be free to live here, have access to public funds and services and go on to apply for British citizenship.
People who arrive by 29 March 2019, but won’t have been living here lawfully for 5 years when we leave the EU, will be able to apply to stay until they have reached the 5-year threshold. They can then also apply for settled status.
Family members who are living with, or join, EU citizens in the UK by 29 March 2019 will also be able to apply for settled status, usually after 5 years in the UK.
Close family members (spouses, civil and unmarried partners, dependent children and grandchildren, and dependent parents and grandparents) will be able to join EU citizens after exit, where the relationship existed on 29 March 2019.
EU citizens with settled status or temporary permission to stay will have the same access as they currently do to healthcare, pensions and other benefits in the UK.
More information is available in the joint report about the agreement reached between the UK and the European Union on citizens’ rights.
See our case studies for examples of how individual EU citizens’ status in the UK will be affected by the UK’s exit from the EU.
Assessment of settled status applications
You’ll be able to apply for settled status if you’re a citizen, or the family member of a citizen, of an EU country. We’ve agreed with the EU that the conditions for EU citizens and their family members to get settled status in the UK will be the same as, or more generous than, those set out in the existing Free Movement Directive. In most cases this means you will need 5 years of continuous and lawful residence in the UK. The criteria will be set out in the withdrawal agreement between the UK and the EU.
If you meet the criteria and submit a valid application you will be granted status, unless:
you weren’t resident in the UK by 29 March 2019 (see note 2)
you’re refused on the grounds of your serious criminal convictions or for security reasons
The withdrawal agreement will become a part of UK law and so the Home Office will not be able to refuse an application for any reason not covered by the agreement.
Note 2: Unless you’re a close family member of an EU citizen living in the UK but were living outside the UK when the UK left the EU.
Applying for settled status
EU citizens and their family members in the UK will need to apply to get their status document. Getting this status will prove (for example, to employers or public service providers) that they have permission to continue living and working here in future.
The application fee will be no more than the cost charged to British citizens for a UK passport. If you already have a valid permanent residence document, it will be free.
We’re making the application process as streamlined, quick and user-friendly as possible. We’ll use existing government data to reduce the amount of evidence you will need to provide. For example, HMRC’s employment records will show us your UK work history.
As an EU citizen applying to the scheme, you will need to:
provide an identity document and a recent photograph to confirm your identity and nationality
declare any criminal convictions
You won’t have to:
account for every trip you’ve taken out of the UK
show evidence that you held comprehensive sickness insurance (see note 3 below)
The Home Office will provide support to ensure your application isn’t turned down because of simple errors or omissions. We will contact you where it appears a simple omission has taken place and help you fix it. We will also let you know if you need to provide more evidence, before a decision is made.
So people have enough time to apply, the scheme will remain open for applications for a considerable period, at least 2 years, after the UK leaves the EU. During this period your rights in the UK will be protected. If you apply under the scheme, but don’t receive a decision before the end of this period, you can continue living here until the decision is made.
Note 3: In some circumstances, comprehensive sickness insurance is still required for the purposes of accessing the healthcare system in the UK, but will no longer be considered as a requirement for acquiring settled status.
Permanent residence status under EU law
While the UK remains in the EU you don’t need to apply for a document to prove you can live in the UK unless:
Once the application scheme for settled status opens there will be a simple process for you to exchange your old indefinite leave to remain document for a settled status document free of charge, should you wish to prove you benefit from the withdrawal agreement. We won’t repeat any assessment of residence.
You will need to:
provide an identity document and a recent photograph to confirm your identity
confirm you still live in the UK
declare any criminal convictions
You can apply for a biometric residence permit if you want an updated document confirming you have indefinite leave to remain now.
EU citizens who arrive in the UK after EU exit
After the UK has left the EU on 29 March 2019 there will be an ‘implementation period’ of around 2 years to prepare and implement our future arrangements with the EU.
EU citizens and their family members who arrive in the UK during the implementation period will be able to live, work and study here as they do now, but they’ll need to register with the Home Office if they intend to stay here longer than 3 months. We will publish more details about this registration scheme as soon as possible.
We propose that the following arrangements should apply to EU citizens and their family members who arrive in the UK (and have registered) during the implementation period and who want to stay afterwards:
Once they have been continuously and lawfully living here for 5 years they will be able to apply to stay indefinitely.
They can apply for a temporary status in UK law that will enable them to stay beyond the end of the implementation period. This means that they will be able to continue working, studying or being self-sufficient until they have reached the 5-year point.
They will need to apply for this temporary status either during the implementation period or in the 3 months after the implementation period ends.
After the implementation period ends, EU citizens – who arrived during that period – can be joined here by family members under arrangements that will be on a par with the arrangements applying to British citizens who want to joined by a non-British family member.
EU citizens who live in the EU but travel to work in the UK during the implementation period will be able to apply for permission to continue doing this after the period ends.
These arrangements are separate from the settled status scheme available to EU citizens lawfully living in the UK before 29 March 2019.
Irish citizens won’t need to register or apply for leave to remain.
For EU citizens arriving after the implementation period ends, we’re carefully considering a range of options for the future immigration system and will set out our plans in the coming months. To be kept up-to-date with the latest information sign up for email updates.
UK employers and EU citizen employees
EU citizens working in the UK and UK businesses employing EU citizens don’t need to do anything now.
We are working closely with businesses and others to look at how they will be affected by the changes.
In July 2017, the government commissioned the independent Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) to gather evidence on patterns of EU migration and the role of migration in the wider economy, ahead of our exit from the EU. The MAC has been asked to report back by September 2018 and its evidence will help us to develop the future immigration system.