How to apply for the EU settlement

How to apply for the EU settlement

EU working in the UK? We’d like you to stay!

If you are from the European Union and you were in the UK before 31 December 2020, you can apply for settlement status (it’s free).

By November 2020, government figures show 2,335,300 people had gained settled status and another 1,825,500 people had pre-settled status.

biometric symbol
If your passport or ID document has this biometric symbol, you can use the app

If you have a biometric passport or ID document

If your passport or ID document has the biometric symbol (right), you can apply online. You don’t have to send your passport to the Home Office. You just to use the app on an Android phone, or an iPhone 7 or above, to verify your ID.

If your tax records (or other evidence you upload) show you have been in the UK for more than five years, you will get settled status. That is the same as indefinite leave to remain, or permanent residence.

All applications are free

screenshot of the EU exit app
EU document check app

You will need

  • your national identity NI number
  • your biometric passport
  • an Android phone, or iPhone 7 or above. You can use someone else’s phone.

Your phone must have NFC (near field communications) enabled. Check in Settings > Connections.

If you cannot use a phone to verify your identity, there is a list on the Home Office website of places including registry offices where you can book a visit to scan in your documents. Otherwise you have to post your documents to the Home Office.

First, download the app

screenshot of document image success
Use the app to take a picture of your passport or ID document

It will give you step-by-step instructions.

  1. First, it will take a photo of your document and add the information to your application. (If you are using a passport, use the two inside pages with your photo.)
  2. Then it will scan the biometric chip to confirm the details are correct. Close your passport, and slide your phone slowly over it until it recognises the chip. This can take a while – try not to rush. The app will beep when it recognises the chip.
  3. Then the app will take a scan of your face to make sure you match the photo on your passport.
  4. Finally, use the app to take a digital photo of yourself.

    screenshots of phone scanning passport
    Scan the chip. This isn’t easy – you need to be patient!

Then you will have to go back to the website to finish the application.

You can do that on any computer or smartphone – just go to your browser, and go to

  1. Fill in the details, including your name and address.
  2. You will need to decide on three security questions in case they want to phone you.
  3. When you think you’ve finished, they will send you an email. You must open this to verify the email address.

You’ll get an email acknowledging your submission. It will then take about a week before you get your status reply.

If you can prove that you have lived in the UK for more than five years, you will get ‘settled’ status.

If you get ‘pre-settled’ status, and you can prove you have lived in the UK for more than five years, you can apply again: make sure this time you scan and upload the right evidence to get settled status.

If you can’t prove you have been in the UK for more than five years, pre-settled status allows you to stay for five years and apply when you have proof.

You must use the smartphone app if you are not in the UK at the time when you apply.

If you don’t have a biometric passport or ID document, you will have to send your documents in by post.

You will need to start your EU settlement application online.

Have your ID documents with you before you start. Remember, you can only use the post method from inside the UK.

We suggest that you use recorded delivery to post your identity documents.

Do you need to apply?

If you are an Irish national, you don’t have to apply, but you may apply if you want to.

You need to apply if:

  • You are an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen
  • You are not an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen, but your family member is.

Even if:

  • You were born in the UK but are not a British citizen – you can check if you’re a British citizen if you’re not sure
  • have a UK ‘permanent residence document’
  • are a family member or carer of an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen who does not need to apply – including if they’re from Ireland
  • are an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen with a British citizen family member.

(The EEA includes the EU countries and also Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway.)

You need to apply if you do not have indefinite leave to remain in the UK. If you do have indefinite leave to remain, you’ll usually have a stamp in your passport or a letter from the Home Office saying this.

This page on the government website gives more information about who is eligible to apply for EU settlement:

More information on the government website

The instructions are available in 26 EU languages: see

You must apply before 30 June 2021.

If you have not applied before 30 June 2021, you may find it difficult to change jobs, access healthcare, open a bank account or rent property.

Page updated 7 January 2021