Since January 1st 2021, the free movement of people between the UK and EU ended. That means there are new rules for EU citizens wanting to settle in the UK. We’ve done some research to find out how the new processes work and who can stay in the UK after Brexit.

Can I stay in the UK after Brexit?

Before we attempt to answer that question, it's important to note that nothing is certain right now.

While the UK officially left the EU in January 2020, Brexit negotiations are still ongoing, so please bear in mind that the advice offered on this page is subject to change and should by no means be taken as definitive.

With that in mind, let's take a look at the current guidelines for EU citizens who wish to remain in the UK after Brexit.

What we know

  • The UK ceased to be a European Union member state on 31 January 2020
  • If you’re an EU citizen who’s been living in the UK since before 31 December 2020, your rights won’t officially change until 30th June 2021.
  • After this time, you should check if you can stay in the UK. You may need to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme, however you may be able to stay in the UK without applying if you’re an Irish citizen, or already have indefinite leave to remain.
  • If you are not currently living in the UK, but would like to move here on a temporary or permanent basis, you will need to follow the new immigration procedures and acquire UK immigration status.

Documents you can apply for

EU citizens can apply for two different types of document - these are as follows:

Registration Certificate

If you have been living in the UK for less than 5 years, you may apply for a temporary residence permit. This will allow you to stay in the UK after Brexit (though not indefinitely).Apply Now >

Permanent Residence (PR) Document

If you have lived in the UK legally for at least 5 continuous years, you may apply for a PR document. This will grant you ‘settled status’, giving you indefinite leave to remain in the UK even after Brexit.Apply Now >

Eu Settlement Scheme

Your EU Settlement Scheme application will vary depending on how long you’ve been living in the UK and whether or not you’ve applied to live in the UK before.

If you’ve lived in the UK for less than 5 years: You need to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme for pre-settled status. To be granted pre-settled status, you will need to prove that you’ve lived in the UK for 1 day (minimum) that was both:
  • On or before the 31st December 2020
  • In the 6 month period before you started your application
Pre-settled status will allow you to live in the UK for up to 5 years, at which point, you can apply for settled status if you wish to stay for longer.

If you’ve lived in the UK for 5 years or more: you should apply to the EU Settlement Scheme for settled status. If you are granted settled status you will be able to:
  • Live and work in the UK indefinitely
  • Live outside the UK for up to 5 years without losing settled status
  • Invite your family to live with you in the UK
  • Apply for your British citizenship (after you’ve had settled status for 1 year, or immediately if you’re married to a British citizen).


New Immigration System

Free movement with the EU ended on 31st December 2020. Now, a points based immigration system is in place. The system is very complex, however these are the most commonly used visa options for EU citizens looking to move to the UK:

Frontier Work Permit: Allows you to continue living in another country while still accessing your UK employment/self-employment.

Visitors: A visa for people wishing to come to the UK on a temporary basis or to undertake short-term activities.

Graduates: A route for students looking to transition from university studies abroad to employment in the UK.

Students: For people wishing to undertake long-term study in the UK.

Skilled Workers: A visa for skilled workers that are seeking long-term employment in the UK.

T5 Temporary Workers: For people wishing to take up short-term employment.

Intra-Company Transfer: For businesses with workers travelling between business locations in the EU and the UK.

Each of these visas costs a different amount of money and involves you meeting certain requirements. It’s possible that you’ll be asked to pay an Immigration Health Surcharge if you’ll be settling in the UK for a long time. This covers NHS contributions for people that won’t be contributing via National Insurance.

You can apply for your visa online, but you’ll need to provide biometric information e.g. a digital photo of your face. Non-EU citizens will also have to submit fingerprints. Once your visa application is accepted, you will be able to come to the UK and remain here until your visa expires.


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Please note that HRS are not immigration specialists, and we cannot advise you on your specific situation. This page is for informational purposes only, and its content comes from consulting with immigration experts on a generic, non-advisory basis.