Rights for EU citizens and their families

The agreement we have reached for EU citizens and their families is:

  • People who, by 31 December 2020, 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 31 December 2020, 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 31 December 2020 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 31 December 2020

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.

As part of the EU Citizens Support Settlement Scheme, run by Citizens Advice Scotland individuals can also contact a specialist helpline for free, confidential advice on 0800 916 9847. Lines are open:

  • Monday and Friday mornings from 9am to 1pm
  • Wednesday afternoons from 1pm to 5pm

Support can also be provided (up until March 2020) by the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) consortium to help vulnerable or at risk EU citizens and their family members to apply for settled status. Vulnerable individuals may include people who are older, disabled people, people who are homeless and rough sleepers, people from Roma communities, survivors of human trafficking and modern slavery, and young care-leavers. You can find further details here.

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