EU settled status is the official term for the permission granted to qualifying EEA and Swiss citizens and their relatives, allowing them to live and work in the UK on a permanent basis under the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS).
Those with settled status may be required to prove their status in certain circumstances, such as evidencing their eligibility to work or under the right to rent regime. In this guide, we explain the rules on giving proof of settled status, as well as the requirements on you if you have pre-settled status.
How do I obtain proof of settled status under the EUSS?
If you have already been granted settled status under the EUSS, and are currently living in the UK on a permanent basis, you should have a UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) account. UKVI is the specialised division of the Home Office responsible for the UK’s visa system.
Having an UKVI account will mean that you can view your status online. You can also use this service to obtain a ‘share code’ so that you can prove your status to employers and landlords. This will be necessary to prove your right to work when securing a new job in the UK or to prove your right to rent when renting a residential property. A share code can also be used to prove a right to access benefits and services. With settled status, you have the same entitlement to claim benefits as British citizens, known as your ‘right to reside’.
To view or prove your immigration status online, you will need each of the following:
- details of your identity document used to sign in to your UKVI account, such as your passport, national identity card, biometric residence card or biometric residence permit
- access to the mobile number or email address used to sign in to your UKVI account, where you will be sent a log-in code via text or email, and
- your date of birth.
If you are unable to access your UKVI account, you can contact UKVI by telephone, dialling 0300 790 6268 and selecting option 3, or 0203 875 4669 if you are unable to dial 0300 numbers. The UKVI contact centre is able to provide assistance from Monday to Friday, 8am to 8:30pm, and on Saturdays and Sundays, 9:30am to 4:30pm. You might be unable to access your online status if you no longer have the same mobile number or email address used to set up your account, or if you have changed your passport or identity document.
Once you have accessed your UKVI account, and so as to provide proof of settled status for employers or landlords, you will need to generate an online share code. This is a 9-character code that you can give to a prospective employer to enable them to verify your right to work in the UK and undertake the work on offer. If you have settled status under the EUSS, you will be permitted to do any type of job. You will also have a permanent right to work in the UK, where your right to work will not be time-limited, as it would be with pre-settled status. You can also use your UKVI account to generate a share code to give to a new landlord, enabling them to access and view your permanent right to rent in the UK.
You can forward the share code to an employer or landlord or, alternatively, you can ask for this to be sent directly to them via the online service. You will need to provide their email address to do this. The share code will remain valid for 90 days, although you will also need to provide the employer or landlord with your date of birth. In this way, they will be able to access your status using the employer or landlord part of the online service. It will not be sufficient for them to view your details on the migrant part of the service. This is because both employers and landlords (under the illegal working or illegal renting regimes) are under a duty to carry out prescribed checks, where they must follow a strict format when checking an employee’s or tenant’s rights so as to protect themselves from penalties.
Importantly, if your employer or landlord checked your settled status before 1 July 2021 and they want to do it again, unless they are doing this for every employee or tenant, this could be classed as discriminatory and you may want to seek legal advice about this.
What settled status evidence is needed to apply under the EUSS?
If you applied to the EUSS and were granted pre-settled status, you will need to apply for settlement before your pre-settled status expires. Pre-settled status provides only a time-limited right to live and work in the UK, whereas settled status will make these rights permanent. You can apply for settled status under the EUSS once you have lived in the UK continuously for a period of 5 years. The 5-year period is counted from the day that you started your continuous UK residence, not the day you were granted pre-settled status.
To update your status, you will need settled status evidence. As with your initial application for pre-settled status you will need proof of your identity. If you are from the EU, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Iceland, you will need a valid passport or national identity card. You will also need to provide a digital photograph of your face. If you are not from one of these countries, you will need to provide either a valid passport, or a valid biometric residence card or biometric residence permit. When you apply, you can scan your document and upload your photo using the ‘EU Exit: ID Document Check’ app. You can also post your identity document and upload your photo using the online application form.
In addition, you will need settled status evidence of your continuous residence. If you were living in the UK by 31 December 2020, by providing your National Insurance number this will allow UKVI to conduct an automated check of your residence based on tax and certain benefit records. If this check shows that you have been in the UK for 5 consecutive years, you will not need to provide any proof of residence documents. You will only need to provide documentation if there is insufficient online data to confirm that you have been in the UK for 5 years. The Home Office should tell you immediately after you apply if you need to provide any documentation to meet the continuous residence requirement.
If you came to the UK after 31 December 2020, or you are asked for more evidence, you may need to submit a selection of documents as evidence of your continuous residence. You should submit scans or photographs of your documents through the online application form, rather than sending these by post. You can upload up to 10 documents to show evidence of UK residence, although you will only need to provide one document to cover each month or any longer period of time. This means that if you use documents that cover longer periods of time, such as council tax bills, mortgage statements, annual bank statements or a letter from an employer, you will not need to submit as many documents. Any documents that you submit as evidence of your UK residence must be dated and have your name on them. Each document must also be no more than 6MB in size.
To satisfy the 5 years’ continuous residence requirement for settled status, this means that for 5 years in a row you must have been in the UK, Channel Islands or Isle of Man for at least 6 months in any 12-month period. However, there are some absences from the UK of more than 6 months that will not count as a break in your continuous residence, including:
- a single period of no more than 12 months for an important reason, such as serious illness, childbirth, study, vocational training, an overseas work posting or coronavirus
- any length of compulsory military service
- time spent abroad as either a Crown servant, or as a relative of a Crown servant
- time spent abroad in the armed forces, or as a relative of someone in the armed forces
- undertaking work in the UK marine area.
If your application for settled status is successful, you will get a decision letter by email or post confirming that you have been granted the permanent right to live and work in the UK. However, you cannot use the letter itself to prove your status. You will need to access your UKVI account and generate a share code for employers or landlords.
If you are granted settled status, you can stay in the UK for as long as you like. If you have settled status, and are not a Swiss citizen, you can spend up to 5 years in a row outside the UK, Channel Islands or Isle of Man without losing this status. If you are a Swiss citizen, you and your family members (who do not have to be Swiss citizens) can spend up to 4 years in a row abroad without losing this status. You may also be eligible to apply for citizenship. You can apply for British citizenship once you have had settled status for a period of 12 months. Expert advice should always be sought prior to applying for naturalisation as a British citizen, as additional evidence will be needed in support.
Having applied for settled status, your application documents will be returned to you automatically within 6 to 8 weeks once a settlement decision has been made.
What if I am waiting for a decision on my settled status application?
If you are currently in the UK with pre-settled status, but have applied to the EUSS for settled status, you will still have the right to live and work in the UK while you are waiting for a decision. You should also be able to generate a share code, although this will only provide proof of pre-settled status, pending a decision on your settled status application.
If you are applying to the EUSS for the first time, you should be able to access your EUSS application certificate online. In this way, you can still generate a share code to give to any prospective employer or landlord. A prospective employer may then need to use the Employer Checking Service to confirm your right to work. This is where the Home Office will send out a Positive Verification Notice to say that you are legally entitled to work in the UK pending the outcome of your application. Any prospective landlord may also need to use the Landlord Checking Service to obtain a Positive Right to Rent Notice.
For most people, the deadline for applying to the EUSS was 30 June 2021. However, if you or your family are from the EU, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Iceland, you can still apply if you or a qualifying family member arrived in the UK by 31 December 2020. You must also meet one of the criteria for a later deadline or have ‘reasonable grounds’ for not applying by the 30 June 2021. If you apply late to the EUSS, your rights will be temporarily protected once you have made a valid application. This protection will run until you receive a decision on your application, or the outcome of any administrative review or appeal.
If you are a joining family member, your rights will automatically be protected for 90 days from the date of your arrival in the UK. After 90 days, your automatic temporary protection will end. This means that you will need to prove that you have submitted an EUSS application to continue to access your rights in the UK, such as your right to work and rent.
Proof of settled status FAQs
How do I show proof of settled status?
To show proof of settled status, for example, to prove to an employer your right to work or to prove to a landlord your right to rent, you will need to access your UKVI account and generate a share code.
How do you get EU settled status confirmation letter?
After you have applied to the EU Settlement Scheme, the UK Home Office will email you a letter to tell you what status they have given you. If you have 5 years’ continuous residence, you should get settled status.
Can employer ask for proof of settled status?
All employers must conduct right to work checks on new employees, but if your settled status was checked before 1 July 2021 and they want to repeat this, this could be discriminatory unless they are doing this for every employee.
Do I need to prove my settled status at the border?
If you have settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme, you should not be required to provide evidence of this status at the UK border. You should use the passport or national ID card linked to your online immigration status.
The matters contained in this article are intended to be for general information purposes only. This article does not constitute legal advice, nor is it a complete or authoritative statement of the law, and should not be treated as such. Whilst every effort is made to ensure that the information is correct, no warranty, express or implied, is given as to its accuracy and no liability is accepted for any error or omission. Before acting on any of the information contained herein, expert legal advice should be sought.