Can I Find More Certainty?

We are living in very difficult times and most of us are experiencing some uncertainty in our lives. As I write this article, I know that many things will have changed again by the time it is published.

Tomas’ Story

For Tomas* (a Portuguese nurse) and his wife Maria**(a Spanish carer in a residential care home), they had made their life in the UK and wanted to stay here with their 4-year-old daughter after Brexit.

They had not got around to doing anything to secure their future in the UK before Brexit and immediately after Brexit along came Coronavirus and the couple were both caught up in the efforts to deal with it.

It was a chance kind remark from a patient which reminded Tomas that he should check out what they needed to do in order to stay. Having asked where he came from, the patient had thanked Tomas and said that he hoped that he would stay in the UK. Tomas left himself a note to check on-line when he had a few minutes and left a text for Maria to do the same. Maria replied that her care home manager had reminded all the non-UK staff some time ago that they would need to apply for Settled Status or Pre-Settled Status if, as she hoped, they wanted to stay after Brexit. Maria had sought advice from Citizens Advice before and she said she would look on the website.

The UK is no longer a member of the EU, but the negotiated Transition deal lasts until 31st December 2020. During this time, EEA nationals can rely on EU law to show the right to reside and, if appropriate, to claim Universal Credit and some other benefits

At the end of the Transition period, EU nationals will still have a further 6 months until 30th June 2021 to apply for Settled or Pre-Settled Status so long as they have started living in the UK before 31st December 2020. UK domestic legislation will retain the existing EU rights to reside until the UK legislates to remove them, but this could be as early as 1st January 2021. After this, some benefits like Universal Credit, Child Benefit and Pension Credit might stop if you don’t have Settled Status. You also may not be able to get help with housing from your local Council.

Maria looked up and found the information they needed. As Tomas had been living and working in the UK for more than five years, he should already be eligible to apply for Settled Status. Maria had only come to the UK three years ago, so would have to apply for Pre-Settled Status, and they would have to apply for Pre Settled Status for their daughter, who had been born in Spain and come to the UK with her mother. Both would be able to apply for full Settled Status after they had been in the UK for 5 years. The Scheme is free.

Most applicants can apply on-line, but will need to have the following with them when they do so:

  • An android phone or an iPhone 7 or above (to scan your identity document)
  • Passport, national identity card, biometric residence card or permit
  • A digital photo (you can take a selfie during application)
  • Your National Insurance number or proof of how long you have lived in the UK
  • A mobile phone number
  • An e-mail address
  • Proof of your relationship if applying for a child.

The application is done via – look for visas and immigration and Stay in the UK(‘settled status’):step by step – Apply to the EU Settlement Scheme – where you will also find additional information if your situation or paperwork is not straightforward.

*and** not their real names to preserve confidentiality

Our free, independent and confidential advice services will continue to be available by e-mail (through our website at or phone (0344 848 7969)

We’re here to help.

Contact us by PHONE on 0344 848 7969 to speak to an adviser

Contact us by e-mail on and use the Citizens Advice Waverley e-mail form

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PHONE 01483 898884   9 to 4 Monday to Friday e.mail  website

In cases of immediate danger call the police 999

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