Our agreement with the European Union

European Union citizens who have made their lives in the UK have made a huge contribution to our country and we want them to stay. Safeguarding EU citizens’ rights has been the Prime Minister’s first priority for the negotiations with the EU.

The UK government has now delivered on that commitment and reached an agreement with the EU on citizens’ rights. The agreement will provide EU citizens and their family members living in the UK certainty about their rights after we leave the EU and most importantly, allow them to stay here. There will be reciprocal protections for UK nationals living in the EU.

There will be no change to the status of EU citizens living in the UK while the UK remains in the EU.

No EU citizen currently living here lawfully will have to leave the UK when we leave the EU. There will be plenty of time for people to apply for and receive their new residence status after the UK leaves the EU.

Please sign-up for email updates from the Home Office to be kept aware of developments that might affect you, including the steps that you will need to take to confirm your status in the UK after we leave the EU.

Rights for EU citizens and their families in the UK

EU citizens who arrive by 29 March 2019 and have lived in the UK for 5 years will be able to apply to stay indefinitely by getting ‘settled status’.

People who won’t have been here for 5 years when we leave, but arrive here by 29 March 2019, will be able to apply for permission to stay on until they reach the 5-year threshold. They can then also apply for settled status.

All family members who are living with or join EU citizens by 29 March 2019 will also be able to apply for settled status after 5 years in the UK. Children born after exit are protected if their parents are protected. Close family members will be able to join their families in the UK after exit.

EU citizens looking to remain in the UK will be able to apply for their new status through a new streamlined, user-friendly application scheme, due to launch in late 2018.

Rights to healthcare, pensions and other benefits in the UK will remain the same.

There is no need for EU citizens living in the UK to do anything at this stage, but you can sign up for email updates to receive an alert when there is further news on the application scheme.

Guidance for EU citizens


Applications for permanent residence status

The settled status application process for EU citizens will be completely different from the current one for documents confirming EU permanent residence status. We are designing a new system from scratch, with new processes, technology, rules and support for applicants.

Permanent residence documents confirm that an individual has rights under European law. In future, EU law will no longer apply and the migration and status of EU nationals will be subject to UK law.

We recognise the concerns of those who have already applied for and been granted a permanent residence certificate, who have told us that they should not have to go through a full process again.

If you have already gone through the process and got a permanent residence document, there will be a simple process to exchange this for settled status free of charge. You will just need to provide an identity document and recent photograph, declare any criminal convictions and confirm you still reside in the UK. Any previous residence assessment we have done will not be repeated.


Example case studies: EU citizens living in the UK after we leave the EU

Watch this video for more information about the agreement reached on EU citizens' rights