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What a no-deal Brexit means for EU nationals and their partners

by John Dunn | Aug 12, 2019
  • If there’s a no-deal Brexit on 31 October 2019, EU nationals’ and their partners’ chance to apply for pre-settled status will be gone. You’ll need to be living in the UK and apply before the UK leaves the EU. Here’s everything we know about the application deadlines.
    No-deal Brexit flags

    There is a lot of uncertainty in UK politics at the moment, but a no-deal Brexit appears likely. 
    If you’re an EU national who’s planning to move to the UK with your family, you’ll need to apply for the EU Settlement Scheme before the UK leaves the EU without a deal – currently scheduled for 31 October 2019.

    When is the application deadline?

    If the UK reaches a deal with the EU, you’ll need to be living in the UK and apply to the scheme before 30 June 2021.

    If there’s a no-deal Brexit and the UK leave the EU, you’ll need to be living in the UK before 31 October 2019.

    Irish nationals however, will be exempt from these deadlines entirely.

    What will happen if I don’t apply?

    If there’s a no-deal Brexit, anyone who enters the UK after 31 October 2019, EU national or not, cannot apply for pre-settled status.

    Instead of applying for settled status, an EU national will be issued a free three-month tourist visa at the border and will then have to find an employer to sponsor them or move to a spousal visa, should you have a UK/British spouse.

    In the post-Brexit EU plans, after this three-month free of charge tourist visa, there will be a three-year work visa made available for EU nationals and their family members. This work visa will not lead to settlement. EU nationals will need to follow existing routes to citizenship.

    If you’re a third-party national or the spouse of an EU national, you may be able to go on the family permit. This means you will have to find employment or be dependent on your EU spouse’s work visa if they have been sponsored.

    Cost of applying

    Applying for the settlement scheme is free.

    Who needs to apply

    All EU citizens and their family members must apply under the EU Settlement Scheme before the 30 June 2021 deadline. This includes EU citizens who are married to British citizens. You do not need to apply if:

    • You have dual citizenship (British and other)
    • You hold indefinite leave to enter the UK
    • You hold indefinite leave to remain (ILR) in the UK 

    Get help with your application

    What is the EU Settlement Scheme?

    The EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS) was introduced by the government to safeguard EU citizens’ rights to live in the UK after Brexit.

    Pre-settled status

    If you have not lived in the UK for five years by 31 December 2020 you will need to apply for pre-settled status. Having pre-settled status allows you to complete your five years’ residence in the UK and become eligible to apply for settled status.

    Settled status

    If you are an EU citizen and have resided in the UK continuously for at least five years by 31 December 2020, you’re eligible for settled status. Settled status allows you to stay in the UK indefinitely – similar to indefinite leave to remain. Settled status means you can stay in the UK for as long as you like and apply for British citizenship if you’re eligible.

    Settled status rights

    If you get pre-settled or settled status, you’ll be able to: 
    • Work in the UK
    • Use the NHS
    • Enrol in education or continue schooling
    • Access public funds like pensions and benefits
    • Travel in and out of the UK freely

    Typically, you will be able to apply for British citizenship 12 months after receiving settled status, unless you are married or are in a civil partnership with a British citizen. If this is the case you will not need to wait the full 12 months to apply.

    What no-deal Brexit or EUSS questions do you have? Let us know in the comments.

    Our immigration and British citizenship advisors can assist with any questions you have about applying for the settlement scheme. Get in touch with us on or +44 (0) 20 7759 7581.


    We are a professional services company that specialises in cross-border financial and immigration advice and solutions.

    Our teams in the UK, South Africa and Australia can ensure that when you decide to move overseas, invest offshore or expand your business internationally, you’ll do so with the backing of experienced local experts.

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