UK visa’s explained: EEA citizens

Friday, January 14, 2022

The UK‘s transition period to leave the European Union started on 31st January 2020 and ended on the 31st December 2020. From 1st January 2021, a grace period of six months began to allow EEA citizens who were residents in the UK by 31st December 2020 to apply for the EU settlement scheme. This period to apply to the settlement scheme ended on the 30th June 2021.

Irish citizens and those with indefinite leave to enter or remain in the UK do not need to apply for additional right work in the UK. Both are sufficient evidence of the right to live and work in the UK.

EEA citizens who successfully applied for the EU settlement scheme will be able to prove their right to work to an employer on the GOV website showing their settled or pre-settled status.

EEA citizens who arrived in the UK from 31 January 2020 require immigration status in the UK. An EEA passport or national identity card now only confirms nationality and not the right to work. EEA citizens will need to provide evidence of immigration status in the UK like NON-EEA citizens.

What’s the difference between settled and pre-settled status?

Settled status is usually where you’ve lived in the UK for a continuous 5-year period (known as ‘continuous residence’) and pre-settled status is for those without 5 years continuous residence. You can swap to settled status as soon as you’ve had 5 years of continuous residence.

What are the rights with settled and pre-settled status?

You’ll be able to:

  • work in the UK
  • use the NHS for free if you can at the moment
  • enrol in education or study in the UK
  • access public funds such as benefits and pensions if you’re eligible for them
  • travel in and out of the UK

Are there any benefits of having “settled” status rather than indefinite leave to remain?

If you get settled status, you can stay in the UK as long as you like. You’ll also be able to apply for British citizenship if you’re eligible. If you have settled status, you can spend up to 5 years in a row outside the UK, the Channel Islands, or the Isle of Man without losing your status (instead of 2 years with the ILE or ILR). If you did not know you could apply to the scheme while having ILE or ILR, this counts as ‘reasonable grounds’ for not applying by the deadline.

If you have pre-settled status, you can spend up to 2 years in a row outside the UK, the Channel Islands, or the Isle of Man without losing your status. You will need to maintain your continuous residence if you want to qualify for settled status.

When can I apply for British Citizenship?

To apply for citizenship with the settled status you must usually have lived in the UK for 12 months after getting it.

I’ve never lived in the UK, where do I start?

You will need to get a visa to live and work in the UK, here are some of the options available:

 At A&E Agency, we’re passionate about the quality of our people and proud of the services we provide. If you need information or guidance with your UK Visa Application, register today with A&E Agency. Our team are here to help international doctors find great work opportunities in the UK. 


A&E Agency. 2021. UK visa’s explained: Skilled Worker and Health and Care Worker. [online] Available at: <> [Accessed 8 November 2021].

GOV.UK. 2021. Apply to the EU Settlement Scheme (settled and pre-settled status). [online] Available at: <> [Accessed 8 November 2021].

GOV.UK. 2021. Check if you can become a British citizen. [online] Available at: <> [Accessed 8 November 2021].