I have pre-settled status but cannot return to the UK due to the pandemic. Will this have an impact on my status?

With pre-settled status, you lose your status if you leave the UK for a period of 2 consecutive years, whereas with settled status you can be away for 5 years. (See also this FAQ on settled status 5-year absences).

However, your ‘continuous residence’ will reset to 0 if you are away for more than 6 months in any 12 month period with pre-settled status. 

This means that you will only be eligible for settled status five years after you re-entered the country ( provided that you re-enter the UK before 31 December and you re-apply for pre-settled status - to ensure that your pre-settled status will still be valid when you reach five years' continuous residence). 

The Government have recently published their Covid guidance for the EU Settlement Scheme, which says “If you have been absent from the UK for a single period of more than 6 months, but not more than 12 months, during your 5 year continuous qualifying period due to being ill with coronavirus, and you were unable to return to the UK because you were ill or in quarantine, that absence will not cause you to break your continuous qualifying period.” However, this does not appear to cater for someone who could have travelled but decided it was perhaps safer not to, although students are mentioned separately.

If you are in any doubt about your absences, use this simple form to answer some YES / NO questions to check your situation: https://t3m-settledstatus-absences.paperform.co/

More information about this is available here.

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