When should I apply for settled status if I already have pre-settled status?
It is very important you apply for settled status, through a new application, before your pre-settled status expires.
If you wait until your pre-settled status expires you may lose your right to live in the UK if there is any delay or issue in processing your application.
We strongly recommend that you apply for settled status as soon as you are eligible, which is as soon as you have 5 years’ residence in the UK.
Settled status is a more secure status.
Settled status allows longer absences from the UK before status is lost than pre-settled status.
Settled status holders face fewer barriers to being eligible to welfare benefits than those with pre-settled status.
With pre-settled status, a prison sentence of any length will break continuity of residence meaning you will lose the ability to change from pre-settled to settled status.
See also this document for more details of the difference of the two statuses.
When you receive your decision email from the Home Office, the PDF attached to the email will explicitly mention which status you have. If you have pre-settled status, it will indicate the day your status expires. If you log into View & Prove, you can also see which status you have, and your expiry date if you have pre-settled status.
If you reach 5 years’ residence before it expires, you can apply for settled status before your pre-settled status expires. For example, if you have been in the UK since 2017 and you received pre-settled status in 2019, then your pre-settled status expires in 2024. However, if you continue to live in the UK, you will reach 5 years’ residence in 2022, at which point you can apply for settled status.
With pre-settled status, it is important not to break your continuity of residence. This means you cannot be out of the UK for more than 6 months in any 12-month period (with some exceptions allowed for ‘important reasons’ and Coronavirus related absences - see here ). Your 5 years’ continuity of residence must have started before 31 December 2020.