Frequently Asked Questions

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Applying for British citizenship & Comprehensive Sickness Insurance (CSI)

Other resources

Useful resources:


Immigration Assistance:


  • EU Settlement Resolution Centre - Webform: eu-settled-status-enquiries.service.gov.uk/start or call 0300 123 7379 between Monday to Friday (excluding bank holidays), 8am to 8pm, Saturday and Sunday, 9:30am to 4:30pm (See call charges)

  • Postcode finder - to find closest charity / voluntary organisation https://www.gov.uk/help-eu-settlement-scheme 

  • Charity / community organisations - the Home Office has funded charity / voluntary organisations to assist vulnerable applicants with their EUSS applications for free, search on: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/eu-settlement-scheme-community-support-for-vulnerable-citizens

  • Identity Scanning Locations - search here for a list of Local Authority locations. (Note that some may still be closed due to COVID-19 so if you can’t use your mobile devices to scan your documents you may need to send your Identity documents by post)

  • Assisted Digital Service - call 03333 445 675 or text “VISA” to 07537 416 944

  • Settled is a charity providing free immigration advice to EU citizens. You can contact them here: http://settled.org.uk/contact

  • Here for Good, free advice for vulnerable EU citizens, see https://www.hereforgoodlaw.org/advisory

  • There are many organisations and individuals providing advice on citizenship. In the UK, all immigration advice is regulated, so please make sure you go to someone who is qualified to give you advice on this area of law. On the ILPA website, you can find a directory of members to find an immigration advisor near your area: https://ilpa.org.uk.

What does ‘continuous residence’ or ‘continuity of residence’ mean?

Continuous residence, or continuity of residence, simply means living in the UK. However, too much absence from the UK can break continuity of residence.


The rules are different depending on whether you are applying to the EU Settlement Scheme, or for British citizenship.


EU Settlement Scheme:


You are allowed six months’ absence (or a one-off absence of up to 12 months*) from the UK out of any 12 month period before breaking your continuous residence.

‘Six months’ actually translates to 180 days, rather than six calendar months.

The ‘out of any 12 month period’ is trickier to calculate than you might think, because you really do have to look at any 12 month period, not just checking each calendar year. For example, if you are away for 4 months between August and November in one year, and then 3 months from February to April the next, you might think that you didn’t break your continuity of residence. Unfortunately you did, because you were away for 7 months between July of the first year and July of the second.

To help you calculate your greatest total absence in any rolling 12-month period, we have created an ‘absence calculator’ for you. 


Click here to see the calculator and find out more about absences.


* A one-off absence of up to 12 months is allowed for some specific reasons (some examples are pregnancy, childbirth, serious illness, compulsory military services). The Home Office has updated their Covid-19 guidance for the EU Settlement Scheme, which includes concessions for longer COVID related absences not breaking continuity of residence in some cases, and allowing people to apply for a further grant of pre-settled status where necessary to achieve five years’ continuous residence..


IMPORTANT NOTE: Unless you are applying to the EU Settlement Scheme as a joining family member, your eligibility for (pre-)settled status depends on continuous residence which needs to have started before 31 December 2020.


British citizenship


See this question on allowance absences when applying for British citizenship. The requirements are stricter than for the EU Settlement Scheme.

How does CSI (Comprehensive Sickness Insurance) relate to being lawfully resident? 

CSI stands for Comprehensive Sickness Insurance and it was a requirement for certain people to have it to be considered lawfully resident in the UK. 


EU citizens had been living in the UK under freedom of movement rules. These rules no longer apply to the UK because the UK decided to end freedom of movement as part of leaving the European Union.


To be able to live in another EU country, after an initial period of 3 months, EU citizens had to be a ‘qualified person’ under these freedom of movement rules to reside in the UK lawfully. The main categories were worker, self-employed, jobseeker, student or self-sufficient. 


The latter two categories (student and self-sufficient) had to be financially self-sufficient and also have this ‘CSI’ to exercise to be considered lawfully resident.


Note: this question, like other FAQs on Comprehensive Sickness Insurance (CSI), relates to applications for British citizenship, when considering whether periods of past residence were lawful.


CSI is not required to apply for pre-settled or settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme. Also, once pre-settled or settled status has been granted, you are lawfully resident, and you do not need CSI.

Do you need Comprehensive Sickness Insurance (CSI) for settled status?

No. The CSI requirement was scrapped for EU Settlement Scheme applications. 


To apply for pre-settled or settled status, you do not need to demonstrate that you are in one of the ‘qualified person’ categories (worker, self-employed, jobseeker, self-sufficient with CSI or student with CSI). 


The EU Settlement Scheme checks for your residence in the UK. 


To be eligible for settled status, you you usually need evidence that you had been living in the UK for at least 6 months out of every 12 months for a continuous period of 5 years, and this period started before 31 December 2020.  For more information see: https://www.the3million.org.uk/absence-calculator

Why does being ‘lawfully resident’ matter?

Those wishing to become British citizens by naturalisation will need to show that they were lawfully resident for a period of time in the UK. 


If you were not lawfully resident, your application to become a British citizen might be unsuccessful. If you have concerns that you might not have been lawfully resident in the UK for the period you want to rely on in your naturalisation application, you should contact an expert. 


the3million’s Young Europeans have published a very useful document on key Citizenship facts which you can find here: http://www.t3m.org.uk/t3m_YE_KeyCitizenshipFacts.


There are many organisations and individuals providing advice on citizenship. In the UK, all immigration advice is regulated, so please make sure you go to someone who is qualified to give you advice on this area of law. On the ILPA website, you can find a directory of members to find an immigration advisor near your area: https://ilpa.org.uk.

What does it mean to be self-sufficient?

You are self-sufficient if you are not employed or self-employed and you rely on your own savings or others’ income to live in the UK. 


For example, an EU student whose parents send them monthly payments for their living costs, but who does not work, is a student who is self-sufficient. An EU citizen who is relying on a partner’s income and staying at home with children is self-sufficient. 


Self-sufficient people need CSI to exercise treaty rights.


Note: this question, like other FAQs on Comprehensive Sickness Insurance (CSI), relates to applications for British citizenship, when considering whether periods of past residence were lawful. the3million’s Young Europeans have published a very useful document on key Citizenship facts which you can find here: http://www.t3m.org.uk/t3m_YE_KeyCitizenshipFacts.


CSI is not required to apply for pre-settled or settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme. Also, once pre-settled or settled status has been granted, you are lawfully resident, and you do not need CSI.

Do voluntary National Insurance payments count as CSI?

No. You need CSI for the period you were a student or self-sufficient and you cannot make payments for past periods. 


However, if for instance, you were a student and also worked during your studies, you may be able to treat this as being a worker rather than a student. 


You can qualify as a ‘worker’ if the Home Office considers your work ‘genuine and effective’. This is a complex area of law and the nature of the work is assessed on a case by case basis. To give you a broad picture, a student working 20 hours a week at Sainsbury’s throughout her studies could apply as a worker, whereas the work of a student who only worked a couple of hours a month in the Students’ Union bar would likely not be considered to have been doing ‘genuine and effective’ work.


Note: this question, like other FAQs on Comprehensive Sickness Insurance (CSI), relates to applications for British citizenship, when considering whether periods of past residence were lawful. the3million’s Young Europeans have published a very useful document on key Citizenship facts which you can find here: http://www.t3m.org.uk/t3m_YE_KeyCitizenshipFacts.


CSI is not required to apply for pre-settled or settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme. Also, once pre-settled or settled status has been granted, you are lawfully resident, and you do not need CSI.

Is CSI required by all EU citizens applying for British Citizenship or self-sufficient and students only?

You do not need CSI if you can evidence you were a worker or self-employed for your qualifying period. 


However, even if the citizenship application asks you for 5 years of evidence in the first instance, there are cases where caseworkers check further in your history in the UK. 


The Home Office can also apply discretion on your case, for instance if you had some gaps in your record. 


If you are in doubt about your status in the past, it is a good idea to seek immigration advice on your particular application. 


There are many organisations and individuals providing advice on citizenship. In the UK, all immigration advice is regulated, so please make sure you go to someone who is qualified to give you advice on this area of law. On the ILPA website, you can find a directory of members to find an immigration advisor near your area: https://ilpa.org.uk.


Note: this question, like other FAQs on Comprehensive Sickness Insurance (CSI), relates to applications for British citizenship, when considering whether periods of past residence were lawful. the3million’s Young Europeans have published a very useful document on key Citizenship facts which you can find here: http://www.t3m.org.uk/t3m_YE_KeyCitizenshipFacts.


CSI is not required to apply for pre-settled or settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme. Also, once pre-settled or settled status has been granted, you are lawfully resident, and you do not need CSI.

What is the qualifying period for residence for citizenship applications?

It’s 5 years unless you are married or in a civil partnership with a British citizen in which case it is 3 years. 


If you are not married or in a civil partnership with a British citizen, you also need to wait 12 months from the date of your settled status decision. 


For example, Dana is a Romanian citizen married to a Greek citizen. Dana has been in the UK from 2010 and received settled status on 2 April 2019. Dana will have to wait until 2 April 2020 before being able to apply for citizenship. If she applies in April 2020, the citizenship application will ask to evidence the last 5 years, so April 2015-April 2020. However, the Home Office may check whether Dana was lawfully resident before 2015 as well.


the3million’s Young Europeans have published a very useful document on key Citizenship facts which you can find here: http://www.t3m.org.uk/t3m_YE_KeyCitizenshipFacts.

What evidence can I use to prove my CSI?

Some EU citizens may have had private medical insurance during the period they were self-sufficient or a student. This can be used as CSI.


There are also other ways to prove CSI. This depends on your country of citizenship and your arrangements. In some EU countries, students abroad were covered by specific national-level policies, whereas some students can still count on their parents’ insurance. An EHIC card issued by an EEA member state other than the UK can also be used. Form S1 (or its predecessor forms E109 or E121) and form S2 (or its predecessor form E112) and form S3 are also accepted. Form E104, however, is not mentioned in the Home Office’s guidance.


A useful resource about Forms E104 and S041 can be found here: https://blogs.kent.ac.uk/eu-rights-clinic/csi-form-e-014-s041/. This is a very complex area of law and those wishing to rely on it should consider getting legal advice.


Note: this question, like other FAQs on Comprehensive Sickness Insurance (CSI), relates to applications for British citizenship, when considering whether periods of past residence were lawful. the3million’s Young Europeans have published a very useful document on key Citizenship facts which you can find here: http://www.t3m.org.uk/t3m_YE_KeyCitizenshipFacts.


CSI is not required to apply for pre-settled or settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme. Also, once pre-settled or settled status has been granted, you are lawfully resident, and you do not need CSI.

My children were born in the UK, are they British?

There are three main categories of British citizens: those who are automatically British by birth, those who can apply for registration as a British citizen and those who can apply for naturalisation as a British citizen. 


Each of these categories has many sub-categories. For children specifically, we recommend reading the information on the PRCBC website (https://prcbc.org/our-work/),in particular this useful infographic: https://prcbc.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/children-and-their-rights-to-british-citizenship-march-2019.phttps://prcbc.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/children-and-their-rights-to-british-citizenship-march-2019.pdfdf.

Do I really need to become British? What are the benefits of British citizenship?

Settled status is Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) under the EU Settlement Scheme, which allows you to live indefinitely in the UK without immigration restrictions. 


However, you lose your settled status if you spend more than 5 continuous years outside the UK. 


There are no such restrictions if you become British. 


British citizenship also gives you the right to apply for a British passport, which can then be used as a physical proof of rights - such as the right to work or right to rent. 


In addition, British citizenship gives you the right to vote in general elections and referendums. 


Applying for citizenship is a personal choice that involves you balancing the costs and benefits of this process.

the3million Young Europeans have created a document which gives more detail:  http://www.t3m.org.uk/t3m_YE_BarriersToCitizenship_Cost