Frequently Asked Questions

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Rights when travelling in and out of the UK

I have been unable to return to the UK due to COVID-19 related travel restrictions, will I lose my pre-Settled Status?

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You will not lose your pre-settled status if your absence is shorter than two years. However, you should be aware of how your absences may affect your ‘continuous residence’ and your eligibility to apply for settled status in future. The general rule is that you will break your continuous residence and so not be able to apply for settled status  if you are away for more than 6 months in any 12 month period with pre-settled status. But if your absence is related to Covid-19 you will not necessarily have broken your continuous residence.


To check whether you will still be eligible to apply for settled status in due course, read the ‘continuous residence’ FAQ. and our page on how absences affect your status.

I am a British-EU dual national, will I be able to use an EHIC card when I visit other EU countries?

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It depends on whether you exercised treaty rights before naturalising to become British. If you have, then you and your family members (of any nationality including British), will be entitled to use an EHIC card since you are covered by the Withdrawal Agreement.


If you are under 21, or a dependent child over 21, then even if you were born in the UK and did not exercise treaty rights before becoming British you can still be eligible as a family member if your parent or carer is eligible for an EHIC card.


If you are not eligible to apply for a new EHIC card, you will still be able to use your existing EHIC card until it expires - after which you can apply for a GHIC (Global Health Insurance Card).


For more information, see here on the Schengen Visa information website.


For more details, and to apply for an EHIC or GHIC, see here on the NHS website.


If you are traveling, and you need treatment but have been unable to obtain an EHIC or GHIC card, you can contact Overseas Healthcare Services.


The Government has published staff guidance which gives helpful examples of EHIC entitlement.

Will I lose my pre-/settled status if I travel for holidays? Will a visa be required for me to return to the UK?

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No, you will not lose your pre/settled-status if you travel for holidays.

With pre-settled status, you are able to stay outside the UK for up to 6 months in total in any 12-month period without breaking your continuous residence period in the UK. If you spend more than a total of 6 months in any 12-month period outside the UK, however, you will not be able to convert your pre-settled status to settled status (indefinite leave to remain). There are some exceptions to this, see our FAQ on continuous residence for more information.


If you already have settled status, you can stay outside the UK for a period of up to 5 years without losing your status. (See also this FAQ on settled status 5-year absences)


NOTE: If you are a non-EU citizen, you will need to have a valid biometric residence card, family permit or travel permit in order to board a carrier when returning to the UK - see https://www.the3million.org.uk/faq-1/rights-enter-uk for more detail.

Can my British spouse only visit the EU for 90 days every 180 days now?

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If you are an EU citizen, then your British spouse gets EU rights through you, because they are your family member. Therefore your spouse is not limited to the 90 days per 180 days rule, as long as they are accompanying you when travelling in order to live in an EU member state. 


See https://www.the3million.org.uk/travel-to-the-eu


When it comes to travelling with an EU spouse for more than 90 days without the intention to exercise treaty rights to live in an EU member state, this is a more complex question - see this question/answer from Your Europe Advice, and this article by Spanish Citizens Advice: https://www.citizensadvice.org.es/schengen-90-days-in-180-day-ruling-for-non-eu-spouses-of-eu-citizens/ .

What are the rules for UK nationals without residence in the EU to travel to the EU?

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UK nationals can travel and stay in the EU for up to 90 days in any 180-day period as tourists. You may need a visa or permit to stay for longer, to work or study, or for travelling for business.


At the border you may need to show a return or onward ticket and that you have enough money for your stay. Moreover, you’ll need your passport to have at least 6 months left and be less than 10 years old (even if it has 6 months or more left).


If you are the family member of an EU citizen, and are travelling with them, you will have EU rights as their family member. See our FAQ https://www.the3million.org.uk/faq-1/britishspouse-travel

For more details see https://www.the3million.org.uk/travel-to-the-eu.

I have applied for (pre-) settled status but am still waiting for a decision. If I travel abroad, how will I prove my rights to UK Border control to come back to the UK?

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We recommend that when you travel, you always keep the passport / identity document / residence card with you with which you applied to the EU Settlement Scheme. It would also be a good idea to print out the letter that was emailed to you when you applied, which has a title ‘Certificate of Application’. You should also carry some evidence that you were living in the UK before 31 December 2020.


For more information on the rights you have with a Certificate of Application, see https://www.the3million.org.uk/rights-enter-uk


NOTE: If you are a non-EU citizen, you will need to have a valid biometric residence card, family permit or travel permit in order to board a carrier when returning to the UK - see https://www.the3million.org.uk/faq-1/rights-enter-uk for more detail.

I have (pre-)settled status and am worried about travel across the UK border. Will I need to create a share code to show to immigration officials?

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When crossing the UK border, you can continue to use the eGates if traveling with a biometric passport. You might be asked about the reason for traveling to the UK.


Those with  (pre-)settled status will not routinely need to prove their status. Border Force staff can check whether you have status or have applied to the EU Settlement Scheme by using your travel document if it is linked to your status, or conducting further checks if you travel on an alternative document.


However, it is recommended that citizens carry with them evidence of their successful grant of status (for example the decision letter, and a screenshot of their entry on the 'View and Prove' service.) It is also recommended to generate a share code in advance (choose ‘something else’ when asked for the reason for sharing your status) and carrying that with you on a piece of paper.


To prevent unnecessary delays at the border, it is important to ensure the document you travel on is registered to your account, which you can do by updating your details if you intend to travel on a different document (for example a new passport). You can have more than one travel document linked to your (pre-)settled status.


For more details see the section on ‘Travelling in and out of the UK’ in the Home Office guidance at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/view-and-prove-your-immigration-status-evisa/your-immigration-status-an-introduction-for-eu-eea-and-swiss-citizens-accessible-version#travelling-in-and-out-of-the-uk


NOTE: If you are a non-EU citizen, you will need to have a valid biometric residence card, family permit or travel permit in order to board a carrier when returning to the UK - see https://www.the3million.org.uk/faq-1/rights-enter-uk for more detail.

My non-EU partner has been told they need a visa to travel with me to the EU, even though they have settled status and a biometric card. That can’t be right can it?

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Unfortunately, EEA Residence cards issued by the UK to non-EU family members of EU citizens are no longer valid. Since the UK left the EU, free movement rights no longer apply to the UK, and the EU does not accept these cards for travel anymore.


The new biometric residence cards issued to non-EU family members under the EU Settlement Scheme are proof of a UK immigration status. These cards are also not recognised for travel to the EU (though they are of course recognised for travel to the UK - being proof of UK immigration status).


Therefore if your partner is from a country that is a ‘visa-required’ nationality, unfortunately they will need a visa.


See our webpage https://www.the3million.org.uk/travel-to-the-eu for more information.


NOTE:  This was confirmed to us in a letter from the European Commission (see http://t3m.org.uk/EC_reply_t3m_TravelToEU) . the3million considers this loss of travel rights unfair, and advocated for the EU to change this (see http://t3m.org.uk/non_EU_familymembers_travelrights, and paragraph 2.2 of http://www.t3m.org.uk/t3m_BiE_SpecialisedCommitteeMeeting_May2020). Unfortunately this has not resulted in a change of policy.

I have (pre-) settled status. Can I use my EU national identity card to enter the UK?

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From the 1st October 2021 you cannot use an EU, EEA or Swiss national ID card to enter the UK unless you:


In these cases, you can continue to use your national ID card to enter the UK until at least 31 December 2025, and forever if it is a biometric national ID card.


Full details at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/entering-the-uk-under-the-eu-settlement-scheme-and-eu-settlement-scheme-family-permit


You should ensure that your ID card is linked to your EUSS status, in order to travel with it - you can do this here: https://www.gov.uk/update-uk-visas-immigration-account-details.  See this FAQ and this FAQ for more details, including what happens if you try to update the status but the update has not yet taken effect.


See also this statement, and a series of FAQs, by the European Commission: https://ec.europa.eu/info/publications/travel-documents-required-eu-citizens-when-travelling-uk-1-october-2021_en


Note: We are aware that currently some member states including Sweden are not allowing their nationals to travel from that member state to the UK without a passport. We will provide an update as soon as possible. 

I have applied for (pre-) settled status and am awaiting confirmation. Can I use my EU national identity card to enter the UK?

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You can use your EEA or Swiss national identity card to enter the UK if all of the following are true:

  • you’ve applied for settled or pre-settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme, or Jersey, Guernsey or the Isle of Man’s settlement schemes

  • you’ve been issued with confirmation your application is valid

  • you’re not applying as a joining family member (i.e. you lived in the UK before 31 December 2020)


If you did not apply for EUSS status using your ID card, then make sure you also carry the ID document that your EUSS status is linked to, in order to prove that you have a pending EUSS application. This is because you can’t link new ID documents to your application until your status has been granted. It is also advisable to carry evidence that you lived in the UK before 31 December 2020.


Full details at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/entering-the-uk-under-the-eu-settlement-scheme-and-eu-settlement-scheme-family-permit


See also this statement, and a series of FAQs, by the European Commission: https://ec.europa.eu/info/publications/travel-documents-required-eu-citizens-when-travelling-uk-1-october-2021_en


Note: We are aware that currently some member states including Sweden are not allowing their nationals to travel from that member state to the UK without a passport. We will provide an update as soon as possible.

What are the travel rules for EU citizens with (pre-)settled status travelling between the UK and Ireland, Isle of Man, Guernsey or Jersey (the Common Travel Area CTA)?

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You will not pass through any immigration control when you enter the UK across the land border between Ireland and Northern Ireland, so you don’t need any documents to enter the UK on that route.


However, you may be asked to show your passport (which should be valid for the whole of your stay) or identity card to enter Great Britain when travelling from Ireland if you are encountered by Border Force.


You should ensure that your ID card is linked to your EUSS status, in order to travel with it - you can do this here: https://www.gov.uk/update-uk-visas-immigration-account-details.  See this FAQ and this FAQ for more details, including what happens if you try to update the status but the update has not yet taken effect.


Full details at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/travelling-between-the-uk-and-ireland-isle-of-man-guernsey-or-jersey



My Biometric Residence Card/Permit is expired, lost or stolen. Can I travel without a BRC/BRP, and how do I replace it?

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IMPORTANT UPDATE TO THE ANSWER BELOW: In February 2022, the Government changed its “Charging procedures: a guide for carriers” to include a new section 2.4 which says 


Where a visa national passenger does not have a valid visa or visa exemption document, you may accept evidence of pre-settled or settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme where this is provided by the passenger via the online ‘View and Prove’ service.

The Government made this change as a response to our correspondence, see see Q5 of their letter of 28 March 2022, which makes it clear that this is at the carrier’s discretion, and they go on to say 


Whilst a carrier may choose to accept an eVisa as evidence of status under the EUSS, we continue to advise visa nationals to ensure they have a valid UK-issued BRC or EUSS travel permit when seeking to travel to the UK to facilitate carrier checks and avoid delays.


Visa nationals who have a valid pending application to the EUSS are advised not to travel to the UK until their application is granted unless they hold a valid visa or visa exemption document. A Certificate of Application or Acknowledgement of Application is not satisfactory evidence of status for the purpose of carrier’s liability checks.


END IMPORTANT UPDATE


If you are a non-EU family member with pre-settled or settled status you need a valid (i.e. not expired) physical Biometric Residence Card (BRC) to check-in / board a carrier from abroad, and to re-enter the UK. You cannot only rely on your digital (pre)-settled status for travel back to the UK so you must carry your BRC with you when you travel. However, see the important update above which says that a carrier may choose, at its discretion, to accept digital proof of status if you do not have a valid BRC.


You can still use an BRC issued under the EEA Regulations to travel back to the UK as long as it is still valid. If you have been issued an EU Settlement Scheme BRC you can use this for travel back to the UK as long as it is valid.


If you are outside the UK and your BRC expires, is damaged or it is lost/stolen, you will not be able to apply for a replacement whilst you are abroad as BRCs can only be issued in the UK. 


Instead, if your carrier will not accept digital status (as per the update above), you will need to apply for an “EU Settlement Scheme Travel Permit”. This is similar to an EU Settlement Scheme Family Permit but is issued to those non-EU family members who have already been granted (pre)-settled status. The purpose of the EU Settlement Scheme Travel Permit is to facilitate your re-entry to the UK so you can apply for a replacement BRC (once you have the replacement BRC you can then use this for travel back into the UK).


To qualify for the EU Settlement Scheme Travel Permit you must report to the Home Office if your existing BRC has been lost, stolen, damaged or has expired. Visit https://www.gov.uk/uk-residence-card/report-a-lost-or-stolen-card to see what information you should email to the Home Office. (This page does not address expired cards, but since reporting is a pre-requisite for applying for a Travel Permit, we suggest you follow the instructions under ‘Your card is damaged’ if your card has expired).


To apply for a EUSS Travel Permit - visit https://www.gov.uk/euss-travel-permit.


To apply for a new BRC once back in the UK, visit https://www.gov.uk/uk-residence-card/replace