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I'm EU studying in the UK. I think expatriates is the most suitable StackExchange for my question, and I tried to add some meaningful tags: please suggest moving to another StackExchange website or suggest other tags, need there be!

What is really the benefit in gaining pre-settled status, in case I’m leaving the UK and (at least for now) planning to start living in some other country from 29 June 2021?

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    I suggest you to apply for pre-settled status. If you leave the UK, your pre-settled status expires 2 years after you leave the country. But this gives you 2 extra years to come back with full right to live and work in the country. Or, at least it might restart the clock and give you 2 extra years if you visit for some time and leave again. Otherwise, without the EU Settlement Scheme, after the deadline all you'll be able to do is essentially come as a tourist for up to 6 months with no rights to work or study. It might not matter to you now but life changes. And it's free. – kiradotee Jul 15 at 20:37
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There does not seem to be any direct benefit, as the withdrawal agreement created a kind of six-month grace period after the end of the transition period (with some additional rules that are not really relevant to your case). The British government official web pages confirm that

The rights and status of EU, EEA and Swiss citizens living in the UK will remain the same until 30 June 2021.

That said, one benefit is that it would give you the option to stay beyond June 30th without a mad scramble to submit an application at the end of June or a court fight on the exact meaning of the withdrawal agreement. It should even be possible to come back to the UK for some time afterwards (definitely a few months, possibly longer) as you would not lose your pre-settled status immediately upon leaving (exactly how much time you have to do that while still being able to transition to settled status is not entirely clear to me).

You're obviously not planning to do any of that at the moment but if submitting the application is not too onerous to you, it could be worth considering. Once the time window to submit an application is closed, it will be much more complicated.

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The benefit would be that you would be legaly residing in the United Kingdom after the 31st of December 2020.

With the exception of citizens of the Republic of Ireland, the long term residence status of EU Citizen in the United Kingdom will change when the transition period ends after the 31th of December 2020

  • Article 10 (1)(a)

The EU Settlement Scheme is a verification that the applicant fullfills the conditions of Article 10 (1)(a).

  • Article 18 (1)(a)

The deadline, where the application for this verification must take place, is 6 months after the transition period ends

  • Article 18 (1)(b)

The main benifit will be that you can prove your legal status when asked (employer, immigration).

If you recieve the right to reside permanently through this application, you may return within a period of 5 years under the same conditions

  • Article 15 (3)

Otherwise the time of residence in the United Kingdom will be documented and thus counted for receiving a permanent residence or to fullfill the conditions for nationalisation.


AGREEMENT on the withdrawal of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland from the European Union and the European Atomic Energy Community

  • 12 November 2019 (2019/C 384 I/01)

...
PART TWO
CITIZENS' RIGHTS
TITLE I
GENERAL PROVISIONS
...
Artical 10
Personal scope

  1. Without prejudice to Title III, this Part shall apply to the following persons:

(a) Union citizens who exercised their right to reside in the United Kingdom in accordance with Union law before the end of the transition period and continue to reside there thereafter;
(b) United Kingdom nationals who exercised their right to reside in a Member State in accordance with Union law before the end of the transition period and continue to reside there thereafter;
(c) Union citizens who exercised their right as frontier workers in the United Kingdom in accordance with Union law before the end of the transition period and continue to do so thereafter;
(d) United Kingdom nationals who exercised their right as frontier workers in one or more Member States in accordance with Union law before the end of the transition period and continue to do so thereafter;
...
Article 11
Continuity of residence
Continuity of residence for the purposes of Articles 9 and 10 shall not be affected by absences as referred to in Article 15(2).

The right of permanent residence acquired under Directive 2004/38/EC before the end of the transition period shall not be treated as lost through absence from the host State for a period specified in Article 15(3).
...
Article 15
Right of permanent residence

  1. Union citizens and United Kingdom nationals, and their respective family members, who have resided legally in the host State in accordance with Union law for a continuous period of 5 years or for the period specified in Article 17 of Directive 2004/38/EC, shall have the right to reside permanently in the host State under the conditions set out in Articles 16, 17 and 18 of Directive 2004/38/EC. Periods of legal residence or work in accordance with Union law before and after the end of the transition period shall be included in the calculation of the qualifying period necessary for acquisition of the right of permanent residence.

  2. Continuity of residence for the purposes of acquisition of the right of permanent residence shall be determined in accordance with Article 16(3) and Article 21 of Directive 2004/38/EC.

  3. Once acquired, the right of permanent residence shall be lost only through absence from the host State for a period exceeding 5 consecutive years.

...
Article 18

Issuance of residence documents

  1. The host State may require Union citizens or United Kingdom nationals, their respective family members and other persons, who reside in its territory in accordance with the conditions set out in this Title, to apply for a new residence status which confers the rights under this Title and a document evidencing such status which may be in a digital form.

Applying for such a residence status shall be subject to the following conditions:

(a) the purpose of the application procedure shall be to verify whether the applicant is entitled to the residence rights set out in this Title. Where that is the case, the applicant shall have a right to be granted the residence status and the document evidencing that status;

(b) the deadline for submitting the application shall not be less than 6 months from the end of the transition period, for persons residing in the host State before the end of the transition period.

For persons who have the right to commence residence after the end of the transition period in the host State in accordance with this Title, the deadline for submitting the application shall be 3 months after their arrival or the expiry of the deadline referred to in the first subparagraph, whichever is later.

A certificate of application for the residence status shall be issued immediately;
...


Sources:

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    What is the notion that EU citizens covered by the withdrawal agreement would be staying illegally between December 31st 2020 and June 30th 2021 based on? – Relaxed Jul 9 at 16:38
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    Specifically, the withdrawal agreement is quite explicit that all the people covered have a right to remain in the UK, they don't have to apply for a permission (this is a familiar distinction in EU law). This, together with the application deadline and the explicit statement that “The rights and status of EU, EEA and Swiss citizens living in the UK will remain the same until 30 June 2021” found on gov.uk make it very difficult to see how someone would be staying “illegally” in the UK from January 1st 2021 (as opposed to being merely a bit late with a formality). – Relaxed Jul 12 at 15:46
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    People coming to the UK after January are in an entirely different situation but that's not what we are discussing here. That (and the eligibility to the settlement scheme) is what changes at the end of 2020, not so much the status of people who are already covered. – Relaxed Jul 12 at 15:49
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    People who come to the UK up to 31 December 2020 are still fully legal for the 6 months after. Employers, landlords and public service providers will continue to accept EU citizens’ passports and identity cards as evidence of their immigration status until 30 June 2021. Source: gov.uk/guidance/… – kiradotee Jul 15 at 20:47
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    And another source: You’ll need to check a job applicant’s right to work in the same way as now until 30 June 2021. ... You have a duty not to discriminate against EU, EEA or Swiss citizens. You cannot require them to show you their status under the EU Settlement Scheme until after 30 June 2021. gov.uk/guidance/… – kiradotee Jul 15 at 20:50

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