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When you apply for and get pre-settled status in the U.K., it remains valid until it expires after 5 years. You can during these five years apply for settled status, or you have to leave.

Question: If someone got pre-settled status in Jan 2019 expiring Jan 2024, and can’t fulfil the conditions for settled status by that time, can they apply again for pre-settled status say in December 2020, and then have until Dec 2025 to stay or to get settled status?

If not, does that mean that applying earlier can have negative consequences?

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    (+1) You're right that the pre-settled status would expire 5 years after the application as far as the British government is concerned but it's not obvious to me that this really matches what's in the withdrawal agreement. And there is also a kind of grace period until June 2021 to confuse things even further. – Relaxed Aug 19 at 13:41
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+100

I tried to find anything specific on the government's site, but it doesn't really tell anything about re-application, other than re-applying in case you contest the decision

If your application is unsuccessful

You can apply again at any time until 30 June 2021 if you think the decision should have been different, for example you got pre-settled status but expected to get settled status.

There’s no charge for this.

You can submit new information or evidence if you want to.

However FreeMovement does cater for the exact scenario you mention:

Mika is from Finland. He moved to the UK in March 2017 and was granted pre-settled status in March 2019. Mika therefore expects to qualify for settled status in March 2022.

In March 2020, Mika happens to be in Finland on a visit home and decides to ride out the coronavirus pandemic there. He eventually returns to the UK in November 2020. As Mika has been out of the UK for more than six months, he now can’t qualify for settled status until November 2025, after completing a continuous residence period of five years.

As he has been out of the UK for less than two years, he still has pre-settled status. But that pre-settled status will expire in March 2024, five years after it was granted. Mika can’t extend his existing pre-settled status beyond March 2024, so would be unable to reach November 2025. He therefore needs to reapply for pre-settled status when he returns to the UK in November 2020.

It explicitly says that people can (and should) re-apply in case they have lost their continuous residency during the transition period. While this is not an official government website related to the (pre-)settled status, it was written by solicitors handling immigration issues.

I have found another source - unfortunately also from a solicitor and not from the government - that also suggest you can re-apply:

1.23 Is there a limit on the number of times I can apply for settled status/pre-settled status?

No. You can reapply as many times as you want to before 31 December 2020.

Update: I was just pointed to an official source, which is the EU Settlement Scheme caseworker guidance. On page 25/26 under "Further applications" it says that:

Further applications

(...)

  • If the earlier application resulted in pre-settled status being granted, the further application must be considered in the normal way

This just approves that re-application is indeed possible. However later it also clarifies what re-application will do:

If you grant pre-settled status where the applicant has pre-settled status, then it will replace the earlier grant of pre-settled status. The date of the first grant of pre-settled status will remain the start date of their pre-settled status. The expiry date of their pre-settled status will be five years from the date of decision on the further application for pre-settled status.

For me this means that re-application is both possible and advised, as it will extend the 5 year period.

Also note that you have until 30 June 2021 to apply for pre-settled status - but you need proof that you arrived in the UK before 31 December 2020. Since re-applying is possible and will extend your eligibility the safest thing to do would be to re-apply in December 2020, and then once more around June 2021 to extend the 5 year deadline as much as possible to June 2026

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  • That is about what I found myself - I have my doubts that the UK government itself knows the answer, and that's why you couldn't find anything official from the government. – gnasher729 Aug 27 at 21:56
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    @gnasher729 i have reached out to the Home Office and also my MP in hope they provide an answer but nothing yet. I'll update the answer if I get something – SztupY Aug 28 at 17:46
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    Thank you for that. It would seem fundamentally unfair if someone who applies for settled status say on Dec 31st 2018 would end up in a worse legal position than someone in an identical situation applying on Dec 31st 2020. – gnasher729 Aug 30 at 22:40
  • @gnasher729 just received a pointer to an official source (the guidance that the caseworkers use who decide on the application) that seems to cover the solution - and it matches the unofficial sources. Updated the answer as well – SztupY Sep 3 at 10:30

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