I lived in the UK 1994-2006 as a US citizen and had Indefinite Leave to Remain status. Living in the US again since 2006, I have lost that status. I am now a dual EU/US citizen, having become an Italian citizen 5 years ago, I also have a son who lives in England and has Indefinite Leave to Remain status, and a granddaughter also living in the UK who is a British Citizen. Can I get Pre-settled status in the UK while still living in the US? Does my years of living in the UK count in any way, or having relatives there? I would like to move back to the UK before December 31, 2020.

2 Answers 2


You MUST be living in the UK on December 31st, 11pm (which is 12pm in the rest of the EU). I would strongly recommend being there a week earlier or better two, in case some jobsworth tries to find a reason to claim you were not actually living there. I wouldn't trust them not to try that.

Rent a room from your son for that time and pay him rent (or rent from a real landlord), open a bank account, apply for a National Insurance number, get a phone contract, visit the job centre. May be a good idea to be there two weeks early and not having to organise things between Christmas and New Year.

Then you have about six months time to apply for settled status. You won't get it obviously, you will get pre-settled status, and five years after you entered the UK, you apply again and then you should get settled status, unless you left the UK for too long a time in those five years.

Here's a list of evidence that should get accepted: [1]: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/eu-settlement-scheme-evidence-of-uk-residence#evidence-that-covers-shorter-periods-of-time

  • Thank you very much! I guess I am most concerned about my husband being able to enter under myself/EEA. I am wondering if anyone knows where I can view a clear-cut description of what my husband can and cannot so if he enters the UK through myself/EEA. Would he need to be there by 31 December 2020? It seems he would not be able to apply under me for Pre-Settled status, and his stay in the UK can only be temporary. Further help greatly appreciated.
    – user20531
    Nov 21, 2020 at 17:20

Can I get Pre-settled status in the UK while still living in the US?

No. Settled status is essentially a "grandfathering" system to enable EU citizens to retain rights of free movement after the UK leaves the free movement system. As such, it is only available to EU citizens who reside in the UK.

I would like to move back to the UK before December 31, 2020.

In that case, you can apply, but you should only do so after you move to the UK. While the deadline for moving to the UK is December 31st, you have an extra six months to submit the application, for which the deadline is June 30, 2021.

It must be said that these deadlines are not particularly important if your EU country is Ireland, since Irish citizens will continue to have similar rights in the UK, unless you intend to bring a non-EU family member with you.

This isn't particularly explicit on the UK's pages explaining the program, but it is implied, for example in saying that you "can apply to the EU Settlement Scheme to continue living in the UK after 30 June 2021." If you want to wade through the relevant portion of the immigration rules, you'll find the following:

  1. To be eligible for pre-settled status, you must have a "continuous qualifying period" of less than five years (see section EU14)
  2. You do not have a continuous qualifying period because you have not resided in the UK as an Italian citizen (see section EU11, condition 3).

By definition, the continuous qualifying period must begin before the end of the transition period (that is, before 23:00 GMT on December 31, 2020). The definition is found in Annex 1:

continuous qualifying period:
a period of residence in the UK ...:
(a) which began before the specified date; and

The definition of "specified date" is currently (omitting subparagraph (b) because it does not apply:

specified date:
(a) (where sub-paragraph (b) below does not apply) 2300 GMT on 31 December 2020; or
(b) ...

  • Thank you so much. Is there an organization I could contact to help me find the best path to permanent residency? I am unclear how to proceed because I have a son who resides in the UK with Indefinite Leave to Remain and a granddaughter of 19 who resides in the UK and is a British citizen. Also, what is required for proof of residency? Is employment required and if so, what length? Thank you again. Help greatly appreciated.
    – user20531
    Oct 30, 2020 at 18:53
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    @user20531 several documents are permitted to prove residency, I used my council tax, but it was mentioned that bank statements, utility bills and other might be used too. here a list gov.uk/guidance/eu-settlement-scheme-evidence-of-uk-residence
    – bracco23
    Nov 2, 2020 at 17:42
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    As you can read you could also use a flight ticket, which might be useful
    – bracco23
    Nov 2, 2020 at 17:42
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    @user20531 Why don't you trust what the government says about their own laws? You will need to demonstrate that you reside there subsequently (with evidence that might include a utility bill) and you will have to show that your residence began before 11 PM GMT on 31 December, based on your having arrived there before then, but you don't have to have your household set up and operating before that time. On the other hand, the more you have to show by 31 December the better protected you would be against subsequent changes in government policy.
    – phoog
    Nov 5, 2020 at 17:06
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    @gnasher729 no, indefinite leave to remain is indefinite. Someone with ILR but no settled status won't be able to benefit from the preferential family immigration rules, but that's a far cry from "counting as nothing."
    – phoog
    Nov 17, 2020 at 2:46

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