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The Right to Reside in the UK

You can use the information in this help guide to check if you have the right to reside in the United Kingdom and what happens if you don't. We also explain how the rules differ for citizens and families from the EU countries, Iceland, Norway, Switzerland, and Liechtenstein.

Do You Have the Right to Reside in the UK?

A simple definition of someone having the ‘right to reside’ is meeting the legal requirements for living in the United Kingdom.

So, you do have a right to live in the UK with British citizenship (including nationals of Channel Islands and Isle of Man) or if you (any):

  • Are a citizen of the Republic of Ireland.
  • Have indefinite leave to enter or remain (ILR) in the UK.
  • Have a valid residence document.
  • Are exempt (EXM) from immigration control.
  • Have pre-settled or settled status (e.g. you gained it successfully through the EU Settlement Scheme after Brexit).

Nationals from EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, or Switzerland

As long as you started living in the United Kingdom before the 1st of January 2021 you will have a right to reside if you are (any):

The same rights and status also apply for close family members of Swiss citizens or those from countries in the EU and EEA – until the 30th of June 2021.

The definition of a close family member (for the purpose of having a right to reside in the United Kingdom) is:

  • A spouse (e.g. husband, wife, or civil partner).
  • Children or grandchildren under the age of twenty one (21).
  • Dependent parents or grandparents.

Note: The main section contains more advice and information about United Kingdom visa rules and regulations including individual, tourist, and short stay visa applications.

Residing in the UK after 30th of June 2021

You and your close family members can apply to the EU Settlement Scheme (settled and pre-settled status) to continue living in the United Kingdom beyond the 30th of June 2021.

The same option applies for individuals who are not close family members if they have a valid residence card.

UK Rules for Residence Cards

Applications for a UK residence card (also known as an EEA biometric residence card) have now ended. But, you will still get a decision on your application if you applied before the 1st of January 2021.

Anyone with EU settled or pre-settled status will get their residence card by automatic process. Thus, there is no need to apply for it.

Having a valid UK residence card:

  • Helps to prove qualification for certain social security benefits entitlements and services.
  • Simplifies the re-entry process after travelling overseas.
  • Shows potential employers that you have permission to work in the United Kingdom.

Residing in the UK from 1st of January 2021

You have the right to reside if you joined a close family member who already has the right to live in the United Kingdom. But, they would need to have started living in the UK before the 1st of January 2021.

Whether you have a valid visa or a family permit would determine how long you would be allowed to stay in the country.

Note: Another section explains how to apply for a permit to join your EU or EEA family member in the UK (the EEA includes Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Norway).

Staying in the UK without the Right to Reside

In some circumstances, you can stay in the United Kingdom even when you do not have the right to reside, such as when you have a (either):

Note: Some Commonwealth citizens might be able to prove they have the right of abode in the United Kingdom (e.g. allowed to live or work in the country without any immigration restrictions).

Related Help Guides

Note: This short video presented by Workforce People Solutions contains further information about the EU Settlement Scheme and job opportunities across the United Kingdom.

Do You Have the Right to Reside in the United Kingdom?