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Changes to Pre-Settled Status

Home Offices statistics tell us that 5.7 million people have taken advantage of the EU Settlement Scheme and hold either Settled Status or Pre-Settled Status. Whether this is a good or a bad thing must be a matter of opinion but it is certainly a significant statistic.

Pre-Settled Status is granted for five years, and after five years migrants may be able to apply for Settled Status. But because of a case held before the High Court in 2022 the Home Office has had to change its rules. 

Bearing in mind that some people were granted Pre-Settled Status as long ago as 2018, some migrants are now coming up to the five-year point, and the High Court said that it was not lawful that holders of Pre-Settled Status could become overstayers if for some reason they did not apply for Settled Status. The Home Office responded to this by automatically adding two years’ leave on to the leave held by holders of Pre-Settled Status if their leave was coming up for expiry so they would not become overstayers. 

The Home Office has now announced further changes about this. It appears that it will now extend Pre-Settled Status by five years, not two. 

And whereas previously a holder of Pre-Settled Status would lose it after spending more than two years outside the UK this has now also been changed to five years (four years for Swiss nationals and family members). This brings the law into line with the law for holders of Settled Status.

However, the law about how holders of Pre-Settled Status qualify for Settled Status – and most particularly the requirement that they do not spend too much time outside the UK – has not changed. The basic rule is that if a holder of Pre-Settled Status spends more than six months outside the UK in any 12-month period (with limited exceptions) they do not qualify for Settled Status. 

Some of these scenarios could be rather confusing. If you are affected by this or you want more detailed advice we at GSN Immigration will do our best to help you. 


Oliver Westmoreland

Senior Immigration Lawyer