It’s worth applying to stay in the UK now. After 30 June 2021 you might be asked to prove your right to do things like get a job or use the NHS. Once you’ve got either settled or pre-settled status you will have a right to:

  • stay in the UK
  • work
  • study
  • use the NHS
  • claim benefits – including the State Pension
  • rent a home

You usually need to apply to stay in the UK if you’re from:

  • a country in the EU, European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland
  • another country and you are the family member of someone who is from the EU, EEA or Switzerland
  • The EEA includes EU countries and Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein.

You can apply for ‘pre-settled status’ or ‘settled status’ under the EU Settlement Scheme. You might also be able to apply for British citizenship, but it’s a good idea to apply for pre-settled or settled status too – it’s faster and it’s free.

If you’re a British or Irish citizen, you don’t need to apply to stay in the UK. If you have family members who aren’t British or Irish, you can check if your family can stay in the UK.

To get settled status, you need evidence that you’ve lived in the UK for 6 months out of every 12 months for 5 years in a row. As you say you and your children have lived in the UK for six years, you should be eligible for this.

In order to apply, you’ll need to have a few things. These include a passport or national ID card, a digital photo, your National Insurance number or proof of how long you’ve lived in the UK, a mobile number and an email address.

If you’ve been working, you can find your National Insurance number on your pay slip. If not you can contact HM Revenue and Customs National Insurance Helpline on 0300 200 3500 to help find it.

It may be easier to make your children’s application after you’ve made your own. This way you’ll be able to ‘link’ your child’s application to yours, using the application number you got when you applied for yourself.

You can do this at any time after you’ve applied – you do not need to wait for a decision. And if your own application is successful, your child will get the same status as you.

In order to apply on behalf of your children, you will need to have proof of your relationship – for example a birth certificate.

If you need any extra help with your application, your local Citizens Advice is on hand to help. You can find their details by going to and typing in your postcode.

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