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CIH Scotland

New Arrivals


Long-term EEA residents

This page is for new arrivals. If you are a housing adviser please click here for information more relevant to you.

On 1 January 2021 the law about housing and benefit entitlements for EU nationals changed, see the first section below. Our Brexit news page has any late updates not yet added to this page.

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You are an EEA national with a permanent right of residence if:

  • you entered the UK before 1 January 2021; and
  • either:
    • you qualify as a long-term resident, or
    • you qualify as a retired worker/self-employed person; and
  • you make (or have already made) an application to the EU Settlement Scheme before 1 July 2021.

Note: Your right to permanent residence expires on 30 June 2021, to continue to live, work and have access to housing, benefits and other services from 1 July onwards you must make an application to the EU Settlement Scheme by 30 June 2021.

You qualify as an EEA long-term resident if you lived in the UK for a continuous period of five years (with no gaps of longer than six months) by making use of one of your EEA rights to reside. You can also qualify for permanent right of residence in less than five years if you worked in the UK before you retired.

If your only right to reside is as an EEA family member (i.e. you are relying on the right to reside of the person you accompany) you can also acquire a permanent right of residence in certain circumstances (e.g. if the family member you accompany retires).

What counts towards the five-year qualification period?

Any period in which you are resident in the UK in which you are:

If you are unemployed and wish to rely on a period as a retained worker/self-employed person or as jobseeker you must register your unemployment at the Jobcentre (which you do by claiming universal credit/JSA), continue to sign on and meet any work-related conditions. You are advised to register even if you do not qualify for benefit at that time. Your registration cannot be backdated (no matter what your reasons) and even short gaps in your record can mean you have to start a fresh five-year qualifying period which would postpone the date you acquire settled status.

Any period of residence in the UK in which you make use of a European Union right to reside will count towards the qualification period. However, some periods where your right to reside arises solely from UK legislation does not: for example, time spent before your country joined the EU may only count in certain circumstances.

Can a permanent right of residence be lost?

Once you have acquired a permanent right of residence it can only be lost if:

  • you are absent from the UK for over two years
  • the Home Office decide that you must be deported because you are a serious threat to public policy or public security (this may happen if you have been convicted of a serious offence and there is reason to believe you will reoffend)
  • on 1 July 2021 if you have failed to register with the EU settlement scheme by 30 June 2021.

More Information

Chartered Institute of Housing Scotland