For most people, the EU Settlement Scheme has largely lived up to the government’s promise of being generous and straightforward, but confusion over permitted absences is likely to cause some trouble. In particular, EU nationals who hold Pre-settled Status should be aware of the absence rules, particularly if they want to remain in the U.K. and plan to apply for Settled Status after five years.
Under current rules, if an EU national with Pre-settled Status is outside the U.K. for more than six months in any 12-month period during the five years it takes to qualify for Settled Status, they will generally have to start the five years all over again. And if they return after 31 December 2020, they may lose the right to upgrade to settled status entirely. Which means that these individuals will need to apply for a visa after 1 January 2021 under the new immigration rules.