Pre-settled status lapses after spending a period of two years or longer, out of the UK.

However, you need to make sure you maintain continuity of residence in order to secure settled status when pre-settled status expires, 5 years after it was granted.

Although pre-settled status allows up to 2 years outside the UK without losing your status, if you spend more than 6 months outside the UK in any 12 month period, during the 5 years you need to get settled status, you will not be able to apply for settled status, nor will you be able to extend your pre-settled status.

This means that, if you break the continuity of residence during the 5 years your pre-settled status is valid for, you will only be able to stay in the UK until the expiry date of your pre-settled status, after that, you will have to either leave the UK or find another route to stay here, such as applying for a visa under the UK Immigration Rules, which may not be easy, nor an option for everyone.

Pre-settled status is valid for 5 years from the date it was granted, this is your ultimate deadline to apply for settled status, but you can apply as soon as you have completed your 5 year period of residence.

If you applied for pre-settled status from abroad as a family member, you need to travel to the UK within 6 months in order to maintain your residence.

Continuity of residence chart

Chart is currently being updated to reflect new Covid provisions from the government.

The government has updated its Covid guidance for EUSS applications following a legal challenge from Here for Good Law, who regarded the previous provisions as insufficient.

See: New Covid provisions for EU Settlement applications

Re-applying for pre-settled status

If you have pre-settled status and have not maintained continuity of residence by spending more than 6 months out of the UK, you should be able to make a new application, provided you can show being in the UK before the end of 2020 and no more than 6 months ago at the time you apply, as noted here: Submitting a new application.

If the time spent in 2020 was over 6 months ago, it will be necessary to provide both:
  • A document dated in 2020 to show eligibility based on being here before the end of the transition period; and
  • A document dated no more than 6 months ago.
If this is not possible, you may be able to rely on the updated Covid provisions: New Covid provisions for EU Settlement applications