After the Windrush scandal, the Home Office implemented a new scheme for long term residents to apply for certification of their legal right to live in the UK. Although aimed largely at Commonwealth citizens without documents, the scheme is open to people of any nationality, as long as they have been living in the UK since before the end of 1988 and have been settled here since then, without being away for two years or longer. The relevant application category for most EEA nationals would be: “A person of any nationality, who arrived in the UK before 31 December 1988 and is settled in the UK.”

Information and guidance

Windrush scheme and information

The Windrush Scheme

Application form (paper only)

Only eligible persons outside the UK can apply online. This option is only for certain Commonwealth citizens. If you are in the UK, you have to apply using the paper form.

If successful, you will be issued with a Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) confirming you have Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR).

ILR is valid for naturalization and also allows you to live here indefinitely and have full rights and access to benefits, healthcare, etc.

ILR lapses if you spend two years or longer, living abroad.

Settled status, for EEA nationals and their family members, allows up to five years. If you want to take advantage of this, and the enhanced family reunion provisions, you may want to exchange your ILR for settled status at some point in the future. However, there is no requirement to have settled status if you already have ILR, so you will not need to apply for it before the deadline, or ever, unless you wish to do so.

See Settlement Scheme.
It is possible to have both ILR and settled status.

You can only apply under the Windrush Scheme if you arrived in the UK before the end of 1988 and have lived here ever since.