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The journey from pre-settled to settled status in the UK marks a significant milestone for many residents. This transition is more than just a change in documentation—it’s a step towards securing a long-term future in the country. With the right guidance and understanding, the process can be straightforward and stress-free. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know about switching from pre-settled to settled status, ensuring you’re well-equipped to make this important move.

Understanding Pre-Settled and Settled Status

Before diving into the transition process, it’s crucial to grasp what pre-settled and settled status entail.

What is Pre-Settled Status?

Pre-settled status is granted to individuals who have lived in the UK for less than five years. It acknowledges your right to work, study, and access public services and benefits, albeit temporarily.

What is Settled Status?

Settled status, on the other hand, is awarded to those who have continuously lived in the UK for five years or more. It offers more security, granting indefinite leave to remain and the freedom to live permanently in the UK.

Am I eligible to apply for settled status based on my time in the UK?

Eligibility Criteria for Settled Status

Transitioning from pre-settled to settled status requires meeting specific criteria:

  • Continuous Residence: You must have lived in the UK for at least five years, with absences not exceeding six months in any 12-month period.
  • Proof of Residence: Documentation proving your continuous residence in the UK is essential.
  • Criminal Record Check: Applicants must pass a criminal record check to ensure they meet the good character requirement.
Do I meet the continuous residence requirement for settled status?
Immigration: approve automatically 6 5

The Transition Process: Step-by-Step Guide

Step 1: Gathering Evidence of Continuous Residence

Start by compiling documents that prove your continuous residence in the UK. Bank statements, utility bills, and employment contracts are good examples.

Step 2: Online Application

The UK government’s website provides an online application form for those seeking to switch from pre-settled to settled status. Ensure all information is accurate and up-to-date. You can apply for pre-settled and settled status as a family member on GOV.UK.

Step 3: Submitting Biometric Information

You may need to provide fingerprints and a photo as part of your application. This can usually be done at designated locations across the UK.

Step 4: Await the Decision

Processing times can vary, but you’ll receive a decision on your application via email. Patience is key during this waiting period. If you have questions about the scheme, you can ask them on GOV.UK – they’ll reply within 5 working days.

What documents count as proof of continuous residence for my application?

Common Questions and Concerns

What if I’ve Been Away from the UK?

Absences of more than six months in a 12-month period can affect your eligibility. However, exceptions exist for important reasons such as illness or study. If you need to update your UKVI account, you can do so on GOV.UK.

Can My Family Members Also Switch Their Status?

Family members who have lived in the UK for five years can apply for settled status. Those with less than five years can apply for or continue with pre-settled status.

What Happens If My Application Is Denied?

You can request a review of the decision if you believe it was incorrect. Legal advice may be beneficial at this stage. If you don’t get settled status and you think a mistake was made, you might be able to apply for an administrative review on GOV.UK. This costs £80, and you’ll get this money back if the decision is changed because of a mistake.

Am I eligible for an exception due to my absence?

How Contend Can Help

At Contend, we understand that navigating legal processes can be daunting. Our AI legal assistant is designed to simplify these complexities, offering clear, personalized guidance on transitioning from pre-settled to settled status. Chat with our AI legal expert today for trusted advice tailored to your situation—all in 5 minutes or less.

What steps do I need to take to transition from pre-settled to settled status?


Switching from pre-settled to settled status is a significant step for UK residents looking to secure their future in the country. By understanding the eligibility criteria, preparing the necessary documentation, and following the application process carefully, you can navigate this transition smoothly. And remember, Contend is here to provide you with the legal guidance and support you need every step of the way.

Ready to take the next step towards securing your future in the UK? Chat now with Contend’s legal expert and embark on your journey to settled status with confidence.

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This material is for general information only and does not constitute
tax, legal or any other form of advice. You should not rely on any
information contained herein to make (or refrain from making) any
decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your
own particular situation. Contend Inc is not regulated by the
Solicitor’s Regulation Authority.