EU Settlement Scheme

The need to signpost European nationals for advice on settled status in the UK

Now that the UK has left the European Union all EU, EEA or Swiss citizens living in Northern Ireland must apply to have their legal status confirmed. They must apply for a new EU immigration status – ‘settled’ or ‘pre-settled’ status – in order to protect their right to continue to live, work, study or access the NHS or other services in the UK. This requirement applies to all the 88,000 (approx.) EU nationals living in NI (unless they have already applied for British or Irish citizenship), no matter how long they have lived here. The deadline for applying is June 30, 2021.

The application for settled status is made online and the process of applying is relatively straightforward. Information on this is available on the Home Office website here:

Advice NI and the Stronger Together Consortium offer free, independent, multilingual OISC-regulated advice over the phone and online to EU citizens who need help to apply to the EUSS. Advice NI and the Stronger Together Consortium offer free, independent, multilingual OISC-regulated advice (OSCIC – Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner) over the phone and online to EU citizens who need help to apply to the EUSS. Face-to-face meetings and appointments are suspended for the moment due to the Covid-19 pandemic. However both organisations continue to offer one-to-one support & specialised legal and/or immigration advice via the telephone and internet to support vulnerable EU citizens with their EUSS applications. Help is available as follows:

Organisation Telephone Times
Advice NI
Advice NI FREEPHONE: 0800 138 6545
Mon – Fri
Advice North West (Derry & Strabane) FREEPHONE: 0300 303 3650 Mon – Fri
9.30am–12.30 & 2pm–4pm
Community Advice Antrim & Newtownabbey 028 9036 5860 Mon, Tues & Thurs
9am–1pm & 2pm–4pm;
Wed 9am–1pm; Fri 9am–12pm
Community Advice Armagh 028 3752 4041 Mon – Fri
Community Advice Banbridge 028 4062 2201 Mon – Fri
Causeway Community Advice, Coleraine 028 703 44817   Mon – Fri
9.30am–1pm & 2pm–4pm
Community Advice Craigavon 028 3836 1181 Mon – Fri
Community Advice Fermanagh 028 6632 4334 Mon – Fri
Community Advice Newry, Mourne & Down FREEPHONE: 0300 3030 4334 Mon – Fri
East Belfast Independent Advice Centre 028 9073 5690 Mon – Fri
East Belfast Independent Advice Centre Drop-in clinic:
55 Templemore Avenue
Belfast, BT5 4FP
Mon, Tues, Wed 9.30am – 11.30; Thursday
2pm – 3.30pm
Mid & East Antrim Community Advice 028 9600 1333 Mon – Fri
Migrant Centre NI, Derry 028 7141 4848 Mon – Fri
Migrant Centre NI, Derry Walk-in clinic:
The Old Church, Clarendon Street, Derry BT48 7ES
Migrant Centre NI, Lurgan Walk-in clinic:
Unit 3, CIDO Business complex, Charles Street, Lurgan BT666HG
Migrant Centre NI, Belfast Walk-in clinic:
Ballynafeigh Community Development Association,
283 Ormeau Road,
Belfast BT73GG
Omagh Independent Advice Services Walk in clinic:
The Community House
2 Drumragh Avenue,
Omagh, BT78 1DP
Tues & Thurs
10am–12noon & 2pm–4pm
Stronger Together consortium:
Stronger Together EUSS Support Project: frontline and specialist services 028 87750211   Mon – Fri
9am – 5pm  
Stronger Together EUSS Frontline:  phone, email or drop in to make an appointment  
STEP Belfast 074 4941 1943 Mon – Fri
9am – 5pm  
YMCA North Down Bangor   028 9145 4290 Mon – Fri
9am – 5pm  
The Welcome Project, Lisburn 028 9266 4443 Mon – Fri
9am – 5pm  
Interethnic Forum, Ballymena 028 2564 3605 Mon – Fri
9am – 5pm  
Community Intercultural Programme,  Portadown Craigavon 028 3839 3372 Mon – Fri
9am – 5pm  
STEP Mid Ulster 028 8775 0211 Mon – Fri
9am – 5pm
Omagh Ethnic Community Support Group 028 8224 9750 Mon – Fri
9am – 5pm  
North West Migrant Forum 028 7136 2184 Mon – Fri
9am – 5pm  
Specialist Immigration & Legal Services (by referral from frontline service & appointment only)
STEP Immigration 028 8775 0211 Mon – Fri
9am – 5pm
Children’s Law Centre 028 9024 5704 Mon – Fri 
9am – 5pm
Law Centre NI   Immigration and Asylum Advice line 028 9024 4401 Wed – Friday, 09.30-13.00

We have included some scenarios below to help people realise how seriously people could be affected if they do nothing.


Beatrice has lived in Northern Ireland for over 25 years. She is a Danish national who met and married an Irish man when she was a student. “I’ve lived most of my life in Northern Ireland; my children were born here” she says. “I don’t think this EUSS requirement to register applies to me.” Thinking that the requirement to apply for settled status applies only to recently arrived EU ‘migrants’, she takes no steps to register for settled status. In August 2021, Beatrice is diagnosed with cancer. Her doctor wants to organise hospital treatment. As a preliminary step, she is asked to demonstrate that she is lawfully in the UK and entitled to free use of NHS services. She is unable to do this as she has not gained ‘settled status’; she is told that she is not entitled to free treatment but must pay for it.


Paolo is a Lithuanian national who has lived in Northern Ireland for the last five years; he works in a food factory whenever the work is available. He has limited English and is unaware of the need to apply for the new immigration status for EU nationals. In September 2021, his boss tells him there is a vacancy for a supervisor in the factory and encourages him to apply. As part of the application, Paolo must demonstrate that he is lawfully in the UK and entitled to work here. He is unable to do so and loses both this opportunity and his intermittent employment at the factory.


Roman is a Romanian national living in Belfast for over 10 years. A friend helped him complete his application to the EU Settlement Scheme. As he has been working in a car wash for cash payments, his DWP tax and National Insurance records are incomplete. He can show he has lived in the UK for at least one year, but doesn’t have the documentary evidence to prove he has been continuously resident here for at least five years. He decides to apply to ‘pre-settled status’ as it is easier to prove that he is currently in the UK. In 2025, Roman’s pre-settled status expires, and because he did not apply for settled status instead, he no longer has a legal right to live, work, access health or other services in the UK.


Olivia is a Bulgarian national who has lived in Northern Ireland for seven years. Having been advised she was entitled to ‘permanent residence’ under EU law (as previously existed), she made an application to the Home Office, and has an official document to prove that she has ‘permanent residence’. Thinking that she is protected by this document, Olivia does not apply for settled status under the new EU settlement scheme. As a result, she has no legal right to live, work, access health or other services in the UK.

EMBRACE is grateful to Free Movement and Advice NI for the provision of the scenarios.

A pdf version of all the above information is available here