EU citizens living in Scotland after Brexit

Last updated: 29 December 2020

The UK left the European Union on 31 January 2020. This process is often known as 'Brexit'.

The UK Government and the EU have now agreed a deal on their future relationship. From 1 January 2021 this new relationship with the EU will begin.

There will be effects on some areas of life in Scotland. This includes changes for EU citizens living in Scotland.

This page will be updated to give the latest facts. Keep checking back for new information.

EU Settlement Scheme

EU citizens living in the UK will have to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS) by 30 June 2021 to keep living in the UK after this date.

To be eligible to apply EU citizens will need to prove their identity, residency and suitability.

You'll also have to apply to the EUSS if you're a citizen of:

  • Norway
  • Iceland
  • Liechtenstein
  • Switzerland

Family members of citizens of these countries may also be able to apply.

If you do not apply to the scheme, you may not be able to continue living or working in the UK.

You do not need to apply if you have indefinite leave to enter or remain in the UK.

Irish citizens can apply to the EUSS but do not have to. They'll continue to benefit from the Common Travel Area.

Visit the GOV.UK website for more information on the EU Settlement Scheme including:

  • how to apply
  • who should apply
  • when to apply
  • what status you'll receive
  • your rights
  • EU citizens with permanent residence or indefinite leave to remain
  • EU citizens under 21

People with settled status may also be eligible able to apply for British citizenship, if they meet the criteria.

EU citizens who come to live in Scotland from 1 January 2021

EU citizens who start to live in Scotland from 1 January 2021 are not protected by the Withdrawal Agreement. They're not eligible to apply to the EUSS. They must apply through the UK Government's immigration rules to live, work and study in Scotland.

Package of support

Read the First Minister's open letter to all EU citizens in Scotland.

It tells how much she values their contribution, urging them to stay. It also gives information on the support available to EU citizens in Scotland.

The Scottish Government has produced a package of support to help EU citizens stay in Scotland. This package of support includes:

  • a guide for EU citizens
  • a guide for employers of EU citizens
  • a factsheet

The government has also committed more than £1 million to supporting EU citizens in Scotland through:

  • factsheets published by JustRight Scotland
  • Citizens Advice Scotland's Advice and Support Service
  • Citizens' Rights Project briefing and outreach events


As part of the package, the Scottish Government has worked with JustRight Scotland to publish some factsheets. They explain the rights of EU citizens in Scotland with settled and pre-settled status. The factsheets give information on EU citizens' rights to:

  • vote
  • work
  • access healthcare
  • education
  • housing
  • benefits

They're available in English and 5 European languages.

Citizens Advice Scotland

Citizens Advice Scotland runs a free national helpline as part of the Advice and Support Service. You can get information, advice and support by calling the helpline on 0800 916 9847. Android devices for completing the ID document check can also be accessed through your local Citizens Advice Bureau.

More information about Brexit available from Citizens Advice Scotland.

Citizens' Rights Projects

The Citizens' Rights Project organise online and face-to-face information sessions about the EU Settlement Scheme and EU citizens' rights after Brexit. These sessions are available in different languages and for citizens, employers, local councils, and third sector organisations).

Find information about Citizens' Rights Project events.

They have a team of trained, multilingual advisers that can support people with their EU Settlement Scheme applications.

You can contact them by text message, WhatsApp, or by phoning them on 07518926137. You can also email the Citizens Rights' Project at

Requirements for entry to the UK

Check the requirements for entry to the UK for citizens of EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein.

Healthcare for EU citizens visiting the UK

You need to take out suitable travel insurance with health cover before travelling to the UK. You'll be charged for NHS healthcare if you do not have the right insurance.

Check guidance on Healthcare for EU citizens visiting the UK.

Recognising professional qualifications in the UK

Check guidance on getting your qualification recognised in the UK from 1 January 2021.

You'll not be able to work in a regulated profession if your qualification from the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein is not recognised in the UK.

You'll need to check this even if you're providing temporary or occasional professional services.

Apply for a permit

Apply for a permit to join your family member in the UK if they're from the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein.

You may not be able to join your family member in the UK if you do not have the right permit.

More information

You can also check these websites for updates: