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Help and advice for EU citizens in Scotland

All EU citizens living in Scotland must have immigration leave. The type of leave you need depends on:

  • when you started living in Scotland
  • why you’re living here

Irish citizens do not need immigration leave. 

EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS)

Late applications

You can still apply to the EUSS, if both of these apply:

  • you were living in the UK by the 31 December 2020
  • you think you have a good reason for applying late

Whether or not the UK Government will consider your application depends on your reason for applying late. Good reasons include, for example, you:

  • were under 18 years old at the time
  • had a serious medical condition
  • had care or support needs and were unaware of the requirement to apply

When you apply you need to explain why you’re applying late. The scheme is closed for anyone without a good reason for applying late.

You can check guidance on late applications on GOV.UK.

If you're still waiting on a decision

If you applied before 30 June 2021 and do not yet have a decision, your right to live, work and study will continue until the UK Government makes a decision.

If your application was successful

If your application was successful, you’ll have either:

  • settled status 
  • pre-settled status

If your application was refused

If you applied by 30 June 2021 and the UK Government refused your application they’ll explain their decision in a letter. 

The letter will also say if you can:

  • ask for an administrative review
  • appeal the decision 

Your right to live, work and study in Scotland will continue until you have a decision from any review or appeal.

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

If you started to live in Scotland from 1 January 2021, you must apply through the UK Government's immigration rules to live, work and study here.

What type of immigration you apply for depends on why you’re in Scotland.  For example, it will vary depending on whether you’re:

  • working
  • studying 
  • joining a family member 

You can find more information on visa requirements on GOV.UK.

Immigration rules can be complicated and you may want to get legal advice. You can find an immigration advisor or lawyer at:

Scottish Government support for EU citizens

We have support to help EU citizens stay in Scotland. This includes: 

Citizens Advice Scotland

Citizens Advice Scotland run a free national helpline as part of their EU Citizens' Support Service. 

Staff may be able to help you make a late application to the EUSS. 

You can get information, advice and support by phoning the helpline on 0800 916 9847. 

More information for EU citizens is available from the Citizens Advice Scotland.

Citizens' Rights Projects

The Citizens' Rights Project can give you information about EU citizens' rights. They run sessions in different languages. 

They have trained multilingual staff who can support EU citizens. They may be able to help you make a late application to the EU Settlement Scheme. 

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.

Contact by text message, WhatsApp, or phone on 07518926137. 



EU citizen employees must have immigration leave and the right to work. 

When employing someone for the first time, you should follow the Home Office right to work checks

If you employ someone and then after they start work their immigration status changes, you will have a ‘continuous statutory excuse’.  

The site has the latest information and guidance to Scottish businesses with EU employees.

Protecting EU citizens’ rights: Independent Monitoring Authority

The Independent Monitoring Authority (IMA) protects the rights of citizens from the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway in the UK. It does not cover Swiss citizens. 

The EU-UK Withdrawal Agreement sets out the rights of EU citizens who were living in the UK by 1 January 2020. The IMA helps to protect those rights. 

The IMA does not protect the rights of EU citizens who came to live in the UK after 1 January 2021. 

The IMA does 2 main things:

  • monitoring how UK public bodies are protecting EU citizens’ rights
  • promoting the effective implementation of citizens’ rights, such as helping public bodies to understand where things are going wrong so that they can put them right

You can report a complaint on the IMA website. 

More information

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