The EU Settlement Scheme – decoding documentary evidence of residency

For many EU nationals applying for either Pre-Settled or Settled Status in the UK, from the end of 2018 the process should be straightforward because the Government will check official data related to their previous tax and/or pension payments – and that should be enough evidence for a successful application.

However, there will be quite a few people where the information gathered by the HMRC and the DWP will not be sufficient to show they’re residing in the UK – they will then need to provide documents which show they’ve been living in the UK. Individual’s circumstances will obviously be different, but the Government seems confident that most EU nationals who’ve been here for more than five years (i.e. applying for Settled Status) will need to provide a maximum of five documents.

Officials also seem mindful that some people won’t have such evidence in their own names and have said they’ll work with them to help prove their residency as best they can – allowing them appropriate time to gather evidence. People applying for Pre-Settled or Settled Status will be asked if they have any of the following preferred documents which show they’ve been living in the UK, as one of these may be enough to ensure their application is granted:

  • an annual bank statement or account summary covering 12 months of payments
  • annual business accounts, if they’re self employed
  • a P60 covering a 12 month period
  • a document which indicates employer pension contributions
  • a signed and dated letter from:

– their employer, confirming how long they’ve been working there?

– a registered care home, stating how long they’ve been a resident?

– an accredited organisation confirming attendance at, duration and or/completion of a course

  • a dated and addressed invoice from an official education provider which shows the student’s name, plus evidence of payment
  • documents issued by the student finance body or Student Loans Company
  • a mortgage statement or residency agreement, as well as evidence that the fees have been paid
  • a dated and addressed council tax bill


If applicants don’t have any of the above documents, they’ll be asked to submit some of the following dated documents – which typically cover a shorter time period in the UK:

  • a bank statement, payslip or work invoice
  • a UK addressed domestic bill, utility bill or contract for a telephone, TV or internet service which shows the applicant’s name
  • a letter from a UK GP or healthcare professional which shows that the applicant has attended an appointment
  • a letter from a UK Government department, public body or charity (e.g. Citizens’ Advice or Job Centre) which shows the applicant has been liaising with them
  • a passport stamp which shows the applicant has entered the UK
  • a used travel ticket for their trip to the UK

The Government has warned, however, that the above lists are being refined shortly, plus that other documents such as character references, wedding photographs, postcards or multimedia evidence will not be accepted as proof of UK residency.

The deadline for applying will be 30 June 2021, or 31 December 2020 if the UK leaves the EU without a deal. EU nationals should have plenty of time to acquire the above documents if they don’t have them already in place.

The Government has also communicated that there will be support available for vulnerable people, those who don’t speak English, plus people who don’t have access to computers as the application scheme will be online.

Whatever happens, always remember that the Brexit Decoded Forum will be debating and updating all these Residency Document issues – as they arise and with unique insights from members who are in the same position as you.





You’ll be asked to verify your identity by using the EU Exit: ID Document Check app during your application under the EU Settlement Scheme. Details of who is eligible are available on GOV.UK.

The app will:

  • check that your identity document is genuine
  • verify that the document belongs to you

You must use either:

  • your EU biometric passport if you’re an EU citizen
  • your UK residence card with a biometric chip if you’re the non-EU family member of an EU citizen
ePassport symbol
This symbol shows that your document can be read by the app

Check if you can use the app on your device

You’ll need an Android device with NFC (Near-Field Communication) to use the app.

Look in your phone settings to see if it has NFC. NFC is what the app uses to scan your document.

If you can use your phone to pay for things using contactless, this means it has NFC and you can use the app.

Your device will need:

  • Android 6.0 or above – you can find this in your device settings
  • at least 135MB of storage space to install the app
  • to be connected to 3G/4G or WiFi
  • NFC – you can find this in your device settings

The app will need access to your device’s camera. If the app does not prompt you requesting access, please enable access in your device settings.

How to use the app

Scan your document

Scan the photo page of your passport using the camera on your Android device. The full page must be inside the frame, including the two lines of numbers at the bottom of the page. Make sure your phone camera is focused on the text on the page.

The app will prompt you to adjust your Android device to make sure you capture your document effectively. These prompts will appear in a text box at the top of your screen.

'Scan your document' screen – make sure you include all the information in your photo
‘Scan your document’ screen – make sure you include all the information in your photo


'Scan your document' – try taking the photo of your document at arm's length if you are having problems
‘Scan your document’ – try taking the photo of your document at arm’s length if you are having problems

Check your document’s information

Remove any cases or covers from your document and Android device and make sure the volume is turned up.

Click the ‘check now’ button in the app when you are ready to start checking your document.

Place the Android device on top of your document when the app tells you to ‘check your document’s information’.

'Check your document’s information' screen – move the device around the document until the app recognises it
‘Check your document’s information’ screen – move the device around the document until the app recognises it

A progress bar will let you know when the check begins and when it is complete. Do not move the Android device until the check is complete.

If the app doesn’t recognise your document, you should slowly move your device around the document until the app recognises it. You’ll hear a beep if your document has been recognised and the volume on your device is turned up.

If you’re using a passport and you continue to have problems, place the phone on the reverse cover or the photo page.

If the app cannot read the chip in your passport or UK residence card

If the app is not able to read the chip in your document, we’ll ask you to send your passport to us for manual checking of your identity and nationality.

Details of how you can do this are provided in the application. We’ll ensure that your document is returned to you without delay.

Scan your face

The screen will flash as it scans your face. You should hold your device’s camera in front of your face until the scanning is complete.

You can skip this step and provide different evidence to prove your identity if flashing light may cause you difficulties. You can do this by going to the ‘Find out more’ menu and selecting ‘Skip this step’.

If you’re 10 years old or younger, you will not be asked to scan your face.

Take a photo of yourself

You should:

  • look straight into the camera
  • have a neutral expression – do not smile or frown
  • remove tinted glasses, for example sunglasses

Your photo should:

  • be well-lit in neutral lighting
  • have no other faces in the background

Completing your application

After using the app to verify your identity, you can complete the rest of the application either on that device or on any smartphone, laptop or computer.

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