Important Information About the New Immigration System

new immigration system

The last free movement day within the European Union (EU) was December 31, 2020. For EU members, there is now a new immigration system. Irish people can still quickly come to the UK, live, and work there.

The Visa Application Process

More ways to come to the UK to work, live, or learn have become available.

You can get a visa online and pay for it, too.

You’ll have to provide your genetic information when you apply. The steps to do this are:

Citizens of the EU, EEA, and Switzerland

For most visas, you’ll need to use an app on your phone to take a digital picture of your face. You won’t have to leave your track print.

For some routes, you’ll need to get your picture taken at a foreign visa application centre.

Non-EU Nationals

You will still have to go to a foreign visa application office and give your fingerprints and a picture.

Skilled workers

There is a way for skilled workers with a job offer from an approved business backer to use the points-based system.

The job you’re applying for needs skills at least at the RQF3 level, which is the same as an A level. You will also need to be able to speak English and have a sponsor who pays you enough money. That amount will be higher than the general pay limit of £26,200, or the going rate for your job.

If your pay is less than this but at least £20,960, you might still be able to apply by “trading” points based on specific traits for your income. For instance, if you have a job offer in short supply or a PhD related to the work.

You can learn more about how the points system works in the paper with more information.

Businesses need to find a way to hire people who make the minimum pay or are close to it.

Becoming a licenced sponsor is still okay if you want to help people come to the United States as trained workers.

Global Talent Scheme

EU, EEA, and Swiss people can join the global talent plan. It lets brilliant scientists and experts come to the UK even if they don’t have a job offer. 

International Students and Graduates

EU, EEA, and Swiss people can now get student visas through new routes. To study in the UK, you need to show that you have been given a place on a course, can speak, read, write, and understand English, and have enough money to pay for your course and live on.

A new graduate visa is available for foreign students who have finished a degree in the UK.

Visiting the UK

People from the EU, EEA, Switzerland, and other countries that don’t need visas can visit the UK for up to 6 months without a visa. People who want to come to the UK for other reasons, like to work or go to school, must ask for entry clearance ahead of time.

Before you go to the UK as a guest, ensure you know what the visitor immigration rules allow.

Getting Married

You must apply for a Marriage Visitor visa to get married or form a civil partnership in the UK.

If you or your family are from the European Union, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, or Liechtenstein

You must apply for a marriage visitor visa to get married or form a civil partnership in the UK.

EU, EEA and Swiss Citizens Who Were Living in the UK by December 31, 2020

You can get the free EU Settlement Scheme instead of a visa if you move to the UK by December 31, 2020. The limit was June 30, 2021, but you can still use it if you explain why you had to wait to apply.

Check to see if the EU Settlement Scheme is still open to you.

Outside of the UK, you can only apply if you have a current passport or national ID card with a fingerprint chip.

Crossing the UK Border

People from Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, the United States, Singapore, and South Korea can still use ePassport gates to cross the border when they arrive if their cards have a fingerprint chip. People from the EU, EEA, and Switzerland can now use ePassport gates.

From October 1, 2021, you won’t be able to enter the UK with an EU, EEA, or Swiss ID card unless you:

  • Someone who has settled or pre-settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme, applied to the scheme by June 30, 2021, but hasn’t heard back yet, has an EU Settlement Scheme family permit, a frontier worker permit, is an S2 healthcare visitor, is a Swiss citizen, and has a Service Provider from Switzerland visa.
  • In these cases, you can continue to use your national ID card to enter the UK until at least 31 December 2025.

Providing Proof of Immigration Status in the UK

People who are EU citizens

People from the EU, EEA, and Switzerland can use the web service to check their immigration status and show that they are who they say they are.

By reading this guide, learn how to see and show your legal status and change your information.

Employers can get help with checking the right to work of EU people and their family members in the UK.

People who are not EU citizens

Individuals not members of the European Union can still use actual paper to demonstrate their immigration status.

People who have a legal and up-to-date Biometric Residence Permit, Biometric Residence Card, or status given under the EU Settlement Scheme can also use an online service to show their rights.

There is information for companies on how to do an actual or online paper check.


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