Imagine the following scenario - an EU national with settled status tied to their current passport who has gone home to their EU member state to renew it.

This particular member state does not allow their nationals to keep their existing ID when they renew it and so they have to hand it in when they collect their replacement.

On their return to the UK, they will have a passport different from the one their settled status is linked to and will not have a physical copy of their old one.

How can they establish their right to live and work in the UK to border control?

I've run this scenario through my head several times and discussed it with people and it seems the general advice is to note down any existing passport/ID details and have them to hand when going through immigration control.

Is there something else that this EU national can do to demonstrate to border control they have settled status and so have residence rights in the UK (equivalent to indefinite leave to remain)?

For added complexity, imagine this EU national is coming back from a red list country, from which travellers are currently not permitted to travel to the UK unless they can demonstrate that they're either British or Irish nationals, or have residence rights in the UK.

  • How is settled status tied to a particular passport (or ID card)? Has the subject of the question considered replacing the documents at the appropriate consulate in the UK? Does the subject of the question have an EU Settlement Scheme biometric residence card?
    – phoog
    Jul 5, 2021 at 13:31
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    @phoog So not all EU nationals will be issued a biometric residence card, I think only certain roles make you eligible for one. In my case, I just have an email that says that to prove my settled status I need my passport number (there's an online service you use). But there's no information online on this specific situation - e.g. can I travel back on a passport that the Home Office doesn't know of?
    – Nobilis
    Jul 5, 2021 at 14:03

1 Answer 1


Here is all the information you might need to update your details (including your current ID): https://www.gov.uk/update-uk-visas-immigration-account-details

If you applied for settled or pre-settled status you should have a UKVI account as said in the article.

  • So that's not a problem, my specific issue is travelling back to the UK on a new passport. There's zero guidance what that means for EU nationals with settled status who don't have a biometric residence card. Normally, when passing through border control if you show them your passport it will be linked to your settled status and the agent will be able to see that. But if you have a new passport they don't know about, it won't. So what do you do in that situation?
    – Nobilis
    Jul 5, 2021 at 14:04
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    @Traveller I guess that supposes I have facilities to do that, e.g. internet connectivity and ideally a scanner that can take a decent enough scan so the app can parse the uploaded image (I think a phone camera might not necessarily produce a good enough image). Supposing I don't do that, I rock up at border control with my new passport and only my word that I have settled status and perhaps a scan of my old passport or even just its number. Will that mean I cannot enter the UK?
    – Nobilis
    Jul 6, 2021 at 9:04
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    @Spratty it's not the resolution I'm worried about, it's more if the format of the photo is something the app can understand, I've had better luck with a lower resolution scan than a camera taken photo. In any case, I think it's a fair question, there's no requirement that says I've got to upload my passport the moment I get it and prior to entering the UK if I obtained it overseas. And no guidance at all on entering the UK with a new passport that your settled status isn't linked with. In theory, shouldn't the Home Office be able to work out who I am even if I have a new passport?
    – Nobilis
    Jul 6, 2021 at 10:56
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    @Nobilis I see - sorry, I think I misunderstood the thrust of your point, which now makes much more sense to me. I won't try to address the question of should the Home Office be able to work out who you are (naively I would say "of course; they should know about all your passports" but life's seldom that simple when governments get involved), but I'm sure there are plenty of much better-informed people than me who can answer that part. I wish you good luck (sincerely) - the whole settled status business seems overly complicated to me.
    – Spratty
    Jul 6, 2021 at 11:26
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    @Spratty thank you, if we were allowed to have some government issued IDs it would have been so much simpler but the British government has been utterly obstinate about it being completely electronically.
    – Nobilis
    Jul 6, 2021 at 13:39

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