The cut-off date is yet to be confirmed but May said it will not be earlier than March 2017 and no later than March 29, 20019, the day Britain is expected to leave the EU. The European Court of Justice will not have jurisdiction in the UK.
Monday's presentation offered more details of a proposal May brought to an EU summit last week, an offer which European Council President Donald Tusk said fell short of expectations and could water down citizens' rights.
He warned that "any degradation of the rights linked to freedom of movement" before Britain leaves the European Union would violate European Union law.
Nearly half (48pc) of migrant workers already in the United Kingdom see the country as being less attractive as a result of Brexit, the study showed, while highly skilled workers reported the largest drops in the attractiveness of the UK.
"The UK will continue to export and up-rate the UK State Pension within the European Union; the UK will continue to aggregate periods of relevant insurance, work or residence within the European Union accrued before exit to help meet the entitlement conditions for UK contributory benefits and state pension, even where entitlement to these rights may be exercised after it exit", the document states at one point.
But "settled status would generally be lost if a person was absent from the United Kingdom for more than two years, unless they have strong ties here", the government added.
The paper says the United Kingdom intends to maintain European Union citizens" existing access to benefits, healthcare, education and other economic rights "in the expectation that these rights will be reciprocated by European Union member states' for British nationals living in the EU.
"But he urged the government to start the application process for settled status as soon as possible". No, although people can apply for citizenship after six years' residency.
He also blamed the "calamitous errors of two Conservative prime ministers" - citing May and David Cameron - for plunging the country into "a hell of a mess". Since new rules were introduced in 2012, the United Kingdom partner - a British citizen or recognized refugee - must have a minimum annual income of at least £18,600 (around $23,000) for their spouse to live with them, if the spouse comes from outside the European Economic Area.
What's the deal with Ireland? "Now her mandate is in tatters, but the prime minister still insists she's the best person to get a good deal for Britain", he said to loud cheers from his party. Irish nationals won't need to apply as their status will be protected by the Common Travel Area agreement with Britain.
One major point of uncertainty is still on the table: May did not specify the cut-off date after which new arrivals from Europe will be subject to tighter rules.
Last night's BBC Newsnight reported that the United Kingdom is proposing online ID cards for those who take permanent residency, with data stored in a Home Office computer. They would also be likely be required to apply for a special ID card confirming their status.
"More ambition, clarity and guarantees needed than in today's United Kingdom position", he wrote on Twitter.