EU Settlement Scheme

The EU Settlement Scheme was fully opened to the public on 30 March 2019. The Scheme allows EEA (which includes EU and also Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway) and Swiss nationals and their family members to continue to live, work, study and access services by applying to the EU Settlement Scheme successfully.

The deadline for applying is 30 June 2021 if the UK leaves the EU with a deal. In the event the UK leave the EU without a deal, the deadline for applying will be 31 December 2020.

Application process
The process is simpler than applying under the EU law and there is no application fee to apply for status under the EU Settlement scheme. The application has to be made online and you will not be asked which status you are applying for. You will automatically be given a status depending on your responses to the questions in the online form. You will be given either settled status or pre-settled status.

Settled status
If you have been resident in the UK for five continuous years at the point of application, you will be eligible for settled status.

Pre-settled status
If you have been resident in the UK for less than five years at the point of application, you will be eligible for pre-settled status.

There are 3 fundamental requirements of the application process:

1. Identity

You must prove your identity that you are an EEA citizen or the family member of such a person. Acceptable evidence is a valid passport, EEA or Swiss national identity card or biometric residence card or permit that confirms your identity and nationality. Non-EEA and non-Swiss applicants who do not already hold a biometric residence card must also provide fingerprints, which they are invited to enrol at a designated location. This can be done in 1 of 3 ways:

  • self-verification (of an EEA or Swiss passport or national identity card, or of a biometric residence card) by using the EU Exit: ID Document Check app
  • post – by sending their identity document to the Home Office where it will be checked and returned as soon as the relevant checks have been made
  • face-to-face – for EEA or Swiss passports and for biometric residence cards, at one of more than 50 identity document scanning locations across the UK

2. Criminality

The applicant must declare any criminal convictions in the UK and overseas. The Home Office will also conduct checks.

3. UK residence

Where the applicant does not have a valid permanent residence document or existing indefinite leave to enter or remain, they must demonstrate that they have been continuously resident in the UK.
This can be done in 1 of 3 ways:

  • providing their National Insurance number in the application so that UK Visas & Immigration can carry out automated checks of UK tax and some benefits records held by HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) and the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to establish their qualifying residence
  • providing their National Insurance number in the application and supplying additional evidence to add to the residence footprint identified by the automated checks
  • supplying documentary evidence of residence alone, without using the automated checks

Converting Permanent Residence status into settled status

If you have a valid UK permanent residence document, to continue living in the UK after 30 June 2021 you will be required to make an application under the EU Settlement Scheme to convert this to settled status (indefinite leave to remain, ILR) under UK immigration law. This is because, in future, the Free Movement Directive will no longer apply, and EEA citizens and their family members will need a UK immigration status in order to remain here.

You must either:

  • apply to the EU Settlement Scheme – you will not have to prove you have 5 years’ continuous residence
  • apply for citizenship before 30 June 2021 (or 31 December 2020 if the UK leaves the EU without a deal).

Bringing family members to the UK

If the UK leaves the EU with a deal
You’ll be able to bring close family members (children, spouses and partners, parents and grandparents) to the UK after 31 December 2020 if both of the following apply:

  • your relationship with them began before 31 December 2020
  • you are still in the relationship when they apply to join you

If the UK leaves with no deal
If you have pre-settled or settled status you would be able to be joined in the UK by family members by 29 March 2022, where the relationship existed before 31 December 2020. After this, the UK Immigration rules will apply, which will align the rights of EU citizens with the rights of UK nationals from 30 March 2022.

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