The EU Settlement Scheme: EU Settled and Pre-Settled Status
All EEA nationals and their family members living in the UK are now able to make an application under the EU Settlement Scheme for either settled status or pre-settled status.
The EU Settlement Scheme is for EEA nationals, and their qualifying family members, who are or will be living in the UK once the UK has left the EU.
An EEA national and their family member(s) who have lived in the UK for a continuous period of five years is able to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR), also known as settled status, under the EU Settlement Scheme.
In order to be eligible for ILR, an applicant only needs to have been resident in the UK for a continuous five-year period. They are not required to have worked in the UK, held comprehensive sickness insurance or otherwise have been a ‘qualified person’.
The Home Office is expected to look for reasons to grant applications, with individuals only being refused for reasons of suitability if, for example, they are serious or persistent criminals or pose a security threat to the UK.
An EEA national and their family member(s) who have not lived in the UK for a continuous period of five years will be granted pre-settled status (also known as limited leave to remain).
Again, there are no specific requirements that an applicant needs to meet other than being a resident of the UK. Whilst there is no set duration of time in which an individual must have been residing in the UK prior to making an application, in order to be eligible under the scheme, an EU national must have been living in the UK by 31 December 2020.
Close family members of an EU national wishing to join them in the UK will still be able to do so after this date providing that the EU national lived in the UK prior to 31 December 2020 and the relationship existed prior to this date. Any family member arriving in the UK after 31 December 2020 will have three months in which to make an application under the scheme.
The process for applications made under the EU Settlement Scheme is online. An app is available to use for those who have access to a compatible device.
Those making an application through the app will be able to scan their identity documents and will be able to use their National Insurance number as evidence of their residency in the UK, with the Home Office then making relevant checks with the HMRC, DWP, etc.
Those who do not have access to the app or who need to send additional evidence of their residency in the UK, for example if they have not worked here, will be able to send the required documents to the Home Office by post, once the online application form has been submitted.
In either case, the Home Office expects to make a decision on the majority of cases within two weeks.
Further information regarding the EU Settlement Scheme can be found here.
Under current legislation, anyone who holds an EU Permanent Residence document is able to stay in the UK indefinitely. They will be eligible to apply for British citizenship after demonstrating that they have been free of immigration restrictions for 12 months, unless married to a British citizen in which case they are eligible to apply to naturalise immediately. The same will apply to those who have settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme.
EU Settled and Pre-Settled Status Scheme applications: How we can help
There is no government fee to make an application under the scheme.
If you do require legal advice, please contact us.