Further to our previous article Brexit Update – Permanent Residence or Settled Status for EU nationals in UK, and as the new scheme has now been fully implemented, we wish to provide you with some general information on the application process under the EU settlement scheme.
If you are an EU or EEA national or their family member, and wish to remain in the UK after Brexit, you need to apply for Settled or Pre-Settled Status under the EU Settlement Scheme.
If the UK leaves the EU without a deal, the deadline would be the 30th December 2020, however if the UK leaves the EU with a deal, it would be possible to make an application up to the 30th of June 2021.
Who can and should apply?
The scheme is fully open for:
- EU, EEA or Swiss citizens
- Non-EEA citizen’s family members
According to Annex 1 to Appendix EU, a ‘family member of a relevant EEA citizen’ is:
- A spouse,
- A civil partner,
- A durable partner (unmarried partnership akin to marriage or civil partnership),
- A child, grandchild or great-grandchild (including of the spouse or civil partner),
- A dependent parent, grandparent or great-grandparent (including of the spouse or civil partner)
- A dependent relative (including of the spouse or civil partner where the applicant holds a relevant document in the UK as the result of an application made before the 1st of February 2017).
Fake news and confusion
We have noted a lot of confusion, misinformation and fake news on the internet i.e. generally, if you are a spouse of a British national, the scheme is not for you, unless you applied under the Surinder Sigh route.
Further, if you have Leave to Remain as a parent of a British national, the scheme is also not for you, unless you are the primary carer of a British citizen and have for example a Derivative Residence Card (the Zambrano Route).
How to apply?
Generally, the application is made online and the easiest way is to use an app; the EU Exit: ID Document Check. App, allowing you to scan your documents, provided that you have any of the following:
- A valid passport
- A biometric residence card
- A biometric residence permit
The app is easy to use, allowing you to scan your document, which you can usually retain during the application process.
However, the app only is available on Android phones, and as far as I am aware is still not working on all of them e.g. old android phones, some Huawei etc.
The good news is that if you do not have an android phone, you still can apply, however you would have to post your document to the Home Office. Alternatively, you can use an ID document scanner location. There has been an announcement that the app should be also available for iPhones by the end of 2019.
Automated checks (Application Programming Interface (API))
Normally during the application process, if you provide your National Insurance number, appropriate checks will be run against HMRC and certain DWP records (backdated up to 7 years) to establish how long you have been resident in the UK.
Where these checks indicate that you have been resident in the UK for a continuous qualifying period of 5 years, and when you have confirmed, by way of a self-declaration as part of the application process, that you have not since been absent from the UK for a period of more than 5 consecutive years, usually no further evidence of residence will be required to determine eligibility.
If this is not the case, you would be required to post/upload additional documents to the Home Office to prove your residency in the UK. For example, if you have not been working continuously in the UK, or the system is not able to pick up your record for some other reason, then you probably would need to post documents to the Home Office to prove your 5 year residency in the UK.
If you have been resident for less than 5 years and you are able to meet all the suitability criteria, you should be granted pre-settled status, which is equivalent to Leave to Remain under the normal rules (you should apply for pre-settled status if you intend to live in the UK after Brexit).
Subsequently, once you accrue 5 years of continuous residence, you will be able to switch to Settled Status, which is equivalent to Indefinite Leave to Remain under the normal rules. However, unlike ILR granted under the normal rules, which only allows you to leave the country for 2 years, when you are granted Settled Status under the EU settlement scheme you can leave UK for up to 5 years and you will not lose your status.
Application fees and processing time
Currently there are no application fees for Pre-Settled Status or Settled Status under the EU Settlement Scheme. Your application should be processed within 4 – 14 days.
If you are a non-EU national you might also need to attend a Biometric Enrolment appointment once you have submitted your application and this normally costs £19.20 (payable at the appointment at your local post office) or about £60 -100 if booking via UKVI commercial partner.
Who cannot use an app and apply online
You’ll need to apply on a paper form if you’re not an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen and you’re:
- the family member of a British citizen and you lived with them outside the UK in an EU or EEA country or Switzerland (Surinder Sigh)
- the family member of an EEA citizen who’s become a British citizen
- a carer for a British, EU, EEA or Swiss citizen (Zambrano route)
Unfortunately, for this group of people, the paper form is not available to download; in order to obtain a form, you would usually need to first contact the EU Settlement Resolution Centre, to find out how to apply. You’ll be asked a few questions over the phone before they will send the application form.
Permanent Residence Card vs ILR under Settled Status Scheme
When it comes to an application for Settled Status under the EU settlement scheme, the process is definitely easier and faster. Additionally it is free of charge!
Nonetheless, you still have the option of applying for Permanent Resident Status, and it might be worth a shot if you would like to apply for British nationality faster, as the letter that comes from the Home Office when your application for PR card is successful will show when you accrued Permanent Resident Status e.g. if you have been working in the UK continuously for 5 years since 2008, you probably accrued PR status in 2013.
Hence, once you get the card confirming this, you will be able to apply for British nationality straight away (bearing in mind that you are able to meet all the other requirements). If you are not married to a British national, you generally need to hold ILR/PR for at least one year before you can apply.
You would not have this facility when Settled Status is granted under the EU settlement scheme, as the letter will confirm your ILR from the date of the Home Office decision, hence you would need to wait for 12 months before you can make an application (unless you are married to a British citizen).
Further, an application for a PR card might still be worth considering if you wish to have less paperwork, for example in order to apply for your child’s British passport i.e. if your child was born after you accrued Permanent Resident Status.
An application for your child’s British passport is still possible when you do not have a Permanent Residence card or Settled Status, however, you would then also need to submit proof that you had acquired Permanent Resident status before the child was born.
Overall, an application for Settled Status is much easier, less paperwork and free of charge, as opposed to the old Permanent Residence Card application, which currently costs £65 and is much more complicated. However, teething issues remain and one would be advised to consult a qualified immigration solicitor, especially if your case is not straightforward.
If you looking to apply and would like more information tailored to your situation, we offer consultations and a full application service to provide advice and assistance on the best course of action to take to secure your place in the UK, please fill out our online enquiry form.