by Lucy Elbourne from North Star Law
As the UK prepares for Brexit, the EU Settlement Scheme has been established to allow EU, EEA and Swiss nationals, and their close family members, to apply to remain in the UK following its departure from the European Union.
If you’re an EU, EEA and Swiss citizen working in the UK, applying to the EU Settlement Scheme is crucial to obtain Settled Status, as it will allow you to continue working and living in the UK after 30 June 2021.
In collaboration with Kandidate, Lucy Elbourne from North Star Law has put together a guide to help our candidates understand how to navigate the application to the EU Settlement Scheme. Keep reading to find out all the details and what to expect when going through the application.
What is it?
The EU Settlement Scheme has been designed by the UK government to register all European Economic Area (EEA) and Swiss citizens residing in the UK prior to Brexit, together with their non-EEA family members.
Who needs to apply?
Any EEA/Swiss citizen and their family members who reside in the UK must apply, even if they have already obtained an EEA Permanent Residence card under the old EEA scheme. Individuals who have also obtained British citizenship do NOT need to apply.
What is the deadline for applying?
If the UK leaves the EU without a deal, the deadline is 31 December 2020, and if the UK leaves the EU with a deal, the deadline is 30 June 2021.
Settled Status or Pre-Settled Status?
Under the scheme, an individual can either be granted Pre-Settled Status, or Settled Status.
Pre-Settled Status is given to those who have resided in the UK for less than five years. They will be provided with Pre-Settled Status for a five-year period. As soon as the person has reached their fifth anniversary of UK residence, they can apply to convert this to Settled Status – they do not have to wait until the end of their Pre-Settled Status.
Settled Status is a grant of permanent residency. The individual will be allowed to live permanently in the UK. Settled Status can be lost if the individual leaves the UK and does not return for at least five years. Once Settled Status has been granted, an individual may be eligible to make an application for British citizenship in the future.
How the process works
For EEA citizens:
Please make sure you have the following with you before you apply:
- Valid passport or national ID card (either should include a biometric chip);
- Your UK National Insurance number (if you have one);
- Your EEA permanent residency document (if you had previously applied under the old scheme);
- An Android phone which has Near-Field Communications technology (the same technology which enables you to make contactless payments on your phone). N.B. You do not need to use your own phone, it can be a friend/colleague’s phone if necessary;
- The ‘EU Exit: Document Check App’ for Android, which you can download here Google Play – EU Exit; Document Check App ;
- An email address and phone number;
- Internet access.
1. Have your identity document checked.
You will need to use the EU Exit: Document Check App to take an image of your passport, access the chip, and take a digital photo. You will be asked to include your phone number and email address to secure your account.
2. Go through the application process, using your phone’s internet connection or a computer.
Visit EU Settled Status – Log in page and log in using your personal information (i.e. passport number, email address). Some of the sections in the form will have already been completed by the ID Check. Please make sure you complete the missing fields.
You will also be asked to include your National Insurance number. Providing this number is crucial, as the Home Office will use it to conduct background checks and confirm if you have been a resident in the UK for more than five years.
Once all questions have been completed, please submit your answers. You will then be asked to choose three security questions that will enable you to verify your identity when speaking to the Home Office in the future, should you need to.
Finally, please sign the declaration.
3. Preliminary Status
As soon as you have signed the declaration, the portal will undertake an initial assessment of your application, using your National Insurance number. The system will provide you with a preliminary result:
- If the National Insurance data shows you have been living in the UK for five years or more – Settled Status.
- If the National Insurance data shows you have been living in the UK for less than five years – Pre-Settled Status.
If you agree with the result, press the Submit button.
If you disagree – for instance, if you have lived in the UK for more than five years, but the result is Pre Settled Status – you can select the option to upload additional evidence that proves your residence. For example, letters from employers, transcripts from a UK university or utility bills showing you residing at a UK address.
It’s crucial to read this section carefully and make sure you agree with the preliminary result. If you accept Pre-Settled Status when you should qualify for Settled Status, the Home Office will not correct this for you. You would need to start a new application again.
Once you have submitted your application, you will receive a Certificate of Application confirming that the application is being processed (typically 1-2 days after submission). Within two weeks, you should receive an email from the Home Office, which includes an approval letter. The letter will confirm which Status you have been granted, and in the case of Pre-Settled Status will confirm an end date.
Application for Non-EEA family members
A non-EEA family member can only apply using the Exit EU app if they hold a Biometric Residence Permit issued in the UK. Having a passport with a chip will not be enough. Applicants will need to send their passport to the Home Office by post. If you do not have a UK Biometric Permit, you will also be asked to attend an appointment during the process to provide fingerprints and a digital photograph.
Frequently Asked Questions
What if I can’t make the App work, or I do not have a biometric chip in my passport?
If you do have a biometric chip but cannot make the App work, either on your own or another Android phone, you can book a visit in a Document Scanner location (they will charge you a fee) for further assistance. Click here to find the ID Document Scanner Locations.
If you do not have a biometric chip, you will need to send your ID documents to the Home Office by post. You should expect to be without them for approximately 2-3 weeks.
What happens if the application is declined, or I have been granted Pre-Settled Status when I should have been granted Settled Status?
If you believe a mistake has been made, you can apply for Administrative Review of the decision. The fee for this procedure is £80, and it will be refunded if the decision is overturned. Please note that the Home Office will not reverse the decision if it was due to insufficient evidence of residence being submitted.
Alternatively, you can start a new application under the Settled Status scheme, which will be free of charge.