In this blog, Katie Good from Fragomen is helping you navigate through the EU Settlement Scheme.
The UK’s exit from the EU means that European nationals living in the UK will need to make an application to the UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) to continue their residence in the UK. The deadline to apply via the scheme is 30 June 2021 for those present in the UK before 31 December 2020. If the applicant is an Irish national, they are not required to apply as their rights will be protected by the Common Travel Area Agreement.
In this blog, we hope to help applicants navigate the EU Settlement Scheme application process.
European nationals with a biometric chip in their passport and non-European nationals who have a UK biometric residence card or permit will be able to use the app. The application has two stages; firstly, the applicant will need to verify their identity and secondly, they will then be required to complete a short online form. The process should take around 20 minutes for a straightforward application.
The Home Office will check residence against tax and benefit records. If a tax or benefit record does not cover a person’s entire period of residence, the applicant may be asked to provide further evidence. The sort of evidence that the Home Office would accept would be annual bank statements, council tax bills or letters from their employer. A list of recommended documentation can be found here.
How does the app work?
The app is used to verify the applicant’s identity, so they do not need to send your passport to the Home Office. The app, “EU Exit: ID Document Check app’ can be downloaded on an Android 6.0 or above or an iPhone 7 or above. The device must be connect to 3G/4G or WiFi and applicants may need to complete a software update to install the app.
Their identity will be immediately verified, and the applicant will get a link to the online application form. They will then be sent a one-time access code via text or email so that they can access their profile. They then need to complete the form by answering questions about themselves and upload additional documents if required.
What status will they obtain?
Depending on the length of residence in the UK, the applicant will either be granted settled status or pre-settled status. With either status, it will provide the applicant with the rights to:-
- live in the UK
- work in the UK
- use the NHS
- enrol in education or continue studying
- access public funds such as benefits and pensions (if eligible for them)
- travel in and out of the UK
European nationals will be expected to make an application for settled status where they have lived in the UK for five years continuous residence in the UK (see below) and do not have a serious criminal conviction(s). European nationals who already hold Permanent Residence will need to convert their status to settled status.
What if they have periods of absences?
Continuous residence would be deemed broken if the application the applicant spent more than six months in any 12 month period out of the UK. There are some exceptions to the absences requirement where a single period of absence of more than six months but less than 12 months is permitted where this is for an important reason such as pregnancy, childbirth, serious illness, study, vocational training or an overseas posting.
Pre Settled Status
Those with under five years residence will be able to apply for pre-settled status before switching to settled status upon completion of five years of continuous residence in the UK. There is no defined time that an applicant must be in the UK for, but they just need to evidence their residence by physical presence. This evidence must be dated within the last six months and can be, as an example, a used flight ticket, hotel bookings and bank statements showing spending in the UK placing the individual in the UK by 31 December 2020.
Approval and Status
Once the application has been approved, applicants will receive an email when a decision has been made, with an approval letter attached. Europeans nationals will not receive a physical status, but will be recorded electronically on the Home Office system and will be linked to their passport.
It will be possible for Europeans nationals to send proof of status to employers through their online profile, as well as view their status, understand their rights and update their details (e.g. passport number and contact telephone number). An example of their online status is provided below.
Where to find more information
- Watch Katie’s webinar on applying for settled status, as she guides you through the online application process. Essential viewing for employers of EU citizens in the UK.
- Visit our EU Transition Hub for everything business owners need to know about the end of the transition period.
- For information about how to apply under the EU Settlement Scheme click here.
- To view an Appendix EU of the Immigration Rules, click here.
- To obtain an update about a pending application, you can speak to the EU resolution centre and their contact details are here.