The result of Brexit has left many European Citizens residing in the United Kingdom uncertain of their status. A solution has been reached by the British government and the European Union for all EU citizens living in the UK before the 31 of December 2020.
Two types of status will be available:
Settled status: this will be applicable to all EU citizens and their family members who will have been residing in the UK for a minimum of 5 years by the 31st of December 2020. This will mean they will be able to stay indefinitely. They will continue to have access to benefits such as healthcare and pensions, and their close family members will have the possibility to join them.
Pre-settled status: this will be applicable to all EU citizens and their family members who already have been residing in the UK before the 31st of December 2020 but will not have completed 5 years of residency. This will allow them the right to continue residing in the UK and once they have completed 5 years, they will be eligible to apply for settled status. They will have access to benefits such as healthcare and pensions, and their close family members will have the possibility to join them in the future.
The acquiring of this status is not automatic. It is imperative that EU citizens that fall into either of these categories makes an application to the Home Office under the EU Settlement Scheme. Failure to do so means that the individual will not possess a regulated status in the UK.
The EU Settlement Scheme
The EU Settlement Scheme is currently being tested. It is planned to be operational from the 30th of March 2019. After this date all applicants will have to make an application by the 30th of June 2021.
The application will be made online, followed by digital assistance for those who may require help. There is an option of a paper form, however this will be in exceptional circumstances; almost everything will be digitalised.
Non-European family members of EU citizens may also make an application under this new scheme. They will need to provide a comprehensive selection of documents including the documents from their family member, and their own documents, as explained below.
Irish nationals will not be required to apply for this scheme, their status will not change with Brexit.
Individuals will need to submit a valid Passport or National ID card via post. In exceptional cases the Home Office may accept alternatives. These individuals will need to register their biometrics. They will need to attend centres to enrol their fingerprints and have their photograph taken.
Individuals who have previously possessed a Biometric Residence Card will only have to submit a picture of themselves and they will be able to upload their passport and valid national identity card digitally.
Settled Status: those eligible for settled status will need to demonstrate five years of continuous residence. Continuous residence is defined as either living or having previously lived in the UK. To demonstrate this requirement, you are not required to show evidence of having worked in the UK, studied in the UK, or previously held Comprehensive Health Insurance. However, the Home Office will carry out their own checks on the applicants through Her Majesty Revenue and Customs (HMRC) and the Department for Work and Pension (DWP). The applicants that do not have their data with these organisations will have to upload their documents themselves.
Pre-settled Status: those eligible for pre-settled status will need to demonstrate they are currently residing in the UK.
Non-European Family members
Those that fall under this category will need to provide the documents specified above for their EU family member, and the following documents:
Valid identity document
Evidence of their own residence in the UK
Evidence of their relationship with this EU citizen
Already regularised citizens
Citizens who have already regularised their status in the previous years and possess Permanent Residence or Indefinite Leave to Remain will be eligible for Settled status, provided their status has not expired and they pass the criminal record checks.
Their status can only expire if they have been absent from the UK for 2-5 years, depending on their status.
Those who already have a regularised status in the UK will be able to make this application FREE of charge
Minors (those under the age of 16) will have a fee of £32.50
All other applicants will have a fee of £65
Time frames for decisions
The time frame for decisions is predicted to be between 9 days – a couple of weeks.