The EU Settlement Scheme explained
In June 2018 the Home Office released a Statement of Intent setting out a Scheme, the EU Settlement Scheme, that outlines specifics on how EU citizens and their families will be able to continue living in the UK after Brexit.
At this stage, we know that the EU Scheme will open for application from the 30 March 2019, when the so-called transition period will start. The transition period is due to finish on the 31 December 2020. However, EU Citizens and their families living in the UK by the end of the transition period will still be able to apply until 30 June 2021 under the Settlement Scheme.
The Settlement Scheme provides for two types of status that EU Citizens and their family members could qualify for – Settled Status or Pre-Settled Status.
EU Citizens with a permanent residence card will still need to apply under the Scheme.
You qualify for Settled Status if you are an EU citizen, or a family member of an EU citizen and –
- have started living in the UK by 31 December 2020; and
- have lived in the UK for a continuous 5-year period (‘continuous residence’)
What does ‘continuous residence’ means?
It means that for 5 years in a row you have been in the UK for at least 6 months in any 12-month period.
If you have been outside the UK for a period longer than 6 months in a year, you might still qualify if the period in concern is –
- one period of up to 12 months for an important reason (for example, childbirth, serious illness, study, vocational training or an overseas work posting), or
- compulsory military service of any length.
You qualify for Pre-Settled Status if you are an EU citizen, or a family member of an EU citizen and –
- have been resident in the UK for less than 5 years.
If you are granted pre-settled status you will be eligible for settled status as soon as you have completed 5 years of continuous residence.
Both Settled and Pre-Settled applicants will be subjected to identity and criminality checks.
Under the Settlement Scheme, EU citizens will simply have to show that they have been resident in the UK for a continuous 5-year period. In fact, the Home Office will not require EU Citizens who decide to apply to demonstrate that they have been working, studying or economically self-sufficient for five years, which is on the other hand required under the laws currently in force.
Under the Settled Scheme, EU Citizens who have been studying or self-sufficient in the UK will not be required to demonstrate that they had comprehensive sickness insurance while in the UK and during the qualifying period the are relying on. On the other hand, also in this case, this is a requirement for EU Citizens who apply for residence card under the current laws.
As mentioned above, the Scheme is set to open the 30 March 2019 and will remain open until June 2021.
The process will take approximately 15/20 minutes, can be carried out on-online, and can be completed using a computer but also on smartphones and tablets, through the Home Office App (only Android).
You will need to –
- Demonstrate your identity – scanning your EU passport and uploading a digital photo;
- Demonstrate your residence in the UK – providing your National Insurance Number or other documents (such as bank statements, utility bills, travel tickets); and
- Declare any criminal convictions.
At the end of the application process you will be informed on what status applies to you, whether Settled or Pre-Settled. If you believe that, for instance, you have been wrongly assigned pre-settled status and that you in fact qualify for settled status, you will be able, at this point, to supply further evidence to demonstrate that.
The application under the Settlement Scheme will cost £65 for adults and £32.50 for children under the age of 16.
If you are granted pre-settled status, there will be no additional fee when you apply for settled status once reached the 5 years of continuous residency.
You will not be required to pay the Immigration Health Charge.
EU Citizens already holding a permanent residence card will be able to apply free of charge.