Changes to visa and immigration laws are imminent. With the UK set to leave the EU officially, it is essential to check if you must apply to the EU settlement scheme. Not doing so may result in you having to leave the UK.
Read on for everything you must know about the settlement scheme, how to apply and what a settled status is.
What is a settled status?
If you are an EU, EEA, or Swiss citizen, you may need to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme if you intend to continue living and working in the UK after 30th June 2021.
If your application is successful, you will either be granted settled or pre-settled status.
The EEA also includes all EU countries, as well as Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Norway.
So what does the settled or pre-settled status mean? When you submit an application, you will not be asked why you are applying for.
The category you are awarded depends on varying factors, as detailed below.
1. A Settled Status
The type of category you are awarded can vary. However, you will usually receive a settled status if:
- You started living in the UK on or before the 31st December 2020. You have lived continuously in the UK for five years
There are also exemptions to the continuous 5-year rule, and these can include time spent living abroad for military purposes, studying, or working away as a Crown Servant.
If you receive a settled status, then you can stay in the UK as long as you like. You may also be eligible to apply for British citizenship too.
2. A Pre-settled Status
Instead of having five years of continuous residency, you will likely receive a pre-settled status award. However, you still must have moved to the UK on or before the 31st December 2020.
On receiving a pre-settled status, you can stay in the UK for a further five years from the award date.
Once you have reached five years of residency, you can apply to amend your category to settled. You must do this before your pre-settled status expires.
Whether you have settled or pre-settled status, you can:
- Work in the UK
- Use the services of the NHS for free
- Enrol in education or continue your studies
- Have access to public funds such as benefits and pensions
- Travel in and out of the UK
How do I apply for the EU Settlement Scheme?
You can apply for the EU settlement scheme online. There is also an available app for android or iPhone users.
The information you need before applying is as follows:
- Proof of identity. This can either be a valid passport or National Identity card.
- Evidence of continuous residence. You can either use your National Insurance records, a letter from your employer, bank statements or council tax bills for this.
- Details of any convictions if applicable. You will only need to declare unspent convictions. This does not include fines, cautions, or spent penalties.
The application form asks about a biometric residence permit (BRP). What does this mean?
Depending on your type of visa or current permit, you may have been issued a biometric residence certificate.
Your permit will include:
- Your name, date, and place of birth
- Your fingerprints and a photo of your face
- Your immigration status and conditions of your stay
- Details of benefits and healthcare stipulations
When can I apply for the EU Settlement Scheme?
The EU Settlement Scheme is already open for applicants. If you have checked the criteria and are eligible to apply, then you can. The deadline for applications is 30th June 2021.
How much does applying for the EU Settlement Scheme cost?
There is no charge to apply for the scheme.
Who should apply for the EU Settlement Scheme?
You should apply if:
- You are an EU, EEA, or Swiss Citizen
- If a member of your family is an EU, EEA, or Swiss Citizen
This, therefore, means you will need to apply even if:
- You were born in the UK but are not a British citizen
- You have a UK ‘permanent residence document.’
- You are a family member of an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen who does not need to apply. This also includes if they are from Ireland
- You are an EU, EEA, or Swiss citizen with a British citizen family member
Who does not need to apply for the EU Settlement Scheme?
Under the current rules, you do not need to apply if:
- You have indefinite leave to enter the UK
- You have indefinite leave to remain in the UK
- You are a British or Irish citizen. This includes dual citizenship.
How do I check my settled status?
You will be notified by the government when your status has been decided. However, if you are unsure, you can check the progress of your application here.
You will need either your passport or National Identity card to use the service, your date of birth and the mobile number or email address you entered when you first applied.
You will then be sent a code to the portal either via your mobile number or email address.
The current status and future rights of migrants in the UK remains up-in-the-air. The changes in immigration due to Brexit is likely a confusing and stressful time for most.
All eligible people must apply to the EU Settlement Scheme promptly to ensure your long-term capability for remaining and working in the UK.
If you are concerned or worried about the process, then we have a panel of expert immigration lawyers ready to assist.
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