A simple step by step approach to the EU Settlement Scheme

The practicalities of the EU pre-settlement and settlement schemes under Appendix EU to the Immigration Rules. A simple step by step approach prepared by Gulbenkian Andonian Solicitors.

EU nationals including nationals of EFTA (members of the European free trade Association, namely Sweden, Lichtenstein, Switzerland, Iceland and Norway), and their dependents, with the EU or non-EU, have until 31st of December 2020 to apply under the scheme if Brexit produces no deal, and until 30 June 2021 if Brexit produces a deal. For the purposes of this article, reference to EU nationals is also reference to their dependents who may or may not have a five-year residence card, or a permanent residence card, or who may have none of these documents.

Those EU nationals who already have a five-year residence card or a permanent residence document can apply under the settlement scheme now.

On the other hand, those who have not applied for a residence card, or who have a residence card but have not yet completed five years residence in the UK, can apply for pre-settled status now. They will be granted five-year pre-settled status in the UK which they can then convert to settled status once they have completed five years residence.

It may be that those who have not yet had residency of five years, but who within the next few months (or before the above deadlines for applying, whichever be the sooner) will have been here for five years, may wish not to apply for pre-settled status, but to apply for settled status once they have completed five years residence here.

It should be emphasised that irrespective as to the fact that an EU national may have a permanent residence document under the current Immigration (European economic area) Regulations 2016, it will be necessary to apply for settled status before the deadlines mentioned above.

The only persons who do not need to apply for settled status are those who have permanent residence otherwise known as indefinite leave to remain in the UK under the UK immigration laws, such as for example based on marriage to a British citizen, or based on 10 years continuous lawful residence and Irish nationals.

It is understandable that many EU nationals who have been in this country for many years, and who never had to prove their status here, will be aggrieved in having for the first time to prove such status, for if no application is made under the EU settlement scheme, then after the deadline for making such application has expired, an EU national thereafter will remain in the UK unlawfully as an overstayer.

How is an application made for pre-settled or settled status?

This is processed without a Home Office fee, via either an android mobile telephone or any other electronic device such as a laptop or computer together with a smartphone.

    1. Download the Home Office app on an electronic device. The app is EU Exit ID DOC Check.
    2. The application on the app will request answers to 3 main questions; proof of ID; proof of residency and criminal convictions if any.
    3. Take a scan with the appropriate mobile device, of the front of the passport with the chip at the bottom.
    4. Take a scan of the photo in the passport.
    5. Take a selfie a with a clear background no smiling or grinning.
    6. Upload the above on to the online application.
    7. For residency proof: – NI number, if there is one, should be quoted which will enable the Home Office to check residency status.
    8. Any criminal convictions would have to be very serious to prevent the grant of status.
    9. If the Home Office require any further information they will ask whilst the application is being processed on the electronic device. This can be for example further documentation to show residency in the UK, such as bank statements, doctors letters etc.  These can be scanned and uploaded onto the online application.
    10. The online application will ask whether this is for pre-settled or settled status. The questions are appropriate for each status.
    11. When the application is completed with a click of a button it will be sent. The app will then ask the applicant to send the identity document relied upon, and this can be either a valid passport or an EU ID document. EU nationals usually have both. The document that has been used to prepare the online application should be sent.
    12. The address for the ID document to be sent recorded/special delivery is: – EU settlement scheme, PO Box 2075, Liverpool L69 3PG
    13. Once the ID document has been checked it will be returned by Royal mail second class signed delivery post. This will take a week or two
    14. the applicant should then check their emails and hopefully within a very short space of time either before or after delivery of the applicant’s ID document, there will be a letter on email which will be a certificate of application confirming receipt of the valid application under the EU settlement scheme. If employers wish to check whether the applicant has permission to work, the certificate will provide details of where a request for information can be sent.
    15. Within a few days after the certificate of application the applicant will receive a letter by email confirming that the application under the EU settlement scheme has been successful and that the applicant has been granted either limited leave to remain in the UK for five years by way of pre-settlement, or settlement under the settled scheme, both under appendix EU to the immigration rules. If the grant is pre-settlement, it will give a date when the five years is to expire and that if the applicant is absent from the UK for a continuous period of more than two years, the pre-settled status will lapse unless there are certain exceptions as stated in that letter. The letter will also inform any pre-settled status applicants that if they wish to apply for settled status they can do as so as they have been here for five years.
    16. Under the EU settlement scheme under appendix EU to the immigration rules, there is presently no requirement to seek employment as there is under the immigration (European Economic Area) Regulations 2016.
    17. The letter will also state that the pre-settled or settled status in the UK can be confirmed online through the Home Office online checking service, view and prove your rights in the UK: –
    18. The view and prove your rights in the UK details will request the applicant’s email or mobile telephone number as prove of ID in order to prevent fraud, and thereafter the applicant once these details are given, will be able to open their online electronic file and see their photographic pre-settled or settled status. This can be saved on a smartphone or the android phone ( if  that was used for the application), and shown with the passport to an immigration officer when required upon exiting or returning to the UK, and as a safety measure,  a copy can be downloaded and certified as a true copy of the original electronic version by a solicitor, any other commissioner for oaths,  or a public notary. In any event, it is considered that the chip in the applicant’s passport should alert any immigration officer of the status already granted.
    19. If there is a refusal for whatever reason, there is no current appeal, but administrative review and failing success under that, then a judicial review are possibilities.

Professionals acting for applicants

20. When solicitors or other advisers act for a number of EU clients under the EU settlement scheme. In order to have control of the application, the following procedure should be adhered to: –

a) The client’s email address must always be given, or if the client does not have one, then the legal adviser should create an email address for them, preferably a Gmail address which is easiest to use.

b) If the adviser then is to have total control over the Home Office correspondence as set out in this article, then they would need to create a password for each client’s Gmail account. Each client will, therefore, need their own Gmail account. The organisation ‘s EU clients cannot have their matter dealt with under one account.

Find out what to do if your application is refused. Click here

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