Effective January 21, the Home Office opened the voluntary public testing phase of the EU Settlement Scheme to resident EU citizens (and their EU citizen family members) with a valid passport and their non-EU citizen family members holding a valid biometric residence card.

Also, on January 21, the prime minister announced that the application fee (currently £65 for an adult and £32.50 for a child under 16) will be cancelled once the scheme is fully open and that anyone who has applied during testing will have their fee reimbursed.

What is the EU Settlement Scheme?

  • The EU Settlement Scheme is an application to the Home Office for EU citizens and their family members who wish to live and work in the UK after the withdrawal agreement transition period, or after a no-deal Brexit.
  • Nationals of Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein (EEA but not EU) and Switzerland (EFTA but not EU or EEA) will also be able to apply from March 30, 2019. Irish nationals do not need to apply.
  • Holders of a valid UK permanent residence document need to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme; those with indefinite leave to remain in or enter the UK do not need to apply but can if they wish.

Settled and Pre-Settled Status

  • Applicants who are shown to have been living in the UK for a continuous five-year period will be granted ‘settled status’, allowing them to stay, work and study in the UK indefinitely, use the NHS and access benefits, travel in and out of the UK, bring qualifying family members and apply for citizenship.
  • Those who have less than five years of continuous residence will get ‘pre-settled status’, allowing them to stay, work and study in the UK for a further five years, use the NHS and access benefits and travel in and out of the UK.
  • To stay longer, they will have to apply again to obtain settled status after accumulating five years of continuous residence.

How to Apply?

  • Applicants during this public test phase must use the EU Exit: ID Document Check app on an Android phone with NFC (Near-Field Communication) to scan their passport and their face.
  • Once the scheme is fully open on March 30, 2019, EU citizens with biometric national ID cards will be able to use this to prove their identity instead of a passport, and there will also be the option of sending the ID document by post instead of using the app.
  • The Home Office will check applicants’ identity, tax and benefits and criminal records.
  • Successful applicants will be able to prove their status using an online service, but no physical document will be granted unless the applicant is a non-EU citizen and has no biometric residence card.

Deadlines

The government has announced that, if the withdrawal agreement including a transition period is not ratified in time, the EU Settlement Scheme will go ahead, but the cut-off dates and deadlines will be brought forward:

  • Enter UK to qualify for EU Settlement Scheme
    • Withdrawal Agreement: December 31, 2020
    • No Deal: March 29, 2019
  • Apply under EU Settlement Scheme
    • Withdrawal Agreement: June 30, 2021
    • No Deal: December 31, 2020
  • Family members can join those with settled status
    • Withdrawal Agreement: No deadline
    • No Deal: March 29, 2022
  • Family relationship must start
    • Withdrawal Agreement: December 31, 2020
    • No Deal: March 29, 2019
  • Higher EU deportation threshold applies to crimes committed
    • Withdrawal Agreement: December 31, 2020
    • No Deal: March 29, 2019

Action Items

  • Employers who may be affected are encouraged to contact their immigration specialist for a case-by-case consultation.

Please note that this is general information only and not intended as advice on a specific matter. Please feel free to contact Fakhoury Global Immigration directly with questions exclusive to your situation. This news alert may have been prepared using information from Peregrine Immigration Management, which is licensed to Fakhoury Global Immigration.