Deal or no deal, Brexit means significant changes for EU citizens and their families looking to live and/or work in the UK. The Home Office EU Settlement Scheme is a new immigration scheme, allowing EU, EEA and Swiss citizens to apply for their right to live and work in the UK beyond 31 December 2020. Those wishing to reside in the UK will need to apply online for the right and applications will be free of charge. Successful applicants will be awarded either settled or pre-settled status.
There are two deadline dates to keep in mind and it all depends on whether the UK leaves the EU with or without a deal come 31st October 2019 (the current date for Brexit). Should the UK leave with a deal, those looking to apply will need to do so by 30th June 2021. However, if the UK leaves without a deal, applicants must apply by 31st December 2020.
Please note you do not need to apply if you have indefinite leave to enter the UK, indefinite leave to remain in the UK or British or Irish citizenship (including ‘dual citizenship’).
Making an application
Applying to live and work in the UK is straightforward. You will need to prove both your identity and your residence in the UK (unless you have a valid permanent residence document, or valid indefinite leave to remain in or enter the UK).
To verify your identity, you will need a valid passport or national identity card. You will also need to provide a digital photograph of your face. For those who are not EU, EEA or Swiss Citizens, you can use any of the following: a valid passport, biometric residence card or a biometric residence permit.
When it comes to sending your documents, you can scan your document and upload your photo using the ‘EU Exit: ID Document Check’ app for Android. Alternatively, you can send your document in the post, uploading your photo using the original application form. If you don’t have an Android, you can use someone else’s device to verify your identity. Alternatively, you can visit one of the following organisations to scan your ID documents for you. Please note: you will need to make an appointment and some organisations may charge.
For iPhone users, the ‘ID Document Check’ app is expected to launch by the end of 2019.
Settled vs Pre-Settled
Upon successful applications, individuals will be awarded either settled or pre-settled status.
Settled status is usually granted to those who have lived in the UK for a continuous 5-year period (also referred to as ‘continuous residence’). With settled status, you can stay in the UK for as long as you wish. Pre-Settled Status on the other hand, can be awarded to those who started living in the UK before 31 December 2020, but do not have 5 years’ continuous residence at the time of application. Pre-settled status allows the individual to stay in the UK for a further five years.
Applicants who are not yet at the 5-year continuous residence stage, but who will reach the status before 30 December 2020 can choose to wait to apply until they reach their full continuous residence. By doing so, successful applicants will be awarded settled status rather than pre-settled status first.
Once approved, successful applicants with either settled or pre-settled status will then have the right to work in the UK and use the NHS. They will also be able to enrol in education (or continue studying), travel in and out of the UK and access public funds including pensions and benefits (assuming eligibility).
For more information on the EU Settlement scheme and how to apply, please click here.
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