On Monday 21st January the Government announced that the next stage of a pilot scheme for EU citizens and their families to apply for a post-Brexit immigration status in the UK is open.
At the moment, EU citizens are able to come to the UK to study or seek work without needing to apply for any type of residence card. The government have pledged that the rights and status of EU citizens living in the UK will remain the same until 30 June 2021. The situation is set to change after Brexit however, when EU citizens will need to show that they hold valid immigration leave.
Any EU citizen or their family member who wishes to start the process as of today can apply for either settled or pre-settled status. However the existing scheme for Permanent Residence remains open and it may be better to apply under the old scheme in some cases (see below)
1. Settled Status
Settled Status is the new version of what has until now been Permanent Residence Status.
The main difference is that unlike an application for Permanent Resident status, you do not need to show that you have been working, studying or otherwise exercising your EEA Treaty Rights over a 5 year period. Instead you only need to show that you have been living in the UK continuously for a 5 year period ending or before 31st December 2020.
If you are granted settled status you can stay in the UK as long as you like.
2. Pre-Settled Status
If you are not able to prove 5 years’ of living continuously in the UK at this time, you can instead apply for pre-settled status.
Once you have lived continuously in the UK for 5 years, you will be eligible to apply to change this to settled status.
How to apply:
Applications for both settled and pre-settled status are made online.
You will need to have a valid passport or valid BRP card.
If you wish to upload a scan of your passport or BRP card digitally you will need access to an Android phone so that you can use the new Home Office ‘EU Exit: ID Document Check’ Android app.
You can alternatively send your proof of ID by post.
You will be required to answer a series of online questions to confirm how long you have been living in the UK. The Home Office will use the information you provide to check which status you can apply for.
How much it costs:
The fee for an adult application is £65, or £32.50 for a child.
However the Prime Minister stated that anyone applying after 30th March 2019 will not need to pay the fee, and anyone who has or is planning to apply under the new scheme up until then will subsequently have the fee reimbursed.
Can I still apply for Permanent Residence and is there any advantage?
Advantages to the existing scheme:
- If you are able to apply for Permanent Residence now, you may be eligible to apply straight afterwards for British citizenship. Under the Settled Status scheme you will need to wait at least 12 months before you can apply for citizenship.
- A Permanent Residence application costs the same as a Settled Status application.
Advantages to the new scheme:
- If you do not have paperwork proving that you have worked or otherwise exercised your EEA Treaty Rights in the UK, the new scheme may be better for you as less documentation is required.
What if I already have Permanent Residence?
If you already have Permanent Residence you can change your permanent residence document to settled status by applying to the EU Settlement Scheme.
You will not have to pay anything more or prove you have 5 years’ continuous residence again.
What if I have criminal convictions?
The Home Office will ask you for further information on your convictions inside and outside the UK. You may still be eligible for settled or pre-settled status.
You may wish to seek advice and assistance.
If you are uncertain which application to make, we can help.
We can also advise you on applying for non-EU Family Members, and in situations where you may have a gap in your 5 years’ residence or have a criminal conviction.