On 31 January 2020 at 11pm, the United Kingdom left the European Union and entered a transition period, due to end on 31 December 2020. During this transition period, Europeans can continue to live and work in the UK and are entitled to freedom of movement right as they did before Brexit.
That said, EU citizens and their family members who wish to remain living in the UK after 31 December 2020 will need to apply for an immigration status to remain legally resident.
A specific scheme called EU Settlement Scheme has been introduced for all the EU citizens. Please keep on reading if you would like to find out more.
Who can apply for the settled and pre-settled status?
If you’re a European Union (EU), European Economic Area (EEA) or Swiss citizen, you and your family will be able to apply to get either settled or pre-settled status. The EEA includes the EU countries and also Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway. Applicants currently outside the UK can also apply for Settled or Pre-Settled Status. The deadline for the applications is the 30th of June 2021, for anyone who wants to remain in the UK.
Please note: You will be required to apply for the Settled or Pre-settled status even if you were born in the UK, but not a British citizen.
What’s the difference between settled and pre-settled status?
EU nationals who have lived in the UK for at least five continuous years have to apply for settled status (permanent) to secure their right to stay after Brexit. While those who have been in the country for less than that or they have not been in the UK continuously for 5 years can get pre-settled status (temporary) and build up their five years. People granted pre-settled status have the same rights to work, study, receive healthcare and benefits as those with settled status.
People who have obtained pre-settled status will have to go back on the same application system and apply for settled status once they have completed the 5-year residence period.
Where do I apply and what do I need?
To apply to the EU Settlement Scheme people will either need to fill in an online form at GOV.UK website or download the app on your smartphone or tablet.
However, the app is currently only available for Android phones, but the government is looking to introduce the app for Apple devices as well.
When applying you will need:
- an identity document – your passport, national identity card, biometric residence card or permit.
- a digital photo – you can take a selfie during the application.
- your National Insurance number or proof of how long you’ve lived in the UK.
- a mobile phone number.
- an email address.
- proof of your relationship if you’re applying for a child or another family member.
What if I already have permanent residence or ILR?
If you currently hold UK permanent residence, you can apply to transfer to settled status.
If you already have indefinite leave to remain or enter, you will not be required to apply for settled status. However, you may consider this option since settled stouts permits absences of up to five years without loss of status, whereas ILR is limited to two years out of the country.
How much does it cost to apply?
There will be no application fee for those applying for settled status or pre-settled status.
If you currently hold UK permanent residence, transferring to settled status will also be free of charge. Also, if you have accumulated five years’ residence and are applying to transfer from pre-settled to settled status under the scheme, again there will be no charge.
Can a family member join me in the UK?
Existing close family members living overseas will be able to join you in the UK in the future in the same way as they can now, provided your relationship with them began before 31 December 2020 and you are still in the relationship when they apply to join you.
A close family member includes a spouse, civil partner, durable partner, as well as a dependent child, grandchild, parent or grandparent. This includes the child, grandchild, parent or grandparent of your spouse or civil partner.