Since the government announced the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union in March 2017 millions of people in the UK have been asking ‘’How will Brexit affect me’’?
For much of the period since that time the answer has been that as long as the UK remains in the EU, European and UK law will continue to provide rights of free movement for all EU/EEA nationals and their family members.
However, the government has recently rolled out the new ‘’EU Settlement Scheme’’ for all EU, EEA and Swiss nationals and their family members. The government currently states that everyone must apply to the settlement scheme in order to continue living in the UK beyond 30 June 2021. It is worth noting that the government also state that the deadline for applying is 31 December 2020 if the UK was to leave the EU without a deal.
How do I apply?
The government has tried to make the application process as simple and convenient for people as possible. The most convenient method for people is to download the ‘’EU Exit: ID Document check’’ app for Android and iPhone. You can also apply via PC and laptop.
How does the app work?
The app will take you through a simple step by step process and will involve the scanning of your ID documents, such as your passport and residence document. It will also involve taking a picture of yourself. There are also certain questions it will ask and the more information you provide the quicker you will receive a decision.
How much does it cost?
Applications are now free of charge.
I already have permanent residence, do I still need to apply?
Yes, EEA nationals and their family members who are currently in the UK with a right of permanent residence must still apply to the EU settlement scheme in order to obtain settled status. If you do hold a right of permanent residence the application process is more straight forward and a lot less time consuming. As part of the application process via the EU Exit: ID Document Check App, you are able to scan your permanent residence document (or BRP card for non-EU nationals). This removes any need to provide evidence of 5 years residence in the UK to the Home Office in order to obtain settled status.
What is the difference between settled status and pre-settled status?
Settled status is given to EU nationals and their family members who have spent 5 continuous years in the UK. The easiest way to evidence this is if someone has previously obtained a right of permanent residence, however, you don’t need to have permanent residence in order to obtain settled status.
Pre-settled status is given to EU nationals and their family members who have not had 5 years continuous residence when they apply. Obtaining pre-settled status allows you to remain in the UK for a further 5 years, however, you must then apply for settled status prior to your pre-settled status expiring.
Will my rights remain the same?
Yes, you will enjoy all the rights that you currently do as an EEA national or family member of an EEA national. For example, you will be able to work, have access to the NHS, study a course at college or University and have access to public funds.
Can I use this status to travel in and out of the UK?
Yes, you will be sent an email as evidence of your settled or pre-settled status, you will be able to use this when entering the UK.
Can I apply via the EU settlement scheme from outside the UK?
Yes, you can use the ‘EU Exit: ID Document Check app’’ to apply from outside the UK. You will be required to provide proof that you are entitled to apply from outside the UK. For an EEA citizen this would be a passport or national ID card.
In order to obtain settled status from outside the UK you must not have been absent for more than 5 years in a row since you reached the 5 year qualifying period for residence in the UK.
For people applying for pre-settled status from outside the UK, you must not have been absent from the UK for more than 2 continuous years after you began living in the UK.
How long will it take?
The length of time it takes for a decision will depend on the amount of information you provided and if you are asked to provide any additional evidence, for example, documents showing 5 years continuous residence. Straight forward applications for EU nationals can be as quick as a week, however, more complex applications and applications for family members can take any time up to 6 months.
Will I lose my status if I am outside the UK?
People with settled status will lose it only if they spend 5 continuous years outside the UK. People with pre settled status will lose their status if they spend 2 years in a row outside the UK.
The above is provided for information purposes and should not be relied on as advice in relation to your specific situation. You should check the Home Office site for specific guidance and any changes to UK Immigration Law.
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