If you are an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen and you have been living in the UK, you may be eligible to apply for Settled Status under the EU Settlement Scheme.
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Since the UK voted to leave the European Union in 2016, Freedom of Movement across the continent for Britons came to an end on 31 December 2020.
In line with this change, all EU citizens seeking entry into the country, and those who have lived in the UK prior to this date, will be subjected to new immigration rules which came into effect as of 1 January 2021. Depending on the applicants’ date of arrival and accumulated ‘continuous residency’, all EU, EEA and Swiss nationals are permitted to apply for Settled Status or Pre-Settled Status as part of the EU Settlement Scheme.
Here at the Immigration Advice Service (IAS), our immigration lawyers are OISC-trained and certified to assist you with any of your immigration queries.
Whether you need assistance with proving your five years’ continuous residency for the EU Settlement Scheme or advice on how to sponsor a loved one to come and join you, our dedicated team of family immigration lawyers are here to help you.
We offer industry-leading Application Support Packages as well as in-depth and untimed Advice Sessions.
Generally speaking, in order to apply for Settled Status via the EU Settlement Scheme, you must have moved to or started living in the UK by the end of the Brexit transition period, 31 December 2020.
Settled Status is similar to that of Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) in that it allows you to live, work, access the NHS and come and go from the UK at your own leisure. Once equipped with this form of permanent residency, you will not need to apply for a UK Visa or meet any other immigration requirements.
How long you have lived in the UK will determine whether you will receive Settled Status or Pre-Settled Status.
To be eligible for Settled Status, you must have been ordinarily resident in the UK as of 31 December 2020 and must have accumulated ‘continuous residency’ in the country for at least 5 years. The five-year rule is vital since those who have lived in the UK for less than this period as of June 2021 will instead receive Pre-Settled Status.
It is important to note that your continuous residency may be called into question if you have been absent from the UK for a lengthy period of time. To be eligible, you must not have spent any longer than 12 months at a time during your 5-year block outside of the UK unless you can prove the absences were beyond your control and/or you have a compelling reason. For instance, the Home Office will consider an exemption for you if you left the UK to give birth, if you or a family member fell ill, if you were studying, or if you joined the military, armed forces or worked as a Crown servant.
If you cannot meet the five years required for continuous residency, you will instead receive Pre-Settled status. After 5 years of continuous residency in the UK under this form of permission, you can then switch onto Settled Status. This process is not automatic, meaning you will need to apply to switch.
The EU Settlement Scheme is a temporary measure intended to register all resident European citizens and their family members as a result of the post-Brexit immigration rules. It is temporary but has been extended far beyond the set transitional period to grant all residents enough time to apply.
With Settled or Pre-Settled Status, EU citizens can rest assured that they will not be ordered to leave the country – or deported – at a later date and will be able to continue to live and work in the UK seamlessly.
However, since the scheme is temporary, you will need to apply before the deadline – 30 June 2021.
If you are an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen, you can ‘sponsor’ family members to come and live with you in the UK under the EU Settlement Scheme. This applies to children, spouses, unmarried partners and other immediate family members.
To be eligible, as the ‘sponsor’ of your family member you must have been a resident of the UK as of 31 December 2020 and the relationship with the family member must have already existed/began before this date. In other words, you can’t sponsor loved ones to join you in the UK if the relationship did not exist before January 2021.
In addition, the relationship must still exist when your family member begins to apply.
If your family member originates from the EU, EEA or Switzerland themselves, he/she can apply via the EU Settlement Scheme using their passport or valid identity card.
If your family member is not from the EU, EEA or Switzerland, however, he/she must either already hold a relevant UK document such as a residence card, permanent residence card or derivative residence card. Otherwise, he/she will instead need to apply for an EU Settlement Scheme ‘family permit’. With the permit, they can then apply for Settled Status themselves once they have successfully joined you in the UK.
If your family member comes to the UK on or after 1 April 2021, they will be legally required to apply for Settled Status within 3 months of arrival.
Alternatively, if for whatever reason you are unable to bring your loved one to the UK, your family member will be able to apply for a UK Visa instead. For instance, a UK Family Visa or UK Spouse Visa.