Are You an EU National Concerned about Brexit? 5 Things You Need to Know
If we leave the European Union on 29th March 2019, over 3million EU citizens will be required to use the EU Settlement Scheme to stay in the UK after June 2021, or they risk being deported. Here is a breakdown of what you need to know including what the EU Settlement Scheme is, how to apply, when to apply, information regarding family members who live abroad, and your rights and status.
- What is the EU Settlement Scheme?
The EU Settlement Scheme allows an EU citizen without settled status to live, work and study in the UK. Anyone that arrives in the UK from the EU before 31st December 2020 has the right to apply to stay in the UK indefinitely. After this date, EU citizens who wish to live in the UK will need to have a work visa to do so.
If an EU citizen meets the requirements, they will be eligible for:
- Public services, including schooling and healthcare
- Certain benefits, public funding and pensions
- British Citizenship
If an EU citizen fails to be granted either settled or pre-settled status by June 2021, they risk being deported.
- How do I apply?
Applications for the EU Settlement Scheme must be made online through the government website.
You will be required to submit information about yourself, such as your name, address and reference numbers from your passport or National Insurance cards.
Firstly, you will be required to prove your identity. A passport or ID card will need to be scanned and attached to your application.
You will also be asked to declare any criminal convictions. Minor offenses will not affect your application; only serious or repeated offences.
A photograph of your face will need to be uploaded and submitted with your application.
From here, the Home Office will carry out some checks such as your employment and benefit history to confirm your proof of residence.
- When Can I Apply?
It is possible for you to apply for status via the EU Settlement Scheme during the test phase. However, there are some restrictions. You must be either: an EU passport holder or a family member of an EU citizen. You will also need a residence card with stating your right to reside in the UK. It is only possible to apply on an Android device during the test phase.
You will also incur charges if you choose to make your application during the test phase, although these charges will be refunded. If you choose to apply now, it will cost:
- £65 if you are 16 or over
- £32.50 if you are under 16
Alternatively, you can apply when the EU Settlement Scheme fully opens on 30th March 2019. Once the scheme is fully open, you can send off your documents by post and use devices other than Android, such as iPhones, tablets and laptops, to apply online.
Your rights will remain the same until the closing date on 30th June 2021.
- What About My Family?
The only people exempt from the EU Settlement Scheme are those who have indefinite leave to remain or those already in possession of a British citizenship.
Any family members from the EU who reside in England will also need to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme.
Close family members, (defined as a husband or wife, civil partner, dependent child or grandchild, dependent parent or grandparent, or a cohabiting partner of at least two years), who live abroad will be able to join an EU citizen in the UK after December 2020.
- What About My Rights?
As previously stated, as an EU citizen, your rights and status will remain the same until the 30th June 2021.
With regards to the EU Settlement Scheme, if your application is successful, you will be permitted to continue both living and working in the UK after June 2021 under one of two statuses – settled status or pre-settled status.
Once settled status has been granted, you will not need to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme again. Settled status will usually be granted if you have started living in the UK by 31st December 2020 or if you’ve lived in the UK for a continuous 5-year period.
Once granted settled status, you will be able to stay in the UK for as long as you wish, as well as:
- Have access to the NHS
- Work in the UK
- Have access to education and employment training
- Have access to public funds, certain benefits and pension schemes
- Apply for British citizenship, if desired
Without proof of 5 years continuous residence, the likelihood is that you will be granted pre-settled status. You will be permitted to remain in the UK for the next 5 years but will then be required to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme again in order to gain settled status if you wish to remain in the UK for a longer period.
Greystone Solicitors provides a free drop-in clinic for immigration enquiries every Friday between 2pm-6pm and every Saturday between 9am-2pm. If you have any worries or concerns regarding the EU Settlement Scheme and how it will affect you, do not hesitate to contact our specialist immigration team on 01582 343 453 or visit us at https://www.greystonesolicitors.co.uk/services-immigration/ for more information.