EU Settlement Scheme
Settling in the UK under the EU Settlement Scheme
If you are an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen who started living in the UK by 31 December 2020, you may be able to apply to the free EU Settlement Scheme. The deadline to apply was 30 June 2021 for most people, but you can still apply if you have a later deadline, for example, you’re joining a family member in the UK who was living in the UK by 31 December 2020, or you have ‘reasonable grounds’ for being unable to apply by 30 June 2021.
Without a valid settlement status via the scheme, you will be living in the UK unlawfully. If you are concerned about your status, do not panic. Imperium Chambers has a team of experts who can assist you or your client. Please contact us to discuss your situation in confidence.
About the EU Settlement Scheme
The UK left the European Union in January 2020 and the transition period ended on 31 December of the same year. In line with the Withdrawal Agreement, there was a grace period in place from 1 January 2021 to 30 June 2021, during which any EU, EEA or Swiss citizens resident in the UK on or before 31 December 2020 would be able to apply, free of charge, to the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS).
EU citizens who had been in the UK for less than five years were able to apply for pre-settled status, giving them a five-year visa. For those who had been in the UK continuously for five years or more, it was possible to apply for settled status, otherwise known as ‘indefinite leave to remain’.
However, whilst the 30 June deadline has now passed, the Home Office will continue to accept applications from individuals with ‘reasonable grounds’ for having missed the cut-off point.
Reasonable grounds may include:
- The applicant already holds a biometric residence card or another residence document from the pre-31 December 2020 EEA Regulations, and did not realise that they were required to also apply to the EUSS.
- The applicant had a serious medical condition or required significant medical treatment in the months leading up to the 30 June 2021 deadline.
- The applicant already held a visa for a different requirement and did not realise they could also apply to the EUSS.
- The applicant was classed as a ‘vulnerable individual’, such as those who lack mental or physical capacity, or are victims of domestic violence or modern slavery.
- Where a parent, guardian or Local Authority has failed to apply on behalf of a child.
- There is also a catch-all provision which allows applicants who have missed the deadline to apply due to ‘other compelling practical or compassionate reasons’. Such reasons could be anything as simple as not having access to the internet to make the application, or simply not realising that they had to apply.
Refused EUSS applications
Anyone who makes a valid EUSS application which is refused has a right of appeal. This must be made within either 14 or 28 days from the date of the decision (depending on whether they are inside or outside of the UK at the time), and must be made to the First Tier Tribunal.
It is vital to seek advice from an experienced immigration specialist immediately on receiving a notice of refusal so that the necessary evidence for the appeal can be put together in good time.
The EUSS family permit
The EUSS family permit allows individuals with an eligible family member to come back to the UK with that family member, providing that family member is a British citizen, and that the individual has lived with them in the EU, EEA or Switzerland since before 31 December 2020.
The deadline for applications was 29 March 2022. However, it is still possible to apply if you can show evidence of ‘reasonable grounds’ for not returning to the UK before then, such as medical reasons or COVID-19 restrictions. A range of criteria must be met in order to apply, making it doubly important to seek the advice of an immigration specialist with specific experience in these types of applications.
How Imperium Chambers can help
If you are an EU national, or a dependent family member or partner of one, or you are a solicitor representing a client who falls under these criteria, the experts here at Imperium Chambers can advise you on whether you are still able to make an application for settlement under the EUSS. If so, we’ll guide you step by step through the process. If not, we will help you find an alternative solution to meet your immigration goals.