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What is the EU Settlement Scheme?
As of the 31st January 2020, the UK formally left the EU. A transition period was established to last until the 31st December 2020. This means, until then, the UK continues to follow the established EU rules in place. However, from the 1st January 2021, the UK is no longer bound by these rules. This means that ‘free movement’ within the EU ends on 31st December 2020.
If you are an EU national and want to stay in the UK, after the 31st December 2020, you and your close family members will need to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme. This scheme was set up by the UK Government to enable EU citizens and their family members to establish their immigration status before the UK’s withdrawal from the EU is complete.
If you wish to apply to the EUSS, you must be residing in the UK by the 31st December 2020 and must make an application to the scheme by the 30th June 2021.
Who can apply?
EU, EEA, and Swiss citizens; along with family members of EU, EEA, and Swiss citizens. These family members do not have to be EU, EEA, or Swiss citizens.
The application process
The application process is completely digital and comprises of a 2-stage process: an identity check and a residency check. The identity check is completed through an app which can be found on the Apple and Android Store called the ‘EU Exit: ID Document Check App’. This app is used to verify an individual’s identity using their biometric ID Document.
In most cases, you can prove your UK residence by referring to your National Insurance number. However, if you don’t have a national insurance number, or the checks have not been able to verify your residency, you can upload documents to show 5 years of continuous residence. These documents could include:
- Bank statement
- Council tax bill
- Domestic bills e.g. phone, TV, or internet bill
- Letters from UK Government departments, such as HMRC or Department for Education
- Mortgage statement or tenancy agreement
- Attendance at medical appointments
Click on this Govt website LINK.
What is Settled or Pre-Settled Status?
During your application to the EU Settlement Scheme, you will be asked if you would like to apply for Settled or Pre-Settled status. These two statuses are dependent on how long you have lived in the UK for.
Settled status is the equivalent of indefinite leave to remain. Those applying for settled status must have been living in the UK for five continuous years when applying. This residency must be ‘continuous’ and should be evidenced; for example, by bank statements, a tenancy agreement, study courses, or employment. Just providing your national insurance number may be enough, but you may need to upload documents to evidence continuous residency if automatic checks on your National Insurance number do not show five years residence. Once you have successfully applied for settled status, you can then work, study, use the NHS, and apply for social security and benefits after 30th June 2021. Once granted settled status, you can leave the UK for up to five years without losing settled status.
Pre-settled status is available for applicants who have been living in the UK for less than five years. You apply for pre-settled status and then, once you have lived in the UK continuously for five years, you then apply for settled status. You can still work, study, use the NHS, and may be eligible for some social security and benefits.
If you require further assistance
Should you require any further assistance with your application, please feel free to get in touch with Newfields Law.
Newfields has been commissioned by Welsh Government to provide free advice and support to EU citizens and their family members living in Wales who are looking to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme. The information in this blog post is for general information purposes only and does not amount to legal advice. Further, the guidance provided does not amount to a solicitor/client relationship. Whilst we do endeavour to ensure the information provided is correct, no guarantee is given to certify the accuracy of this information. Newfields Law accepts no responsibility for the information and excludes any liability of the information provided or for action taken based on this information.