Currently, EU nationals living in the UK will be able to apply for a pre-settled or settled status from 30th March 2019. A pilot EU Settlement Scheme has been in place for certain sectors, possibly to encourage EU nationals to use the service and maybe deal with any issues the scheme has before it is rolled out to more than 3 million EU nationals living in the UK in March 2019. I recently had a meeting with Matthew Porter an Engagement Adviser for the EU Settlement Scheme at the Home Office, and he was confident that the scheme would be rolled out smoothly. I am not that confident, even though technology has improved, in my view the Home Office has not.
The Home Office now expects EU Citizen and their family members to apply through the scheme to secure their rights in the UK.
The Home Office thinks that the process will be quick and user-friendly. Matthew Porter also confirmed that the Home Office would be looking for reasons to grant, and not to refuse the application.
Settled Status and Pre-Settled Status
To get settled status, EU nationals and their family members will need to show that they have lived in the UK continuously for five years. Irish citizens do not need to apply for confirmation of their right to stay in the United Kingdom.
Those who have been in the UK for less than five years continuously will need to apply for a pre-settled status. Once five years continuous residence has been accumulated, then settled status can be applied for.
How much will the application cost?
The application will cost £65, and for children under 16, it will cost £32.50.
Those who already have a permanent residence document or valid indefinite leave to enter or remain, the application will be free. According to the Home Office, EU law allows a member state to charge for applications, and the cost of £65/£32.50 has been kept lower than the cost of applying for a British passport.
How will the Home Office assess your application?
The Home Office will check employment and benefit records by using your national insurance number to establish if you have been in the UK. As there is a presumption to grant a status, this simple check will be sufficient for most EU nationals. If there are gaps in the government records as for whether someone has been in the UK for five years, the application will allow various documents to be uploaded as evidence.
Therefore, it is expected that most EU nationals will only need to prove their identity, show they have lived in the UK, and declare any criminal convictions.
The application process
To use the application, you must have an email address, without it, you cannot create a profile and insert your details such as your name, date of birth, contact details and nationality. The application can be accessed and completed via the computer, smartphone and tablets.
However, to verify your identity using an EU Exit: ID Document Check app via a smartphone, the smartphone must be android operated. The reason why the identity cannot be verified via an iPhone is apparently to do with Apple and not due to the app.
Alternatively, you can attend one of the Home Office locations to give your identity or use someone else’s Android phone to upload the identity documents. Once the application has been approved, you will be given details on how to access on the Home Office website. Despite the scheme being rolled out to everyone by 30th March 2019, the deadline which EU national must apply by currently is 1st July 2021. Therefore, while there may be a huge number of EU nationals applying from March 2019, I suspect that fewer people will be applying until towards the end of the deadline.
Contact WH Solicitors if you require more information and guidance on how to apply for the scheme.