How Do I Link My Child to My EU Settled Status?
With now only a matter of weeks until the UK comes to the end of the current transition period with the European Union, it is more important than ever for EU citizens who wish to remain in the UK to apply under the EU Settled Status Scheme (EUSS). In this article, we will explain how to make an EUSS application for your children, thereby ensuring they retain the right to reside in the UK from 1st January 2021.
What Is the EU Settlement Scheme?
A year before the UK’s departure from the EU, which happened at 11 pm GMT on 31st January 2020, the UK’s Home Office started to allow applications for the EUSS (on 21st January 2021). The EUSS was set up as a way to allow EU, EEA, and Swiss nationals to remain in the UK at the end of the current Brexit transition period. It is important to note that if you are eligible, you will not be automatically registered and you must submit your application by 30th June 2021. To be eligible, you must be an EU/EEA, or Swiss national living in the UK before 1st January 2021.
If you apply under the EUSS, you will receive either Pre-Settled Status or Settled Status. Pre-Settled Status (which provides five years limited leave) is granted to those who have been living in the UK continuously for less than five years. Settled Status (equivalent to Indefinite Leave to Remain) is granted to applicants who have been in the UK for five or more years.
Is My Child Eligible Under The EUSS?
Your child can apply for Pre-Settled or Settled Status under the EUSS if they are under 21 years old and are an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen. They can also apply if they are not an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen, but you (as their parent are), or your spouse or civil partner is. On this matter, the Home Office immigration rules state “the applicant must be the direct descendant of the relevant EEA citizen (or qualifying British citizen) or of their spouse or civil partner, and this includes a grandchild or great-grandchild”. For the purposes of an EUSS application, ‘child’ can refer to:
- an adopted child
- a child born through surrogacy
- a child in respect of whom a special guardianship order is in force appointing as their special guardian the relevant EEA citizen (or qualifying British citizen) or their spouse or civil partner
- a child in respect of whom an order has been made under section 5 of the Children Act 1989 appointing as their guardian the relevant EEA citizen (or qualifying British citizen) or their spouse or civil partner
- a child subject to a permanence order made under section 80 of the Adoption and Children (Scotland) Act 2007 vesting parental responsibilities and parental rights in a person who is the relevant EEA citizen (or qualifying British citizen) or their spouse or civil partner
- Children subject to a guardianship order vesting parental responsibilities and parental rights in a person who is the relevant EEA citizen (or qualifying British citizen) or their spouse or civil partner (this applies to Scotland, Northern Ireland, Jersey, Guernsey, and the Isle of Man).
The policy guidance for the EUSS provides much more detail on the qualification criteria for children, including how applications for fostered children are handled from the perspective of the UK immigration system.
How Do I Apply for EU Settled Status for My Child?
There are two ways to proceed with a child application. They can apply entirely for themselves, or you can apply for them. If you apply for them, you can ‘link’ their application to yours. Unlike other applications whereby you would apply for a child in the same application, with the EUSS this is done separately. If you have more than one child, you will need to repeat this process for each, hence each person will have their own application.
If you are making the application on behalf of your child, you will first need to submit your own EUSS application. Once you have done this, you can then apply for your child, and include the application number of your application, which will then mean they are linked. You do not need to wait for a decision on your application before you submit and link to your child’s application. The Home Office guidance also confirms that you can use your own email address for your child’s application; i.e. they do not need their own email address.
Once the application process for your child is complete, they will receive the same Status as is awarded to you (i.e. Pre-Settled or Settled Status).
Many EU citizens living in the UK and who wish to remain here are understandably concerned that they and/or their children may be refused based on a minor technicality or error by the Home Office. If you wish to have your application checked over or handled on your behalf, it is advisable to speak to immigration lawyers. They are highly experienced in handling EU Settled Status applications and understand the rules and guidance followed by Home Office case officers who assess applications.
While there are some cases of errors being made by the Home Office, these are relatively rare, and as long as you are eligible, you should receive the Status you are eligible for. If you receive Pre-Settled Status and you have been in the UK for five years, then it may be necessary to apply for an administrative review. An immigration Solicitor will be able to check your eligibility and apply to the Home Office for a review of the decision on your behalf.