While the concerns over Brexit are almost at fever pitch, it is certainly not time (yet) to worry about your rights if you are an EEA citizen who currently resides in the UK. While Britain's path to exiting the union can be described as rough at best, the rights of EEA citizens residing in the UK have never explicitly been under threat. For all the bluster and propaganda, even the most staunch of Brexit campaigners have never suggested that the EEA citizens who reside in the UK should be forcibly removed.
Though there has certainly been no pressure applied, the EU Settlement Scheme has now been available for a while. Despite what many people believe, it is wise for ALL EEA citizens living in the UK to apply to the scheme, or at least ensure that they are covered before the deadline to apply expires. This way, you can ensure that your right to remain in the UK is enshrined, whatever happens.
For those that have so far not applied to the scheme (or those who are wondering if they should), this article should hopefully give you a clear guide to the EU Settlement Scheme and how to apply to it. If you need any more help, call us today and speak to a member of our team.
In order to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme, you will need to apply online. This can be done by either visiting this website or by downloading a mobile app on either Android or iOS devices. In order to apply, you will need to have some information and documents available. It is best to get these together first before making your application, though you can pause your application and come back to it at a later stage if you need to add more information. Below is a checklist of what you will need to have before making an application:
Once you have these details, you will be able to make your application. If you hold a biometric EU/EEA passport or a UK-issued Biometric Residence Permit, you will be able to either scan your documents (if you have access to an Android device you can do this in the EU Exit: ID Document Check app that is available on the Play Store - iPhone app will be available by the end of 2019) or send them via the post. If you do not hold these documents then other options are available, but you will need to use the postal route.
To prove your residence, you may be able to use an automated National Insurance check if you are eligible. If you are not eligible, you will need to provide documentary evidence.
In order to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme, you must meet the following criteria;
There is some flexibility in the continuous residence rules - get in touch if you are concerned about your eligibility.
In order to prove eligibility, you may be able to use the automated National Insurance check that is included in the application. If you cannot, you will need to prove your eligibility with documentary evidence as laid out in the guidelines.
If you are unsure if you have successfully received Settled Status, the Home Office has launched a web page that allows you to check the progress of your application here. In order to use the service, you will need details of the identity document that you used as part of your application (your passport or national identity card), your date of birth and the mobile number or email address that you used when you applied - you will be sent a link to one of these to log in the service.
Currently, the deadline to apply for Settled Status is the 30th of June 2021. If the UK opts to leave the EU without a new deal, this date will be moved forward to the 31st of December 2020. This date (the 31st of December 2020) is also the final date in which you can use your current identity documents to prove your rights to remain in the UK. With this in mind, it is vital that you apply to the scheme between now and then to ensure that you will be able to remain in the UK after the deadline.
While it may seem like an annoyance, it really is vital that EEA citizens apply to the scheme, as currently, the future rights of migrants in the UK is somewhat unknown. The EU Settlement Scheme is currently the only way for EEA citizens to ensure their long-term ability to remain in the UK after Brexit.
If the UK, as is seemingly becoming more likely by the day, opts to leave the European Union without a replacement deal in place, there are likely to be ramifications for EEA citizens who are currently residing in the UK. The most obvious one is that the deadline for applying for the EU Settlement Scheme will be moved forward to the 31st of December 2020, but there are also other potential scenarios that may affect EEA citizens rights going forward. Our advice is to apply for the scheme in good time to ensure that you will be able to remain in the UK no matter where the course of Brexit takes us next.
If you are unsure about your rights and would like some advice, call us today to talk to our team about what your next step should be. Our team of specialist immigration solicitors are staying up to date with all of the current guidance and can help you to make the right decisions moving forward. So, if you need help, get in touch.
Difference between Settled status and permanent residence for EEA residents in the UK
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