Reasons for EU Settlement Scheme Application Refusal
If you have recently applied to the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS) for pre-settled or settled status, or you are due to apply shortly, it is important to understand the possible reasons for refusal. Receiving a refusal from the Home Office for an EUSS application can be deeply upsetting, especially if you have been living in the UK for some time and have established a new life here. According to the Home Office’s own statistics, they issued around 56,000 refusals for EUSS applications, but to put this in context, around 4.8 million were approved. They also state, “of the refusals, 99% were refused on eligibility grounds, and 1% were refused on suitability grounds”. In other words, most people who were refused had their application declined because they did not qualify for pre-settled or settled status. In this article, we will outline the main reasons for EU Settlement Scheme application refusal.
Why might an EUSS application be refused on suitability grounds?
Even if a person is eligible for pre-settled or settled status, they will still be refused if they do not meet the suitability requirements. As we established above, this only represents around 1% of refusals, but it is still important to know why applications are refused on this basis. Appendix EU states that an application to the EUSS will be refused on the grounds of suitability if any of the following apply at the time of making a decision (this list is not exhaustive):
- The applicant is subject to a deportation order or to a decision to make a deportation order or an exclusion order or exclusion decision.
- The applicant’s presence in the UK is not conducive to the public good because of conduct committed (this may include a serious criminal offence)
- The applicant is subject to an Islands deportation order or to an Islands exclusion decision
- If (to the applicant’s knowledge) false or misleading information, representations or documents have been submitted
- The applicant is subject to a removal decision under the EEA Regulations
- The applicant has previously been refused admission to the UK in accordance with regulation 23(1) of the EEA Regulations
- The applicant has previously been refused admission to the UK in accordance with regulation 12(1)(a) of the Citizens’ Rights (Frontier Workers) (EU Exit) Regulations 2020
- On the grounds of public policy, public security or public health
If any of the above apply to you, we recommend speaking to specialist immigration Solicitors before submitting your EUSS application to determine if this will have an impact on the outcome of your case. Where it is, we will write a detailed covering letter explaining why the factors identified are no longer applicable or any other mitigating circumstances which the Home Office case officer is required to take into account.
Why might an EUSS application be refused on eligibility grounds?
As outlined above, most refused EUSS applications are denied on the basis that the applicant did not meet the eligibility requirements. This can occur either because the applicant does not meet a requirement, the information provided does not prove they meet all the requirements, or the Home Office case officer made a mistake when assessing an application. Some of the most common reasons for EUSS application refusal based on eligibility grounds include:
Not having ‘reasonable grounds’ for applying to the EUSS after 30th June 2021
As most applicants will be aware, the EUSS scheme closed to new applications on 30th June 2021, but certain people can still apply. Those with a ‘reasonable ground’ for being late, those applying for settled status that already have pre-settled status, and those applying to join a family member can apply after this date. Reasonable grounds include medical reasons (e.g., being seriously ill in hospital and hence unable to apply) or being a victim of domestic abuse. The Home Office case officer will require clear evidence of your reasonable grounds for applying late; hence even if you do qualify to apply late, if the evidence you supply is insufficient, this may lead to a refusal.
Not having lived in the UK before the end of 2021
The EUSS eligibility rules state that to apply for pre-settled or settled status, you must be either:
- from the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein, and you started living in the UK by 31st December 2020
- the family member of someone from the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein who started living in the UK by 31st December 2020
If the Home Office case officer does not have sufficient evidence that you were living in the UK before the end of 2021, they will refuse the EUSS application. In most cases, the Home Office will use existing records to verify this, including your National Insurance number, tax records, or benefit records.
Non-EEA family members not providing sufficient evidence of their relationship to a family member from the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein
Under the EUSS eligibility rules, a non-EEA person can apply under the scheme if they have a family member living in the UK who is from the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein. The rules state that all the following must be true to make an application:
- they started living in the UK by 31st December 2020
- they have settled or pre-settled status, have applied and are waiting for a decision or are eligible for settled or pre-settled status
- you’re joining them in the UK on or after 1st April 2021
Applicants must be either be a spouse, civil partner, unmarried partner and have been in the relationship before the end of 2020. Other family members can also apply, including children, grandchildren or great-grandchildren under 21 years old and dependent children, grandchildren or great-grandchildren over the age of 21. It is essential that you provide sufficient evidence of your relationship to gain approval under the EUSS (a list of suitable evidence can be found on the Home Office website).
If you are applying late to the EUSS if you are unsure if you qualify, or if you are unsure if you have sufficient evidence to prove your suitability and eligibility, speak to an immigration lawyer who can review your case before you submit your application. This will give you the peace of mind that you have done all you can to ensure your application has the best chance of success.