If you’re an EU citizen living and working in the UK, today marks the first day that you can apply for the Home Office’s ‘settled status’ scheme in the UK ahead of Brexit.
There are 3.5 million EU citizens currently living in the UK, most of whom will have to apply to the scheme if they want to continue living in the country after June 2021.
The scheme does not apply to those from the Republic of Ireland or those already given indefinite leave to live in the UK.
When must I apply by?
The deadline is 30th June, 2021.
Those who have been living in the UK for less than five years before the deadline will get ‘pre-settled status’, which can be changed to settled status when you have reached five years of continuous residence.
How much does it cost?
The application process was due to cost £65 for adults and £32.50 for children but these fees have now been scrapped by the government. Anybody that has already paid will be
Who has to apply?
EU citizens – excluding those from the Republic of Ireland – who plan to stay in the UK long-term will have to apply for settled status, guidance published on the Home Office website states.
Irish citizens’ rights are guaranteed under the Common Travel Area established in 1923 to ensure open borders between the UK and Ireland.
EU nationals that have previously been granted indefinite leave to enter the UK or indefinite leave to remain in the UK are also exempt from the scheme.
But EU citizens who only have a permanent residence document will still need to apply for settled status.
Non-EU nationals in the UK with an EU spouse, civil partner or unmarried partner also need to apply for the settlement scheme, and are advised to apply at the same time as them.
You will still need to apply for settled status if you are a non-EU national and your partner is an EU citizen who does not need to apply because they meet exemption criteria.
Do I need to apply if I’m married to a British person?
Any EU national married to a British person will need to apply for settled status if they have not previously taken British citizenship.
Widows of deceased British citizens will also need settled status if they wish to remain in the UK.
How do I apply?
The application process is online and via an app. Applicants will be asked to prove their identity, their residence in the UK and will be asked whether they have criminal convictions in any overseas country.
Individuals with a persistent offending history, particularly if it involves violence or drugs, will have their application considered on a case-by-case basis.
How long does it take?
The process is still undergoing testing, but a trial of 30,000 people saw two-thirds of applications approved within three days and 81% within a week.
I am only planning on staying in the UK for a couple of years, should I apply?
People not planning on staying in the UK beyond the transition period do not need to apply for the scheme.
But EU nationals who plan to remain for several years but not settle in the UK permanently are still advised to apply for settled or pre-settled status as it is likely to be cheaper and simpler than other visa options.
What happens if my application is refused?
The Home Office says that e