17 January 2019
EU nationals’ settlement scheme to start public test on 21 January 2019
Following the success of a private pilot of the new settlement scheme for EU nationals seeking to live and work in the EU post Brexit, the government has announced that it will roll out a public test from 21 January 2019. The scheme is due to be fully operational by 30 March 2019.
Who can apply?
- EU citizens who have been living lawfully and continuously in the UK for five years.
- EU citizens who have not reached five years are entitled to apply for pre-settled status. Once they reach five years in the UK, they can apply for settled status.
- The scheme will be available to EU citizens who arrive in the UK before 31 December 2020 should the UK leave the EU with a formal withdrawal agreement in place, or before 29 March 2019 if there is a 'no deal' Brexit.
- EU citizens will be able to apply for settled status until 30 June 2021 under the withdrawal agreement, or until 31 December 2020 if there is no deal.
EU citizens with settled status are permitted to bring "close family members” into the UK, provided that the relationship existed on 31 December 2020 (should the UK leave the EU with a withdrawal agreement confirmed), or 29 March 2019 in the event of 'no deal'.
Criteria and evidence required to apply:
- Proof of identity
- Proof that they have been living in the UK for the past five years
- No serious criminal convictions
- Pay a fee of £65 if you’re 16 or over and £32.50 if you’re under 16 years old. If an EU national has permanent residence/indefinite leave, they will be able to replace this with settled status for free.
The Home Office has said that EU citizens who do not have a passport will not be able to apply for settled status until the scheme is fully operational.
EFTA nationals from Norway, Iceland, Lichtenstein and Swiss nationals are entitled to apply for settled status too.
Chris Brazier, business immigration lawyers, B P Collins said:
"For the many EU nationals and employers of EU nationals who have been waiting for the wider roll out of the settled status scheme, this will be welcome news. Employers should encourage their EU national employees to apply as soon as possible because, once granted, this will give them the security that they have been seeking for over two years.
"Please contact us if you are an EU national who requires assistance with the application process. Please also contact us If you are an employer and would like us to provide practical training to your EU national employees on settled status."