The EU Settlement Scheme is designed for EU, EEA and Swiss citizens and their family members, who are living in the UK. The Scheme gives applicants the opportunity to protect their residence in the UK after the UK leaves the EU.
The Scheme will be open for applications until 31st December 2020 if the UK leaves the EU without a deal. In case the UK leaves with a deal, the Scheme will be available until 30th June 2021.
Applicants, who have lived in the UK for 5 years and can provide evidence in support of this, would be able to apply for ‘settled’ status. The holder of the settled status would acquire indefinite leave to remain in the UK.
Once the EU migrant is granted settled status in the UK, their children aged below 21 can also apply for settled status, without needing to have spent 5 years in the UK.
Applicants are permitted to have gaps of up to 6 months in any 12 month period, and one instance of up to 12 months continuous absence for a specified reason, such as serious illness, study, vocational training, pregnancy, childbirth or compulsory military service. These absences will not break the period of continuous residence of 5 years in the UK.
Applicants who have lived in the UK for less than 5 years are able to apply for ‘pre-settled’ status. There is no prescribed minimum amount of time the applicant must spend in the UK in order to apply for ‘pre-settled’ status. The applicant simply needs to demonstrate current residence in the UK.
‘Pre-settled’ status would grant its holder permission to stay (limited leave to enter or remain) in the UK for up to 5 years. Migrants can apply for settlement after they spend a continuous period of 5 years in the UK.
In order to successfully prove their continuous residence in the UK, applicants would need to provide supporting evidence reflecting the continuous period which they have spent in the UK.
The Home Office may contact applicants to request additional information or if anything is unclear in the application before making a decision.
Settled status will be lost after continuous absence from the UK for more than 5 years. Pre-settled status will be lost after continuous absence from the UK for more than 2 years. It is not possible to apply under this settlement scheme once the status has been lost. Instead, another immigration category should be used.
Holders of settlement document and Indefinite Leave to Remain:
Those who have previously been issued a permanent residence document must still apply under the EU Settlement Scheme. Holders of Indefinite Leave to Remain may choose to apply under the EU Settlement Scheme but are not required to do so. These applicants will not have to provide evidence of residence, but the Home Office will conduct criminality and security checks.
In addition, the Home Office will need to be satisfied that an applicant’s permanent residence status has not elapsed through absence of more than 5 consecutive years, or the Indefinite Leave to Remain has not elapsed through absence of more than 2 consecutive years.