Newfields Law, along with several other organisations, has been funded by the Welsh Government to provide free advice to EU citizens and their family members living in Wales, who are applying to the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS).
This article has been written to answer your most frequently asked questions regarding making an application to the EUSS. If you require any further information or have additional queries, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- I don’t have a National Insurance number, what documents can I use to prove my residency in the UK?
You do not need to have a national insurance number to make an application to the EUSS.
If you do have a National Insurance number, then this will be useful to input into your application as the data attached to your National Insurance number can show your residence in the UK.
However, if you don’t have a national insurance number, or your personal national insurance records are incomplete, you can provide additional evidence of residence to cover any gaps. Examples of documents that can be used to prove residency in the UK are:
- Payslips, P60, P45, contract or letter from employer
- Enrolment letter from the University
- Bank statement/s
- Utility bills
- GP registration letter
- Council tax bills
- Pension Documents
- Tenancy agreement & corresponding rent payments
- Boarding pass and flight/ferry/train booking if arriving close to 31st Dec 2020
It is important to note that the documents must include your name and UK address. If you are providing bank statements, then you must show transactions in each statement for the evidence to be accepted.
If you can’t get any of the documents in the list above, try to find any other document with your name and UK address or a letter from any support organisation that might be helping you with a particular problem e.g., support worker, housing officer, Citizens’ Advice, or charity.
- Do children need to make their own application to the EUSS?
It is a common misconception that children do not need to apply to the EUSS as their parents have their own status, however, this is not the case.
Children do need to make their own application to the EUSS, which can be made by the parent, on behalf of the child. We advise for the parent to make their EUSS application first, which generates a unique application reference number starting with 3434. This can then be input into the child’s application which will connect the two together. This means that a child can acquire the same EUSS status as their parent. The parent will need to upload a copy of the child’s birth certificate as evidence of the parent/child relationship. The birth certificate must show the names of the parents and the child.
Here is a useful video link created by Freemovement explaining a step-by-step process for making a child’s application to the EUSS – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2CMEhJ4Ox5s.
- What is the latest guidance given to EUSS applicants with absences from the UK due to coronavirus?
If you currently hold or are eligible for pre-settled status only, then you must maintain continuous residency in the UK to be eligible for settled status in the future.
To be eligible for settled status, you need to show the Home Office that you have been continuously resident in the UK for at least 5 consecutive years.
You will be considered to have been continuously resident if you have spent at least 6 months in every 12-months of each of those qualifying five years living in the UK.
There are some exceptions to this where the Home Office will allow you to be outside the UK for a single period of up to 12 months. These reasons include:
- Serious illness
This will only be considered an important reason where you are, or were, under quarantine conditions, for example:
i) when ill with coronavirus yourself,
ii) sharing a house with someone ill with coronavirus,
iii) when required to self-isolate as a result of being, or being in contact with someone who is, in a vulnerable or high-risk category
If you have been prevented from travelling back to the UK due to coronavirus you should provide a supporting letter with your application outlining the details and the dates you were ill, were in quarantine or if your previous travel booking was cancelled.
If you have been living outside of the UK because of the Coronavirus, the Home Office has said that it will accept a single absence of up to 12 months that was because of being ill, needing to self-isolate or quarantine, or because there were travel restrictions that prevented you from returning to the UK. Therefore, a single period of more than 6 months, but no more than 12 months, during your 5-year continuous qualifying period means that it may not cause you to break your continuity of residence in the UK. Students enrolled at a UK college or university but who have been studying remotely outside the UK for a single period of up to 12 months because of Coronavirus will still be continuously resident.
If you had a single or multiple absence of more than 6 months, but no more than 12 months, and the reason for your absence was not related to coronavirus, this will likely break your continuous qualifying period. If this is the case, then you must provide evidence of reasoning for your absence from the UK. In these circumstances, you may need to restart your 5-year qualifying period towards settled status and you will need to have returned to the UK before the end of the transition period i.e., 31st December 2020.
Latest published guidance found on the gov.uk website was issued on the 15th December 2020 which is correct for the date of publishing this FAQ article.
The3million have created an ‘absence calculator’ which is an effective tool in calculating your absences from the UK for your EUSS application. Please follow this link and scroll to the end of the page where you’ll find a link to download an excel spreadsheet of the absence calculator.
- How do I change my pre-settled status to settled status?
Once you have been granted pre-settled status and have reached 5 years continuous residence in the UK, you must make an application to convert your pre-settled status into settled status. You must complete this application before your pre-settled status expires. Your pre-settled status will expire 5 years from the date it was granted to you.
For example: you arrived in the UK March 2019 and made an application for pre-settled status upon arrival. Therefore, by March 2024, you will have reached 5 years continuous residence and must convert your pre-settled status to settled status, to reflect your time spent in the UK.
To be eligible to apply for settled status in the future, you must spend at least 6 months within any 12-month qualifying period in the UK. Therefore, you must be careful to minimise any time that you spend outside the UK until you are granted settled status. It is also important to note that new criminal convictions that that occur during this time may affect your eligibility for holding a future settled status.
Please see the attached flyers which have been designed to give informative advice and a checklist for your current pre-settled or settled status. The flyers are available in English, Polish, Czech, Romanian, Slovakian and Portuguese.
- I am an EU citizen starting my residence in the UK on or after 1st January 2021 – can I still apply to the EUSS?
To be eligible to apply under the EUSS, you will need to have arrived and been living in the UK by 31st December 2020, the end of the transition period. If you have arrived by this date, you have until 30th June 2021 to apply to the EUSS.
If you are an EU Citizen who has arrived in the UK after the 31st December 2020, you will likely need to apply for a visa under the points-based system. However, if you have EU family members who arrived in the UK before 31st December 2020, you may be eligible to apply under the EUSS as a joining family member through an EUSS Family Permit. Please feel free to get in touch with us for more details on this.
- The EU Exit Document Check App isn’t working, what can I do to make an application?
The app is used to verify your identity and nationality by scanning information contained on the biometric chip inside your passport or national ID card. It is the quickest and most straightforward way to submit an application to the EUSS. If the EU Exit Document Check App is not working, try following the steps below:
- Delete and redownload the app.
- Try using the app on a friend/family member’s phone.
Check on the gov.uk guidance if your phone is compatible with the app. For example, if you have an iPhone, it will need to be the iPhone 7 or above.
If after following these steps you still cannot use the App or you do not have the correct device, you can complete the online application form and send your passport or national ID card in the post to the Home Office. Instructions about how to post your document safely are available at the end of the application form.
You will also need post your ID document to the Home Office if it does not contain a biometric chip or the chip is damaged. You can start the application without using the App by visiting https://www.gov.uk/settled-status-eu-citizens-families/applying-for-settled-status.
- Do I need to declare my previous and current criminal convictions in my EUSS application?
In most cases, yes.
It is important that you declare any criminal convictions you may have in your EUSS application. This includes any criminal convictions you have received in the UK or overseas. If you fail to disclose a criminal conviction, this may potentially lead to a refusal on the grounds of deception.
You are not required to declare:
- Spent offences
- Alternatives to prosecution, such as fixed penalty notices for speeding
If you don’t know whether to include a conviction it is always better to declare it. If you need to find out more about your criminal convictions, you can obtain information about your UK criminal record, and some overseas criminal records, by making a Subject Access Request to the Criminal Records Office.
If you have a pending prosecution, your EUSS application may be paused until the outcome of the prosecution is known. Even if you have a pending prosecution it is important that you submit your EUSS application before the deadline of 30th June 2021.
An EUSS application may be referred to Immigration Enforcement where you have been convicted and sentenced to imprisonment in the last five years, if your prison sentence was for 12 months or more, if you have had multiple convictions within the last three years, or if your criminal conviction was for a violent offence.
Criminal convictions are dealt with on a case-by-case basis so there may be other situations where an EUSS application would be referred to Immigration Enforcement. If you have any previous or current criminal conviction and are looking to apply to the EUSS, we recommend that you contact us to discuss your situation.
- How do I convert my EEA Biometric Residence Card (BRC) to an EUSS BRC?
Current BRC’s held by non-EU family members and those with retained or derivative rights that were issued under EEA Regulations will still be valid and in operation until the 30th June 2021. However, after the 30th June 2021, you must have converted your BRC to be issued under the EUSS.
Follow this link which provides you with the application process on how you can transfer from your EEA BRC to be an EUSS BRC.
Also, you are no longer able to replace your BRC issued under the EEA Regulations if it has been lost, stolen, expired or damaged. If this is the case, you will need to apply to the EUSS. Once applied, and your status has been granted, you will then be issued a BRC within 10 working days from the date of your application being granted.
Applying to EUSS using your BRC
Follow this link to make an application to the EUSS.
Applications for the EUSS usually close on 30th June 2021. However, you might be able to apply later if both of the following apply:
- You are a spouse, civil partner, or unmarried partner of an EU, EEA, or Swiss citizen who themselves is already living in the UK by 31st December 2020; or
- You are child under 21 years old of an EU, EEA, or Swiss citizen or if you are 21 years old or over, you are dependant; and
- You are applying to join them in the UK on or after 1st January 2021
If you are applying to join your family member in the UK, who was themselves living in the UK before 1st January 2021, you may be able to apply to the EUSS. Your close family member must both:
- be a citizen of an EU country, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, or Liechtenstein (or a British citizen who lived with you in one of these countries)
- have been living in the UK before 1st January 2021
To be eligible to apply to the EU Settlement as a joining family member from outside the UK, you must be either:
- be a citizen of an EU country, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, or Liechtenstein with a valid biometric passport or ID card; or
- have a relevant UK residence card with a biometric chip such as a biometric residence card, a permanent residence card, or a derivative residence card
If you don’t have a biometric document listed above you can Otherwise, you will need to apply for a free family permit to come to the UK. Once you are in the UK, you can apply to the EUSS.
- I’m an EU citizen and married to a British Citizen, do I still need to apply to the EUSS?
Again, this is a common misconception that if you are married to a British Citizen then you do not need to apply to the EUSS. However, this is not the case.
Therefore, as an EU citizen, you will apply to the EUSS in your own right and rely on your EU nationality and residence in the UK.