Newfields has been appointed by the Welsh Government to provide free advice and support to EU citizens and their family members living in Wales who wish to apply to remain in the country in accordance with the EU Settlement Scheme. EEA and Swiss citizens and their family members can also apply under the scheme.
*Covid-19 update: We have postponed any face-to-face interaction with individuals wishing to get advice and support with completing their EU Settlement Scheme application for the foreseeable future. We are still providing advice over the phone, email and our webchat function and are also carrying out video chat meetings over platforms such as Zoom.*
EU citizens and their family members are entitled to enter, live and work lawfully in the UK whilst the UK remains within the EU. These rights are preserved during any transitional period that is agreed by the Government following the UK’s withdrawal from the EU. Currently, the transitional period will be 31st January 2020 to 30th June 2021 for those arriving in the UK before 31st December 2020.
The EU Settlement Scheme was set up by the UK government to enable EU citizens and their family members to establish their immigration status prior to the UK’s withdrawal from the EU and during the transitional period. The Scheme involves submitting an application which, if granted, will involve one of two outcomes for the applicant:
1. Pre-settled status; or
2. Settled status.
Settled status is the equivalent of indefinite leave to remain. It requires the EU citizen and any family member to have been resident in the UK for at least 5 continuous years. Those with settled status are able to have absences of up to 5 continuous’ years outside the UK (4 years if they are a Swiss citizen) without losing their status. Any absences exceeding 5 continuous years would result in a loss of settled status.
An EU citizen and any family member who has not resided in the UK for 5 continuous years will be granted pre-settled status. They will be able to apply for settled status in the future, after completing 5 years’ continuous residence in the country (even if this 5-year anniversary occurs after 2021). An individual must make an application for settled status within 5 years of their grant of pre-settled status. Those with pre-settled status can have absences of up to 2 continuous’ years outside the UK without losing their status, however such absences will impact on an individual’s ability to apply for settled status in the future.
EU, EEA (the EEA includes Norway, Lichtenstein and Iceland) and Swiss citizens; and
Family members of EU, EEA and Swiss citizens (these family members do not themselves need to be EU, EEA or Swiss citizen)
Irish citizens are not required to apply however may do so if their non-EU family member wishes to make an application under the scheme.
Applicants must be residing in the UK by the 31st December 2020 and must make an application to the scheme by the 30th June 2021.
The application process is entirely digital and involves a 2-stage process: an identity check and a residency check.
The identity check is completed via a specific app which can be found on both the Apple store and Android store. The name of the app is the ‘EU Exit: ID Document Check app’. This app is used to verify an individual’s identity using their biometric ID document.
If you are unable to use the app there are several other options available to you to complete this identity check. You may either:
The video below, produced by an organisation called Free Movement provides a step-by-step walkthrough of the application form.
In most cases, your UK residence can be assessed by reference to your National Insurance record. For this reason, your Settlement Status application will ask you for your National Insurance number.
However, not everyone will have a National Insurance number. Similarly, not everyone will have been undertaking work or other activities that would require reference to a NI number. In these cases, you should consider gathering the following documents to prove 5 years’ continuous residence in the UK instead. Such documents can include:
To qualify for continuous residence you must not have been absent from the UK for more than 6 months in any 12 month period unless the absence was for an important reason such as pregnancy, childbirth, serious illness, study or vocational training or an overseas posting.
Many EU citizens and their families have been granted permanent residence under existing EU Regulations. If you have previously been issued permanent residence, you must still apply to the Settlement Scheme. You will not have to provide any evidence to prove your UK residence, but you will be required to answer any criminal/security checks. The Home Office will also need to confirm that your permanent residence status has not been withdrawn or invalidated for any reason.
If you have Indefinite Leave to Remain or Indefinite Leave to Enter, it is not strictly necessary for you to apply to the Settlement Scheme. However, you are advised to do so to avoid delays arising from immigration checks at the UK border if and when you re-enter the country.
Applications under the EU Settlement Scheme are now free of charge. Originally, the Settlement Scheme involved an application fee of £65. However, this fee was removed by the Prime Minister on 21 January 2019. Those who originally made a payment are entitled to a full refund of the fee.
Family members of EU citizens applying to the Scheme may need to enrol their biometrics (fingerprints, digital photo) in order to receive a biometric residence card (BRC). This involves attending an appointment at a UK Visas & Citizenship Application Service centre for which there is a cost of up to approx. £200 for an appointment if the applicant wants a quick appointment. It is possible to get an appointment free of charge but this often involves a wait of 2 – 3 weeks.
The deadline for applying to the Settlement Scheme is 30th June 2021. The position for those who miss this deadline is still uncertain and so we would urge all to ensure they submit an application before this date. You should still apply to the Settlement Scheme even if you miss the deadline.
You must apply for settled or pre-settled status and you can do so if you are an EU citizen or your parent, spouse or civil partner is an EU citizen.
If you are under 21 years old and your parents have already been granted settled status, then you will automatically qualify for settled status even if you have not yet been living in the UK for five years. However, despite this automatic entitlement, you will still need to submit an application which is supported by a birth certificate that shows your parents’ details.
If you have been living in the UK for five or more years, then you will qualify for settled status in your own right without having to depend on your parents.
All applications for settled status will be checked against criminal record databases both in the UK and overseas. Depending upon the nature of the crime and the outcome of the matter, there is a risk that your application might be refused.
If you have previous minor criminal convictions this is unlikely to cause a problem for your EU Settlement application.
Your application will be assessed by a part of the Home Office called Immigration Enforcement if your previous convictions resulted in:
Immigration Enforcement will assess your application to check whether your crimes would meet the criteria for deportation under existing EEA law.
Having your EU Settlement Scheme assessed by the Immigration Enforcement team does not mean that you definitely will be deported. The Home Office will undertake a ‘proportionality assessment’ when considering applications. This means it will consider the individual facts of each case.
When completing the on-line application form you should declare all criminal convictions and any pending charges and provide details of these when asked. If you don’t declare a conviction that the Home Office become aware of via their own background checks, your application will be at risk of being refused on grounds of deception.
If you have a criminal record and you are concerned about whether this might affect your application to the EU Settlement Scheme please contact Newfields for advice.
If you are an Irish citizen, you do not need to apply to the Settlement Scheme.
Whilst Irish citizens are exempt from having to apply for the Settlement Scheme, their family members are not. As part of their application, family members of Irish citizens must prove their Irish sponsor’s identity and residence in the UK.
Family members can be non-EU citizens whose right to be in the UK is dependent on their family relationship with an EU citizen. Family members are split into two types – close family members and extended family members. This distinction is explained below.
If you are also an EU citizen and are residing in the UK before the 31st December 2020, you must make your own application to the EU Settlement Scheme. This includes children who are under 21 years old.
If you are a non-EU family member can apply to the EU Settlement Scheme at the same time as the EU citizen.
The first category of ‘close family members’ includes a spouse civil partner, child under 21, parent or grandparent. In most cases, a ‘close family member’ will be fairly obvious however, if there is any doubt see Annex 1 – Definitions of the Appendix EU rules.
‘Extended family members’ can include durable partners,* and other relatives such as brother, sister, aunt, uncle, niece, nephew or cousin provided that they are dependent on the EU sponsor in some way. It is important to remember that in order to apply for the settlement scheme, extended family members must already have a UK immigration document (i.e. a family permit, registration certificate, residence card, document residence card, document certifying permanent residence, permanent residence card).
Those who have a valid biometric residence permit may be able to confirm their identity using the EU Exit app. Those who do not hold a biometric residence permit will have to go to a Home Office application centre to enrol their biometrics and submit their original passport or national identity card.
*A durable partner is one that is (or as the case may be) for the relevant period was, in a durable relationship with an EEA citizen with the couple having lived together in a relationship akin to a marriage or civil partnership or if the couple do not have two years living together, other significant evidence such as joint responsibility for a child.
Family members can apply at the same time as their EU citizen/sponsor. The Home Office encourages family members either to apply at the same time as or after their sponsor applies. This is because the evidence provided by the EU citizen in gaining granted status will be sufficient evidence of the family member’s identity, nationality and continuous residence.
Close EU or non-EU family members who are living abroad may also join UK citizens in future providing the relationship was already formed before 31st December 2020. After this date, a normal family visa will apply.
Family members (except for carers) will follow the same basic application process as EU citizens. Users of the smartphone app are asked at the outset whether they are an EU citizen or not. Family members will select ‘no’.
Family members will be asked for their:
a) Own identity
c) Sponsor’s identity
d) Sponsor’s residence in the UK
e) Relationship with the sponsor
An existing permanent residence card will count as proof of all the above. Others that do not hold this will have to provide further evidence.
It is possible to apply for the Settlement Scheme as a family member in cases where you no longer have an EU citizen sponsor due to death or divorce.
A family member may get settled status without having lived in the UK for five years if all of the following criteria are met:
If these criteria cannot be met, a family member can still apply for the scheme but will need five years’ residence to gain full settled status. Otherwise they will be offered pre-settled status.
In regards to divorce, the divorced applicant must meet one of the following criteria:
Please note that if the EU sponsor is only entitled to pre-settled status, the non-EU family member will also only be eligible to apply for pre-settled status.
Generally, non-EU family members of UK citizens cannot apply for the settlement scheme and would instead apply through the regular UK family visa system.
There is one exception however in the case of British citizens who have moved to other EU countries, met a non-EU citizen there and moved back with them to the UK under the ‘Surinder Singh’ immigration route.
Family members will not be able to use the Settlement Scheme route if the relationship between themselves and their sponsor began after 31st December 2020. After this date, a normal UK family visa will apply.
Family members with a pre-existing relationship, in a case of a no-deal Brexit, will only be able to take the Settlement Scheme route to join their sponsor up to the cut-off date of 29th March 2022.
Carers have the right to apply under the Settlement Scheme. The criteria for Zambrano, Chen or Ibrahim/Teixeira carers is outlined below.
Carers will therefore need to meet the evidential requirements for these various criteria.
Keep all of the emails and documents relating to your EU Settlement Scheme application in a safe place. Make a note of your 16-digit unique application reference number beginning with 3434.
Keep checking the email account which you used in to make the application for any communications from the Home Office. Sometimes the Home Office will contact applicants to ask for additional information. It is important that you respond to any requests quickly. Please check your junk and/or spam folder regularly.
You will receive an email to confirm what status you have been granted. The email will provide you with a decision letter and instructions on how to access your on-line proof of status. The decision letter is not official proof of settled or pre-settled status. Your status can be viewed on-line on your personalised status portal only. You will not be issued a physical document, such as a card or certificate, saying that you have settled or pre-settled.
While the scheme remains open (until 30th June 2021), the best option is to reapply and provide extra evidence of your residency in the UK. If this happens, the you should get advice from Newfields so we can give you guidance about what to do next.
There are many reasons why an application might be unsuccessful. If this happens to you there are a few of options available including re-applying, requesting an Administrative Review or submitting an appeal. The best option will depend on your circumstances and for this reason you should get advice from Newfields so we can give you guidance about what to do next.
Once granted settled or pre-settled status, you will receive an email explaining how you can access your ‘proof of status’. This is in the form of a digital decision letter however this decision letter is not official proof of status. No physical document or card saying that you have settled or pre-settled status will be issued to you unless you have applied as a non-EU family member and you don’t already have a biometric residence permit (BRP).
The letter will contain a link to the Home Office online checking service. The link is called “View and Prove your Rights in the UK”. Access this link, providing the following security information:
A code will then be sent to the mobile number or email address used to register the application. Insert that code into the website and your settled or pre-settled status will be confirmed. You will need to keep your email and phone number up to date so that you can continue to access your status record. You can update your details via your on-line profile.
There is now an additional online service which enables you to share and prove your status with any third parties. A sharing of a code can be generated via their on-line profile which you can share with other organisations, allowing that organisation to view your status for up to 30 days.
You can apply to naturalise as a British citizen provided you meet the following requirements:
A person who is granted settled status is ‘settled’ in UK nationality law. This means that a child can register as a British citizen in one of two ways:
A non-British child who is born in the UK can be registered as a British citizen once their parent is granted settled status. The child is not automatically British if born in the UK.
If a child is born after the parent is granted settled status that child automatically British. The child can make an application for a British passport by supplying evidence of birth in the UK and evidence that the parent has become settled.
The EU Settlement Scheme was set up by the UK government to process applications for immigration status from EU citizens and their family members who are living in the UK. When an application is successful, one of two types of immigration status is granted: Limited leave to remain, also referred to as pre-settled status; or Indefinite leave to remain, also referred to as settled status.
The European Economic Area is an area of free trade and free movement of peoples between the member states of the European Union, as well as Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein. Though neither part of the EU or an EEA member state, Switzerland also benefits from the same freedom of movement rights as EEA member states.
The European Union (EU) is a economic and political union of 28 member states primarily located in Europe with an internal single market and a standardized system of laws which apply in all member states. Current EU member states: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Irish Republic, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom.
The term ‘Brexit’ combines the words ‘Britain’ and ‘exit’ and widely refers to the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union.
The Home Office is the lead government department for immigration and passports, drugs policy, crime, fire, counter-terrorism and police. In regards to the Home Office and the EU Settlement Scheme, the Home Office is responsible for reviewing applications and informing EU citizens as to whether or not they have been granted legal status.
Also known as indefinite leave to remain, this term is used by the government to indicate that an individual has no time limit on how long they can stay in the UK. After Brexit, EU citizens who have been granted settled status will continue to have the same access to work, study, healthcare, pensions and other benefits in the UK as they do under the current rules. Under settled status, an individual can leave the UK and return within five years and continue to live here as a settled person. If they are absent from the UK for more than five consecutive years however, their settled status will lapse. Furthermore, if they have a children born in the UK after being granted settled status, that child will be born a British citizen.
Also known as limited leave to remain, pre-settled status allows you to stay in the UK for a period of up to five years. This allows you to remain in the UK until you are eligible for settled status which has a requirement of five years of residence. EU citizens who have been granted pre-settled status will continue to have the same access to healthcare and public services as they do now.
Some EU citizens and their families may have documentation proof of ‘permanent residence’. Though this exists under today’s EU law, those who have previously been issue ‘permanent residence’ must still apply under the EU Settlement Scheme. Under the scheme they will not have to provide further evidence of qualifying residence but will be subject to criminal and security checks. Furthermore, the Home Office will need to confirm that their permanent residence status has not lapsed through absence of more than five consecutive years. The applicant will need to ‘self-declare’ that they have not been absent for such a period. If the Home Office is satisfied with the application, they will be eligible for settled status.
Being ‘continuously resident’ means not having left the UK for more than six months at a time. Someone who has been absent from the UK for six months or longer will break their continuous residence. There are generally only two exceptions from this general rule which can be found in Appendix EU of the UK Immigration Rules. These are: a) a single period of absence which did not exceed 12 months and was for an important reason (such as pregnancy, childbirth, serious illness, study, vocational training or an overseas posting); or b) any period of absence on compulsory military service.
A close family member is a spouse, civil partner, unmarried partner, dependent child, dependent grandchild, dependent parent or dependent grandparent. A family member can come from anywhere in the world and need not be from the EU. If there is any doubt, a full list of definitions of a child, spouse etc. can be found at Annex 1 – Definitions of the Appendix EU rules.
Within the decision letter received after making an application under the EU Settlement Scheme, you will be told whether your application can be reviewed. You can apply for administrative review if either your application was refused on eligibility grounds or you were granted pre-settled status but believe you quality for settled status. You can also make a new application under the EU settlement scheme at any point. This application will be free. In order to make an application for administrative review you must apply within 28 days of the date of your decision email by completing an administrative review application form. It costs £80 to apply for an administrative review with this fee being refunded if the original decision is withdrawn due to a case working error or your application for a review is rejected because it is invalid.
“Glyn has been instrumental in advising the England Rugby Football Union as well as many clubs on a wide range of immigration matters, and is always on hand to steer us in the right direction. He and his colleagues always respond promptly, efficiently and often with very little notice, which is essential in the fast moving environment within which we work.”
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“Glyn and his team at Newfields have been Instrumental in advising on a range of immigration matters. As part of my talent ID role at the Ospreys I recruit on a global basis. Glyn is always on hand to advise and guide me through each step of the process with a great deal of calmness and professionalism. Glyn and his team are experts in their field and their knowledge on all immigration matters is incredibly impressive. Glyn and his team are hugely supportive, friendly, responsive and professional. I would have no hesitation in recommending Newfields. ”
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