This article is for people who want to:
- Know more about the EU Settlement Scheme
- Live and work in the UK after the Brexit Transition Period ends on 31 December 2020
- Learn how to apply for Pre-settled Status or Settled Status under the EU Settlement Scheme
- Get professional assistance with their EU Settlement Scheme application
EU Settlement Scheme - an Overview
The EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS) enables EU, EEA and Swiss nationals to continue to live and work in the UK after the Brexit Transition Period ends on 31 December 2020. When you apply under the EUSS you’ll receive one of two types of status: Settled Status or Pre-settled Status.
If you’ve lived in the UK for 5 continuous years or more you can apply directly for Settled Status under the EUSS. This gives you the right to live and work in the UK for as long as you wish.
If you’ve not yet reached 5 continuous years of residence in the UK, you can apply for Pre-settled Status. As long as you continue to meet the conditions, at the end of 5 continuous years of residence in the UK you can apply for Settled Status.
Living and Working in the UK after the Brexit Transition Period
There are two key dates to be aware of:
- 31 December 2020: this is the last day you can begin qualifying for Pre-settled Status
- 30 June 2021: last day to apply for Pre-settled Status and Settled Status under the EUSS
The 31 December 2020 date is the last day you can begin the qualification period for Pre-settled Status. One of the requirements is that you have been in the UK within the last six months for at least one day – this day must be before the end of the Brexit Transition Period on 31 December 2020.
There are a number of ways you can prove this, according to the Citizens Advice Bureau:
- used airline, train, ferry or ship ticket that shows the date you entered the UK
- stamp in your passport showing you entered the UK
- monthly bank statement showing money you’ve spent or received in the UK
- mobile phone bill in your name with your address in the UK
- council tax, water, gas or electricity bill
- letter or appointment card from your GP, a hospital or other healthcare professional – for example a physiotherapist
This isn’t an exhaustive list and you may be able to use other documents. We’d strongly recommend you seek professional advice, such as calling the Citizens Advice Bureau for free or booking a paid visa consultation through Help with my visa! if you’re unable to provide these documents to prove you’ve visited the UK.
Many businesses looking to get Pre-settled Status for their eligible staff had been sending them to the UK for a day of business meetings, according to reports by London-based immigration law firm Bates Wells, although now that COVID-19 travel restrictions have essentially blocked all non-essential travel to the UK this may now not be a viable option. Speaking to an immigration professional therefore becomes an excellent option.
Applying for Pre-settled Status and Settled Status
The EUSS is free and you can apply remotely using the EUSS mobile app. You don’t need to enrol your biometrics or visit a visa application centre, everything is done through the app on your phone.
There’s a good walkthrough video available on YouTube, but if you’re unable to watch we’ve summarised the process below.
To apply, you’ll need to provide the following information:
- an identity document – your passport, national identity card, biometric residence card or permit
- a digital photo – you can take a selfie during the application
- your National Insurance number or proof of how long you’ve lived in the UK
- a mobile phone number
- an email address
- proof of your relationship if you’re applying for a child or another family member
The Citizens Advice Bureau goes into more detail about the kinds of documents you can use to prove how long you’ve lived in the UK if you can’t use a National Insurance number.
The app is very secure and easy to use, with people routinely taking just 10 minutes to complete the process.
You’ll need your documentation in front of you before you start the application process, then everything is done on your phone.
You’ll be asked to create an account and enter an email address so you can receive updates and log back into your account.
You use your phone to take a photo of your passport’s biographical details page, as well as holding the phone close to your passport so that the app can read the biometric chip embedded in your passport.
You’re asked to take a selfie and several other photos of your face – much like setting up FaceID on a new iPhone – and the app compares these images to the one read from the biometric chip in your passport. With a positive match, your identity is confirmed and you can continue with the rest of the application process.
You’ll need to either upload a digital file (such as a pdf) of each document or take a photo of it with your phone. Pay attention to the maximum file size – especially if taking a photo on your phone – and remember you can only upload a maximum of 10 documents.
Get Professional Assistance with your EUSS Application
The Citizens Advice Bureau in the UK provides free advice to people using the EUSS. You can contact them by email or phone on their website.
If you’d like to speak to a private immigration advisor or lawyer about your EUSS application, you can book a visa consultation with one of the advisors listed on Help with my visa! These calls are done by telephone and are offered throughout the working day – as well as at weekends.