How do I apply for settled status in the UK?
Although some applicants have tested this scheme, it will be fully open to all applicants as of 30 March 2019 and the deadline to apply is 30 June 2021. EU citizens who have arrived in the UK by 29 March 2019 but have not yet satisfied the 5 year residence requirement will be granted a ‘grace period’ after the UK’s exit from the EU during which time they may apply for continued residence in the UK on a temporary basis until they accrue 5 years of continuous residence in the UK and consequently qualify to apply for settled status.
How do I make the application?
Generally, you need to make the application online. You can make the application using any device including your phone. In order to scan your identity documents, you will require an Android phone, a tablet or a computer. If you have access to any of those devices, you can simply submit your application to the Home Office by post, using the postal address provide on the application form.
What do I need to apply for settled status?
In support of your application, you will need to provide the following documents:
- Proof of your identity such as a valid passport or ID document. Providing identification document is a very strict requirement and failure to provide a passport or ID will result in your application being rejected as invalid. You must also note that if you are applying as a non-EEA citizen (for example, if you are a family member of an EEA citizen) the only valid form of ID is a valid passport and that ID Cards issued by non-EEA states are not accepted by the Home Office;
- Proof of your residence in the UK for a continuous period of 5 years, unless you have a valid permanent residence document, or valid indefinite leave to remain in or enter the UK;
- Proof of subsisting relationship with an EEA citizen if you are applying for settled status as a family member of an EEA national.
Proof of continuous residence in the UK
- You will need to demonstrate that you have lived in the UK for at least 6 months in any 12 month period over a total of 5 years to be eligible for settled status. The Home Office can also run an automatic check on your tax and benefit records when you provide your NI number. If you are unable to provide evidence of tax or benefit records, you can seek legal advice on how to meet this requirement.
- If this check returns successful, you will not be required to provide any documents as proof of residence in the UK. You will only need to send documents if there is not enough information to confirm you have been living in the UK for a consecutive 5 year period.
- The Home Office will inform you straight after you apply if you need to provide any documents. You will be able to submit photos or scans of your documents through the online application form.
- You only need to provide one piece of evidence for each period that the Home Office ask you about.
What if I have a criminal record?
As part of the application, you will be asked about your criminal history in the UK and abroad. Depending on your conviction and the severity, you may still qualify for settled status. If you have served a prison sentence, you are required to demonstrate 5 years’ continuous residence from the day of release from prison. For the purposes of counting continuous residence in the UK, time spent in prison in the UK does not count.
How do I apply if I am a family member of an EEA national from outside the EU?
As a family member of an EEA national, who is not an EEA national themselves, you will need to provide proof of your relationship to your EU citizen family member. By way of example, birth certificate, marriage certificate or civil partnership certificate will be the starting place. You should note, however, that providing a marriage certificate is not conclusive proof of your relationship to an EEA citizen and that the Home Office expects in most cases to see evidence of subsisting relationship. This means that if you are married to an EU citizen, in addition to providing the marriage certificate it will also be advisable to provide evidence of co-habitation for 3 – 6 months. You will be able to scan and submit this through the online application form.
You will also need to provide evidence of your family member’s identity and residence in the UK. If you already have a valid permanent residence document you will not need to provide evidence of relationship or evidence of your family member’s identity and residence. Usually, you will need to provide your fingerprints and a photo of your face at an application centre in the UK unless you already have a biometric residence card.
How much is the fee?
As things stand the fee is set to be £65 if you are over the age of 16 and £32.50 if you are under 16. In some instances the fee is exempt. If you have Permanent Residence or ILR, you are not required to pay a fee.
What happens after I have submitted my application?
If your application is successful, you will be given either settled or pre-settled status. There is more information on the UK Government website on what each category entails. You will be able to get proof of your status through an online service. Please be aware that you will not get a physical document unless you are from outside the EU and you do not already have a Biometric Residence card.
What if my application is refused?
Should your application not be successful for any reason, you may be to apply for an administrative review of the decision.
You may be able to appeal the decision if you apply after 29 March 2019. This is still subject to approval by Parliament.
When you apply under the EU Settlement Scheme any other immigration application you have with the Home Office will not be considered. You will get a refund for your outstanding application. You will not get a refund if you withdraw your application.
By Henry Lau
Henry is an experienced lawyer who specializes in the fields of Business & Corporate Immigration, Public and Employment law. He has an excellent track record of successfully representing entrepreneurs, investors and private individuals in immigration, public, and employment law, consequent to which he is regarded as an authoritative voice in the legal industry.