EU Settlement Scheme: All You Need To Know

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Since the UK officially left the European Union in 2020, EU citizens already living in the UK have needed to register to the EU settlement scheme to secure their status in the country. In our complete guide, we’ll go through what the scheme is and who needs to register on it.

The deadline has passed! The deadline to apply for the EU Settlement Scheme was 30 June 2021 meaning that most EU nationals wanting to remain in the UK should have applied by then. However, there are some provisions in place just in case you missed the deadline for a valid reason.

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What Is the EU Settlement Scheme?

For the estimated 3.4 million EU nationals already living in the UK before the EU referendum, the EU Settlement Scheme was put in place to allow for those who want to stay living in the UK to continue doing so legally. The EU Settlement Scheme is available to EU, Norwegian, Icelandic, Liechtensteiner (EEA members) and Swiss citizens.

If you’re from the EU and looking to come to the UK for the first time to work, you will need to get a UK visa and comply with the points-based system criteria.

What is the EEA? The EEA is the European Economic Area, or sometimes referred to as the Single Market. It is a free-trade area that includes both European Union members and EFTA members (Norway, Iceland, Switzerland, and Liechtenstein). Within the EEA, there is free movement of labour but greater restrictions on residence. The UK left the EEA along with leaving the EU.

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Why Do I Need To Apply?

While the UK was a member of the European Union, it also participated in the freedom of movement under EU citizenship. This meant that EU nationals had the right to move to live and work in the UK freely without restrictions.

However, since the UK has now left, it no longer participates in EU citizenship and so EU nationals wanting to continue living in the UK need to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme.

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Who Can Apply for the EU Settlement Scheme?

In order to be eligible to apply for the EU Settlement Scheme, you need to have been living in the UK before 31 December 2020 - the day the UK before the UK formally left the European Union.

Do I Qualify for the Scheme?

To qualify for the EU Settlement Scheme, you need to be:

  1. Living in the UK before 31 December 2020
  2. An EU Norwegian, Icelandic, Liechtensteiner or Swiss citizen
  3. Be a family member of an EU Norwegian, Icelandic, Liechtensteiner or Swiss citizen

Do I need to apply as an Irish citizen? The UK and Ireland are both members of the Common Travel Area (CTA). This means that UK and Irish citizens are free to live, work, and even vote in each other’s countries without restrictions. If you’re an Irish citizen, you don’t have to apply for the EU Settlement Scheme, but you are free to do so if you wish.

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How Do I Apply for the EU Settlement Scheme?

Applying for the EU Settlement Scheme is a fairly simple process, but it includes a lot of waiting around and time to get everything sorted. It is also important to know that for the majority of EU nationals, the deadline to apply for the scheme has now passed, but you can still apply if you have a reason why.

What Do I Need To Apply?

To apply for the EU Settlement Scheme, you’ll need to have either:

  1. A valid passport from an EU country
  2. A biometric residence card (or permit)

You can still use an expired passport or card if you haven’t had time to get them renewed.

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Where Can I Find the EU Settlement Scheme Login?

To get started, you’ll need to access the EU Settlement Scheme login on the UK government’s website. Once you’ve started, you can come back to your application if you need to.

EU Settlement Scheme Application Process

The EU Settlement Scheme application process can take a good few weeks to get a decision and there are a number of steps you need to take to get your application sorted. Luckily the process is fairly straightforward and you can do it all online:

  1. Step 1: Prove Your Identity
    You will need to prove your identity on your passport or residency card by scanning your document and then taking a digital photo. The UK government has an EU Exit: ID Document Check app that you can download to send the documents. You also have the option to send them in the post.
  2. Step 2: Evidence of Continuous Residency
    You’ll also need to provide evidence of your residency in the UK. You can do this by including documents such as: payslips for 6 months, employment letters, council tax bills, a letter from your school or university.
  3. Step 3: Getting the Decision
    You’ll receive a decision letter if you are successful either via email or the post. If you’re unsuccessful and think that there’s been a mistake, you can get it appealed.

When you receive your decision, you will be given either pre-settled or settled status. After you’ve been successful, you’ll retain both your Right to Work and your Right to Rent.

Frequently Asked Questions About the EU Settlement Scheme

How Long Does the EU Settlement Scheme Take?

The EU Settlement Scheme will usually take 6 to 8 weeks until you get a decision on your application. If you’ve sent in your documents via the post, they will also be returned to you when a decision has been reached.

What If I Think There’s Been a Mistake?

If you think there’s been an error in your application, then you can apply for an administrative review to have another look at your application which can take 28 days. You’ll have to pay a £80 fee for this but if the error is on the part of the government, you will get your money back.

How Long Does the EU Settlement Scheme Last?

If you have settled status, your time in the UK is indefinite and does not expire. You will also be able to apply for UK citizenship after 12 months. If you have pre-settled status, you will have 5 years (from when you started living in the UK, not from when you applied) until you can apply for UK citizenship.

Do I have to reapply for the EU Settlement Scheme?

You don’t have to reapply for the EU Settlement Scheme after you’ve been successful.

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Is There an EU Settlement Scheme Contact?

If you’re having any issues with the EU Settlement Scheme, such as uncertainty over your eligibility or you’ve missed the deadline, you can contact the EU Settlement Resolution Centre to get your questions answered.

You can reach the EU Settlement Resolution Centre either by phone or online. If you want to call, the opening hours are from Monday to Friday 8am-8pm and Saturday to Sunday from 9.30am-4.30pm. If you want to contact the Centre online, you will need to fill in the online form.

EU Settlement Resolution Centre Contact
Method Details
Phone 0300 123 7379
Online Online Form
Postal Address* EU Settlement Scheme
PO Box 2076
Liverpool
L69 3PG

Source: UK Government
*Only for doing your application via the post

What Happens If I Miss the Deadline?

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The deadline for the EU Settlement Scheme was by 30 June 2021. If you didn’t apply for the scheme before then, you will have lost your right to be in the UK and you should contact the EU Settlement Resolution Centre for more information.

If you have missed the deadline, it is not the end of the world. There are excuses that are accepted by the UK government as reasonable grounds for missing the deadline:

  • Reasonable Grounds
  • You’re a child
  • You didn’t realise you had to apply for your children
  • You have a mental or physical condition that prevents you from applying
  • You were a victim of modern slavery
  • You were in a controlling or abusive relationship
  • You didn’t have internet access

You might also be allowed to apply on compassionate grounds depending on your case.

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