With Brexit looming over our heads EU Citizens are rushing to sign up to the new EU Settlement Scheme before the 31 October 2019.
The EU Settlement Scheme opened on Saturday 30 March 2019 and promised to provide a quick and easy solution for EEA Nationals who were already resident in the UK or wishing to enter the UK to settle.
Two routes to settlement are currently on offer, pre-settled status and settled status. If an applicant has been in the UK for 5 years or more, they can apply for settled status or if they have been in the UK for less than 5 years they can apply for pre-settled status.
The two categories are open and applicants from the EEA which include the EU countries and also Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway can apply now. The current deadline for applying is up until 30 June 2021.
In the event the UK leaves the EU without a deal an EEA national needs to apply before the deadline of 31 December 2020.
Unlike the previous route to settlement, an EEA national no longer needs to evidence that they were a ‘qualified person’ as an employee, self-employed, student or self-sufficient, throughout their 5 years residence in the UK. They simply need to evidence that they have lived in the UK for at least 5 years if applying for settled status.
The Home Office apparently state they have simplified the new process and all that an applicant needs to do is fill out a free online application form and provide his or her passport or proof of ID.
Despite the Home Office’s claim, the process is not that easy. EEA nationals and their family members have found that they needed to submit further evidence to confirm their residency in the UK.
A recent advert for the EU settlement scheme, which aired on 13 April 2019, was recently banned by The Advertising Standards Authority. The suggestion of ease and convenience the Home Office alluded to in fact was misleading. Home Office officials have been rebuked by the advertising watchdog for a misleading radio advert that promoted its registration scheme for EU citizens seeking permanent residency in the UK after Brexit.
A Home Office spokesman was adamant that the decision to ban the broadcast was incorrect. The question now is where does this uncertainty leave EEA nationals and their family members?
The answer comes down to evidence and preparation. Here are our top tips for a successful application process:
- Evidence of residency spanning over 5 years or under 5 years is important;
- If in doubt see a trusted legal representative who can assist you;
- If your immigration history is not clear, a thorough explanation is needed to clarify your position;
- Keep records of any personal information on your time spent in the UK.