- Having 'settled status' enables the holder to claim benefits including Housing Benefit.
- The "EU Settlement Scheme" enables some EU nationals*, (and certain non EU national family members of EU nationals*) who are living in the UK to get a new immigration status - "settled status under UK immigration law".
- Applications for 'settled status have been open online since 21st January 2019 for anyone who has a valid biometric passport (using an app on an Android phone then an online claim form).
- Offline claims / claims from those without a biometric passport are available from 30th March 2019.
- Up to 30th March 2019 there is a charge (£65 per adult) - however this will be automatically refunded on or after 30th March 2019.
- The deadline to apply is 30th June 2021, or if it's a "no deal" Brexit - then 31st December 2020.
*We understand that 'resident citizens of Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland and their family members will also be able to apply to the Scheme'.
What rights to benefits does Settled Status give to an EEA national / their family member?
The EU Settlement Scheme "Statement of Intent
" from June 2018 states that the rights of someone with settled status will allow them the same rights to benefits as a British Citizen. Note that 'settled status' is also called "indefinite leave to remain" in the documents.
Who can apply for Settled Status?
- EU nationals with permanent residence status (in which case they will not need to prove anything else- it will be automatic).
- EU nationals and certain family members who have been continuously resident in the UK for 5 years, without any absence of more than 6 months in a 12 month period (some longer periods allowed in certain circumstances). Follow the link for the definition of continuous residence.
- EU nationals who have been continuously resident for less than 5 years in specific circumstances.
- EU Nationals and certain family members who have not been in the UK for 5 years are able to apply for "pre-settled status" to build up to the 5 years needed to apply for 'settled status'.
Note that non
EU nationals whose only
right to reside is a derivative right (eg through being the primary carer of a child in education
) will not be able to apply for 'settled status' under the EU Settlement Scheme. However the Statement of Intent
said that they would be able to continue to claim benefits 'under the same rules as now' and there may be further announcements.
More information on how to apply is available on this page (second section).
What will applicants need to prove?
ID & Nationality
They will need to provide proof of identity and nationality either by post or by uploading a biometric passport or biometric national identity card (or for non EU national family members a biometric residence card / permit) digitally via a smartphone app. Alternative evidence may be accepted where they are unable to produce a document “due to circumstances beyond their control or to compelling practical or compassionate reasons”.
Residence in the UK
Unless they already have proof of permanent residence status
they will need to provide evidence to the Home Office that they have 5 years' continuous residence in the UK.
Alternatively they can upload documentary evidence of their residence - list of acceptable documents in Appendix A of the Statement of Intent
Permanent Residence document already in place?
If an applicant has this they will be able to exchange it free of charge, “subject only to criminality and security checks
”. The Home Office will also need to confirm that their permanent residence status
has not lapsed, or if it has lapsed it is not through an absence of more than 5 consecutive years (or where they have"indefinite leave to remain" status, 2 years.) The applicant will "self-declare" this and the Home Office will consider whether this is true on the basis of balance of probabilities.
They will need to provide a photo of their face, either - if they have a Biometric Residence card - by uploading a passport-style photograph digitally (but not the same photo as in their passport); or by going to an "application centre" (could include Post Offices?) to enrol their fingerprints and have their photograph taken.
Criminality and Security
All applicants will be subject to criminality and security checks - minor offences, such as parking fines, will not be grounds for refusal, although applicants are advised to declare all offences, however minor.
Evidence of settled status once granted
Successful EU nationals will have evidence of their status “in digital form”, ie they will not be given a paper document. Also, any non EU national family member of an EU national who is given settled status will also be issued with a Biometric Residence Document if they don't already have one.
What if settled status is refused?
If an application is incomplete, or if it is refused and the application was submitted before 30th March 2019, a Home Office caseworker will contact the applicant to give them a reasonable opportunity to rectify it, eg by supplying additional evidence. This is called an administrative review.
However if it is refused on “suitability grounds” (eg criminality), they would have to use judicial review - a lengthy and expensive process
Applications made after 30 March 2019, if refused, will instead have a statutory right of appeal before an independent judge who will decide whether they should have been granted status. Article 18(1)(r) of the draft Brexit withdrawal agreement.