The EU Settlement Scheme (“the scheme”) was launched on 30 March 2019. It provides a basis for residents of EU/EEA and Swiss citizens and their family members to apply for remain and enter in the UK, as per agreements under the European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Act 2020. The detailed rules and requirements for EEA citizen and their family members, and the family members of a qualifying British citizen is set out in Immigration Rules Appendix EU.
The required date and the deadline:
An application for indefinite leave to enter or remain or limited leave to enter or remain under the Immigration Rules Appendix EU must be made by the ‘required date’. The ‘required date’ means the deadline to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme as defined in Annex 1 to Appendix EU.
The following dates are important for application under the EU Settlement Scheme:
31 December 2020 – the family members of an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen who was living in the UK by 31 December 2020, can apply for an EU Settlement Scheme family permit. [On 31 December 2020 the transition period ends].
30 June 2021 – the deadline for an EEA citizen and their family members those who lawfully resident in the UK by virtue of the EEA Regulations to the EU Settlement Scheme. [30 June 2021 is the end of the grace period] It should be noted here that “where the applicant has limited leave to enter or remain granted under Appendix EU: the deadline is before the date of expiry of that leave,”. It means where a person has pre-settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme (five years’ limited leave to enter or remain granted under Appendix EU), they can apply for settled status (indefinite leave to enter or remain granted under Appendix EU) as soon as they qualify for this.
However, where the applicant does not have limited leave to enter or remain or indefinite leave to enter or remain granted under Appendix EU, the deadline varies depending on their personal circumstances as set out below:
in the case of a joining family member of a relevant sponsor and that joining family member arrived in the UK on or after 1 April 2021: the deadline is within 3 months of the date they arrived in the UK;
in the case of a specified spouse or civil partner of a Swiss citizen who arrived in the UK on or after 1 April 2021: the deadline is within 3 months of the date on which they arrived in the UK, and before 1 January 2026;
in the case of a joining family member of a relevant sponsor and the joining family member is a child who is born or adopted in the UK on or after 1 April: the deadline is within 3 months of the date on which they were born or adopted in the UK;
in all other cases: the deadline is 30 June 2021.
Who should and can apply:
EEA citizen and their non-EEA citizens family members should apply under the scheme. An EEA citizen is defined in Annex 1 to Appendix EU – as a person who is a national of Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Republic of Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden or Switzerland, and who, is not also a British citizen.
A non-EEA citizen is defined in Annex 1 to Appendix EU as a person who is not an EEA citizen and is not a British citizen.
Family members of EEA citizen:
Family members of an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen, who is eligible to come to the UK join under the EU Settlement Scheme family permit included the followings:
spouse, civil partner or unmarried partner
child or grandchild aged under 21
dependent child or grandchild of any age
dependent parent or grandparent, and dependant relative,
As noted above, to apply under the family member of a relevant EEA citizen must have been resident by 11pm GMT on 31 December 2020. Also, their relationship with the relevant sponsor needs to have begun by 11pm GMT on 31 December 2020, unless they are a child.
Who should not apply:
Certain applicants are not eligible to apply for leave to enter in the UK under the scheme either they are exempt or free from immigration control under the Immigration Act 1971.
Persons exempt from immigration control, i.e., foreign diplomats, consular staff and members of certain international organisations;
British citizen, including a British citizen with dual national and certain current Commonwealth citizens also have the right of abode in the UK.
A person who holds valid indefinite leave to enter or indefinite leave to remain granted under Appendix EU.
However, certain family member of a qualifying British citizen; person with a derivative right to reside or person with a Zambrano right to reside eligible to apply for enter or remain in the UK. You cannot apply under the EU settlement scheme if you arrived in the UK after 31 December 2020 and you are here on (a) a Standard Visitor visa, Permitted Paid Engagement visa, parent of a Child Student visa or Transit visa, and you are in the UK (b) without a visa.
Irish citizens and their family members:
Irish citizen enjoys a right of residence in the UK, so Irish citizens do not need to apply for status under the scheme but they can make an application under the scheme, should they wish to do so. Their family members (who are not Irish citizens or British citizens and who do not have leave to enter or remain in the UK) will need to make an application for status under the EU Settlement Scheme.
Reasonable grounds for failing to meet the deadline:
In certain circumstances, the scope remains open indefinitely, for a person who is eligible to apply for status under the EU Settlement Scheme to make a late application under this scheme by virtue of the Citizens’ Rights (Application Deadline and Temporary Protection) (EU Exit) Regulations 2020. Examples of reasonable grounds for the person’s failure to meet the deadline included the followings:
where an EEA citizen or their family members resident in the UK has limited leave to enter or remain/ pre-settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme – they can apply for settled status as soon as they qualify for this scheme.
children – where a parent, guardian or Local Authority has failed apply under the scheme by the relevant deadline on behalf of a child under the age of 18.
Where a person lacks the physical or mental capacity to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme.
Where a person had a serious medical condition and/or was undergoing significant medical treatment in the months or around the time of the deadline to apply.
Where a person was prevented from applying to the EU Settlement Scheme because they may be a victim of modern slavery or victim of domestic violence or abuse.
Also, a person may have been unaware of the requirement to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme by the relevant deadline or they may have failed to make an application by that deadline because for example they had no internet access.
There is no fee for an application under the EU Settlement Scheme. Also, under this scheme applicant are not required to pay the Immigration Health Charge.
Cancelation and curtailment of leave:
Finally, it should be mentioned her that under Immigration Rules Appendix EU, Annex 3 – the Secretary of State for the Home Department can cancel or curtail a person’s indefinite leave to enter or remain or limited leave to enter or remain granted on or before their arrival in the UK – where the person’s presence in the UK is not conducive to the public good on grounds of public policy and public security; and whether or not his/her knowledge, false or misleading information of documents were submitted.
*Khaled Noor is a Barrister (N/P) and Solicitor. He is the principal solicitor of Blackstones Solicitors specialising immigration, family and property laws.
For specialist advice on the UK Immigration Rules and assistance to apply for entry clearance to enter or leave to remain in the UK please make an appointment.
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