The EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS) enables EU, other EEA and Swiss citizens resident in the UK by the end of the transition period on 31 December 2020, and their family members, to obtain the status they require in order to live and work in the UK after 30 June 2021.
The scheme opened to the public on 30 March 2019. The deadline for most people to apply to the EUSS was 30 June 2021, but eligible applicants may still be able to apply if they have a later deadline to do so or they have ‘reasonable grounds’ for missing the deadline.
- According to the latest published statistics, up to 30 September 2022, there have been nearly 6.9 million applications and more than 6 million grants of status.
- More than 460,000 vulnerable individuals have been supported to apply to the scheme by our network of now 60 grant funded organisations across the UK, and this includes victims of human trafficking or domestic abuse.
EUSS IMA judicial review
- The Independent Monitoring Authority (IMA) challenged the requirement for those with pre-settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS) to make a further application for settled status before the expiry of their pre-settled status. They did so on the basis that the requirement is incompatible with the Withdrawal Agreement and that the right of permanent residence under the Withdrawal Agreement is acquired automatically as soon as the criteria for it are met.
- A judgment upholding that challenge was handed down on Wednesday 21 December, and the Home Office intends to appeal it.
- The judgment does not alter the need for the EUSS, which has provided clear status and certainty to millions of resident EU citizens and their family members.
- EUSS pre-settled and settled status holders should continue to use their eVisa to demonstrate their rights to work and access benefits and services in the UK.
- EUSS pre-settled status holders should continue to apply for settled status as soon as they are eligible – the judgment itself acknowledges the value to the person of doing so and thereby obtaining evidence of that status. Further details are available at gov.uk/eusettlementscheme.
Making an application and EUSS status
How do eligible individuals make a late application?
Eligible applicants may still be able to apply if they have a later deadline to do so or they have ‘reasonable grounds’ for missing the deadline. Applications can be made here: www.gov.uk/eusettlementscheme
What status will successful applicants get?
- Successful applicants will be given either settled status, usually where they have lived in the UK for a continuous five-year period (known as ‘continuous residence’), or pre-settled status.
- Applicants are not asked what they are applying for – the status granted is dependent on how long the applicant has been living in the UK when they apply. Those with at least five years’ continuous residence when they apply are eligible for settled status.
- Those granted pre-settled status can make a repeat application to switch from pre-settled to settled status as soon as they have reached five years’ continuous residence.
- Further details of what successful applicants get is available at gov.uk/settled-status-eu-citizens-families/what-settled-and-presettled-status-means
Why do people have to apply to switch their pre-settled status to settled status?
- We take our citizens’ rights obligations very seriously and have implemented the arrangements we agreed under the Withdrawal Agreement in good faith.
- It has been the UK Government’s long-standing position that people with pre-settled status will have to apply for settled status before their pre-settled status expires to stay in the UK. This is consistent with how the rest of the UK immigration system works.
- The first grants of pre-settled status do not expire until August 2023. Up to 30 September 2022, 437,770 people had moved from pre-settled to settled status.
- As soon as EU citizens and their family members have five years’ continuous residence, they can apply for settled status, which gives them leave on an indefinite basis.
Are you introducing physical proof of status?
- There is no change to our digital approach. Physical documents can get lost, stolen, damaged and tampered with.
- The EU Settlement Scheme provides people with a secure, digital status which they can rely on to evidence their rights.
Why would people be refused?
- Suitability refusals will be made where there is evidence of serious or persistent criminality. This involves considering whether a person represents a genuine, present and sufficiently serious threat affecting one of the fundamental interests of society, where their conduct before the end of the transition period is concerned.
- Eligibility refusals will be made where someone does not meet the criteria for the scheme. For instance, they are not an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen or the family member of one or they have not provided evidence that they were resident in the UK by the end of the transition period.
- Evidence of residence can be as little as a utility bill, bank statements, or a letter from a GP or charity.
- The vast majority of refusals are for eligibility rather than suitability.
- Refusals are always a last resort as caseworkers are trained to look for reasons to grant status.
- In cases where an applicant is refused, the Home Office will write to them to explain what steps they can take.
- If an individual disagrees with the decision to refuse their application, they can ask for an administrative review of the decision.
- Anyone who applied after 11pm on 31 January 2020 will also have a right of appeal.
- For those who have applied, their rights are protected pending the outcome of their application, including any appeal.
- Published statistics show the latest refusals.
Temporary protected rights
- Eligible EU, EEA and Swiss citizens and their family members who make a valid late EUSS application will have their rights in the UK temporarily protected until they receive the outcome of their EUSS application, including any administrative review or appeal.
- More information can be found at: www.gov.uk/government/news/temporary-protection-for-more-applicants-to-the-settlement-scheme
What is the status of those who have made a valid application but not yet received a decision?
- If someone has made a valid application to the EU Settlement Scheme, but has not had a decision yet, their rights are protected until their application is decided. That is the law.
- It usually takes around five working days for complete applications to be processed if no further information is required. Even if it takes longer a person’s rights are protected until the outcome of the application, including any appeal against refusal.
- More information can be seen here: gov.uk/government/publications/eu-settlement-scheme-application-processing-times/eu-settlement-scheme-pilot-current-expected-processing-times-for-applications
Evidencing status in the UK
- EUSS status holders will have created an eVisa when they applied to the EUSS. They need to use their eVisa credentials to sign into the online ‘View and Prove’ service available at gov.uk/view-prove-immigration-status where they can access their immigration status (eVisa) and use it to evidence their rights in the UK.
- Further information about how individuals evidence their immigration status in the UK is available at gov.uk/government/publications/view-and-prove-your-immigration-status-evisa.
How can someone evidence that they have an application pending?
- People who have submitted a valid EUSS application receive a Certificate of Application which they can use to prove their rights pending the outcome of their application. If an individual has been notified that they have a digital Certificate of Application, they are able to use the View and Prove service to prove their rights: gov.uk/view-prove-immigration-status
How do you know employers and landlords won’t discriminate against people with pending applications?
- Employers and landlords who discriminate against those with a pending application are breaking the law and we would urge them to familiarise themselves with published guidance and the statutory codes of practice available on GOV.UK at:
- Since 2019, GOV.UK and other communication channels have carried clear and consistent messaging that checks must be completed in a non-discriminatory manner and have included information on changes to the checking process for EEA citizens specifically.
- The Home Office has delivered an extensive, wide-reaching campaign targeting UK employers with information on their obligations and responsibilities concerning right to work checks. We have also communicated with landlords and their representative groups in England about right to rent checks.
- As of 31 August 2022, we have delivered over 600 events reaching over 42,000 stakeholders, including employers, landlords, financial institutions, educational establishments, local authorities, foreign administrations, and citizens, about the EU Settlement Scheme, the points-based immigration system and wider Future Border and Immigration System developments.
- Further guidance for employers on right to work and landlords on right to rent can be found on GOV.UK. Where necessary, employers and landlords may also contact the Home Office checking services to verify an individual’s right to work or right to rent.
How will people who have status through the EUSS be able to evidence this in the future?
- From 1 July 2021, EU, EEA and Swiss citizens granted status under the EU Settlement Scheme have evidenced their rights in the UK with their digital immigration status (eVisa).
- A person who has applied to the EU Settlement Scheme will have created an eVisa. A person can use their UKVI account credentials to log into the online View and Prove service.
- If an individual has been notified that they have a digital certificate of application, they are able to use the View and Prove service to prove their rights gov.uk/view-prove-immigration-status.
- It is important that a person’s personal details on their UKVI account are kept up to date. Details can be updated through the ‘update your UK Visas and Immigration account details’ service or by using the ‘update details’ function in the View and Prove service.
- Individuals granted an eVisa under the points-based immigration system, together with Hong Kong BN(O)s, also have a digital only status. This will be rolled out to more visa types over the next three years.
How does somebody with status under the EUSS enter the UK if they do not have physical documentation to show they have applied?
- Individuals who have been granted digital status under the EUSS are not required to provide evidence of this to enter the UK. Provided that the individual travels using a document that they either used in applying to the EUSS or have added to their eVisa using the ‘Update my Documents’ feature, their status will be automatically recognised at the border.
- Where an individual travels using a document that is not known to the Home Office, they may be asked further questions or further manual systems checks may be conducted at the desk in order to verify their status.
Children born in the UK to at least one parent with settled status will be British automatically. Children born in the UK on or after 1 July 2021 to a parent with EUSS status may still be British automatically even if their parent did not have settled status at the time of the child’s birth. This may be the case where:
The parent had applied for settled status by 30 June 2021 but was granted this after the birth; or
The parent applied for settled status after 30 June 2021, had reasonable grounds for submitting a late application, and would have been granted settled status had they applied by 30 June 2021.
More information about this and other circumstances in which a child is a British citizen automatically can be found at www.gov.uk/check-british-citizenship.
Any child who is not a British citizen and is born to parents with EUSS status in the UK will need their parents to obtain status for them under the EUSS, within three months of their birth, or later, where there are reasonable grounds for the delay in making the application. Applications should be made here: www.gov.uk/settled-status-eu-citizens-families/applying-for-settled-status.
Applying on behalf of children
An application must be made for every eligible child within a family. Parents should check if they need to make a late application on behalf of their children, even if they have already applied to the EUSS and been granted a status themselves. More information can be found at www.gov.uk/settled-status-eu-citizens-families/apply-settled-status-for-child.
Those eligible who have not applied
What will happen to those who are eligible, who have not applied?
- Although the deadline for the scheme was 30 June 2021 for those resident in the UK by 31 December 2020, late applications continue to be accepted where there are reasonable grounds for the applicant missing that deadline.
- We have published non-exhaustive guidance on reasonable grounds for making a late EUSS application, and are taking a pragmatic and flexible approach to considering these.
- Further details on how a late application can be made are available on GOV.UK
Will somebody who has not applied be removed from the UK?
- Where Immigration Enforcement encounter a person without status under the EU Settlement Scheme who appears to be eligible for it, they will be provided with a written notice giving them an opportunity to apply to the scheme, normally within 28 days.
- The 28-day notice is not a notice that the individual is liable to be removed from the UK.
- We will give a person every chance to apply to the EUSS. In line with the general approach under the EU Settlement Scheme, we will continue to look to grant status, rather than look for reasons to refuse.
Will somebody who has not applied have access to benefits?
- Non-British or Irish citizens require a valid immigration status, which will be checked by the department paying benefits.
- The Home Office has worked extensively with DWP and HMRC to ensure that EU, EEA and Swiss benefit claimants who were receiving benefits before the 30 June 20021 deadline received postal and (where appropriate) digital notification of the need to apply to the EUSS to secure their ongoing rights to benefits.
Can people who have not applied to the EUSS and do not hold any other form of immigration status work in the UK?
- EU, EEA and Swiss citizens and their family members who are in the UK and do not hold either EUSS status or another form of permission to stay will be in the UK without lawful status. Therefore, they will not be able to pass a right to work check.
- We have guidance for employers which sets out what they should do if they identify someone in their workforce who did not apply by the 30 June 2021 deadline. We have in place a process to ensure that employers do not have to cease the employment of an individual without status who has been working for them since before 1 July 2021.
- Retrospective right to work checks are not required for existing EEA citizen employees who used their passport or national identity card to demonstrate their right to work before 1 July 2021
Will somebody who did not apply by 30 June 2021 or applies late lose guaranteed access to healthcare and NHS services?
- The Department of Health and Social Care has set out that where a late application to the EUSS has been made (evidenced by a Certificate of Application), the individual will be non-chargeable for NHS healthcare from the date of that application until its final outcome.
- Urgent and necessary treatment is never withheld regardless of immigration status.
What support is available for those who need to apply to switch from pre-settled to settled status, use their status, or make a late application?
- A wide range of support remains available to those who are eligible and need help to make a late application to the scheme, switch from pre-settled to settled status, or demonstrate their status.
This includes the Settlement Resolution Centre telephone helpline, whose staff can provide assistance to applicants with any questions about the scheme or who need help applying. Full contact details for the Settlement Resolution Centre can be found at www.gov.uk/eusettlementscheme.
- Additional support is available to those who do not have the appropriate access, skills or confidence to apply online through the Home Office’s Assisted Digital status. Full details of Assisted Digital can be found at www.gov.uk/eusettlementscheme.
- Since 2019 the Home Office has provided grant funding totalling over £29 million to a network of organisations across the UK to support vulnerable citizens applying to the EUSS, including making a repeat application to switch from pre-settled to settled status. There are currently 60 grant funded organisations.
- Grant funding has already supported more than 460,000 vulnerable citizens in applying to the EUSS. The network of grant funded organisations and their delivery partners are part of the wider support available to applicants through charities, community groups and local authorities across the UK. The list of current grant funded organisations is available at www.gov.uk/government/publications/eu-settlement-scheme-community-support-for-vulnerable-citizens/list-of-organisations
What support is available for people with a digital-only status to demonstrate that?
- The Settlement Resolution Centre provides telephone and email support to all account holders using the online immigration status services.
- This includes: supporting users through the online journey;
- helping them to access or recover their account;
- helping them to update their personal details; and
- sharing status on behalf of account holders if they are unable to do so themselves.
- The Settlement Resolution Centre will also be able to assist users who are experiencing technical issues with their online immigration status, and where necessary, enable account holders’ status to be verified through alternative means.