Applying for EU Settled Status: 'Voluntary Test Phase'
EU Citizens, and their family members, may now apply for EU Settled Status through the new application system for post-Brexit residence rights.
‘Settled Status’ or ‘Pre-Settled Status’ is the new system of immigration rights being brought into force to replace the current system of ‘Free Movement’ under EU Law. The aim of the application system is to allow EU Citizens to continue to reside in the UK post-Brexit as long as they continue to meet the legal requirements for residence that apply (until 30 March 2019) under EU Law.
In short, an EU Citizen can ordinarily remain in the UK as long as they remain economically active – as a worker, student, job-seeker or self-sufficient person. If that condition is met, then direct family members also usually obtain the same rights of residence. After 5 years residence in this way, the right to remain in the UK becomes permanent.
The current EU Law framework does not require EU Citizens to make any kind of application to confirm their residence rights, as those rights operate automatically. Post-Brexit, the most significant change to our immigration system will be the requirement for all EU Citizens, and their UK-resident family members, to apply for Settled Status or Pre-Settled Status so that the Government can confirm their status and keep a record.
The new application system will be fully open for all applicants by 30 March 2019, but as of 21 January 2019 the Government have launched a ‘voluntary test phase’. The system is not yet perfected, but it has been substantially simplified in comparison to the existing EU residence card application system.
There is no requirement to apply just yet, but the Government will be requiring EU Citizens to submit an application between 30 March 2019 – 30 June 2021. Failure to do this by the deadline could result in residence rights being lost.
For those wishing to apply during this voluntary test phase, each applicant must first upload details of their passport / ID through the new Home Office app that is currently available only via the Google Play Store on Android Devices. If you do not have an Android Device, you can contact your local Council to see if they offer the ID upload service for EU Settled Status. Once that ID is scanned and verified, the application form may be accessed online via Gov.UK, using the reference number on your ID document to access your specific application. I
The application currently costs £65 per application, but the Prime Minister has confirmed that this fee will be scrapped in time for the full launch, so any fees paid during the test phase will later be refunded.
Some applicants, particularly those who have been in full-time employment for at least 5 years, may find that they do not need provide many documents with their application. If the Home Office does require your documents, they will let you know what they want from you. It is important to provide the correct information and documents to ensure that your application is approved before the deadline of 30 June 2021.
Our team of Immigration Advisers have extensive experience of advising EU Citizens and their family members on all aspects of EU Law residence rights, and we are available to assist with EU Settled Status accordingly. Please do contact a member of our team if you need any assistance.