EU Settlement Scheme: EU Citizens’ rights in the UK
All EU Citizens who wish to stay in the UK were supposed to apply for either settled or pre-settled status before 31 June 2021. However, the Home Office still accepting applications if you or a family member were living in the UK by 31 December 2020. You must also either meet one of the criteria for a later deadline to apply or have ‘reasonable grounds‘ for not applying by 30 June 2021.
There are certain groups of people for whom the deadline is not applicable:
- the family member of someone from the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein who was living here by 31 December 2020, and you join them in the UK on or after 1 April 2021;
- applying for your child, who was born or adopted in the UK on or after 1 April 2021;
- the family member of an eligible person of Northern Ireland, but they could not move back to the UK by 31 December 2020 without you — you must be from outside the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein;
- exempt from immigration control, or you stopped being exempt from immigration control after 30 June 2021;
- here with limited leave to enter or remain in the UK (for example, if you’re here on a work or study visa) which expires after 30 June 2021;
- a family member of a British citizen who you lived within the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein — you must have lived with them in that country by 30 December 2020 and returned to the UK with them.
Those who missed the deadline may still apply through EU Settlement Scheme if they meet the eligibility criteria and have ‘reasonable grounds‘ for why you did not apply before the deadline.
The eligibility requirements can be met if you or your family member is from the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein and you/they started living in the UK by 31 December 2020.
Regarding the ‘reasonable grounds‘ for why you did not apply by the deadline, there are not an exhaustive list of reasons which might be considered reasonable. The Home Office provides some examples of what can be considered as reasonable grounds. For example, you have a medical condition that prevented you from applying; you’ve been in an abusive or controlling relationship; you had difficulty accessing support to apply because of coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions; etc.
Whatever reason for use for the explanation, you would be required to provide evidence to support the reason you give for missing the deadline.
If you were successful with your application, you will get either settled status if you lived in the UK for a continuous 5-year period or pre-settled status.
What are your rights if you hold either settled or pre-settled status? You will be able to:
- work in the UK
- use the NHS for free, if you can at the moment
- enrol in education or study in the UK
- access public funds such as benefits and pensions, if you’re eligible for them
- travel in and out of the UK
You can usually apply for citizenship once you’ve had settled status for 12 months.