The government’s response to the Home Affairs Select Committee’s report on the delivery of Brexit, published in May 2018, committed to providing further details about the proposed EU Settlement Scheme in the next few weeks. The scheme is the new settled status scheme for EU nationals who are resident in the UK before 31 December 2020. The government has now published a Statement of Intent setting out those further details.
EU nationals who are resident in the UK by 31 December 2020 will be able to apply for settled status once they have continuously resided in the UK for five years. Those EU nationals who have not yet resided in the UK for five years will be able to apply for pre-settled status and they will then be eligible to apply for settled status when they reach the five-year point. There will be three steps to making an application for settled status:
- Prove identity
- Show continuous residence in the UK for five years
- Declare no serious past criminal convictions.
The government will check the employment and benefit records that it holds, meaning that, for many applicants, proof of continuous residence will be automatic. Where automatic checks do not indicate that the EU national has been continuously resident for five years, they will still be able to upload documentary evidence of their continuous residence.
The scheme’s application fee will be £65 for adults and £32.50 for children under the age of 16. EU nationals who already have valid permanent residence or indefinite leave to remain will be able to exchange that for settled status for free. It will also be free to move from pre-settled to settled status. Evidence of settled status will be provided in digital form.
The online application system will be rolled out on a phased basis from late 2018 and will be fully open by 30 March 2019. The deadline for applications by EU nationals will be 30 June 2021.