Three 'simple' steps to settled
status for EU citizens
after Brexit

The government confirmed yesterday in a ‘statement of intent’ that EU citizens living in the UK and their family members will need to apply under a settlement scheme for their new UK immigration status after Britain leaves Europe.

Immigration Minister Caroline Nokes announced the three key steps: proof of identity, evidence of residency in the UK and a declaration of no serious criminal convictions.

She also stated the application fee would be roughly the same as the price of a passport. That is, £65 for adults and half that (£32.50) for a child under 16.

It is estimated that at least three million people will need to register. Those who already have proof of permanent residence or indefinite leave to remain will be able to exchange that documentation for official settled status, free of charge.

Those who have been here for less than five years will be granted ‘pre-settled’ status and will be able to apply for full settled status once they reach the five-year point. From April 2019, this second application will be free of charge.

The Home Office statement hopes that for many people, the process should be relatively simple and they make it clear that every every effort will be made to assist those who need to complete the registration. The statement reads:

‘We will work with applicants to help them avoid any errors or omissions, and we will work with longer-term residents without official documentation to establish their eligibility under the scheme from the material they have. For those who wish to complete the application entirely online, we will also have an optional app which will allow EU citizens to verify their identity.

‘Throughout, we will be looking to grant, not for reasons to refuse, and caseworkers will be able to exercise discretion in favour of applicants where appropriate, to minimise administrative burdens.’

The Immigration Minister continued:

‘EU citizens make a huge contribution to our economy and to our society. They are our friends, family and colleagues and we want them to stay.

This is an important step which will make it easy for EU citizens to get the status they need to continue working and living here.

We are demonstrating real progress and I look forward to hearing more detail on how the EU will make reciprocal arrangements for UK nationals living in the EU.’

The new online application system will be available on mobile phones and other devices, but there will be the option for those who do not have access to a computer. The scheme will be phased in from later this year, and will start fully by the end of March next year, with the deadline for applications on 30 June 2021.

You can read the full EU Settlement Scheme statement of intent here.

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