Your guide to Settled Status
Brexit is undoubtedly an uncertain and confusing time for European citizens living in London. To make sure we’re supporting Londoners at this difficult time, we’re sharing guidance and information on what you and your family members need to do to continue living in the capital post Brexit. You can check your eligibility for the EU Settlement Scheme in minutes by answering a few simple questions on our online checker.
If you or someone you know is looking for more information, we’re offering free legal advice at pop up events across London throughout the winter. Go here to find one near you.
1. What you need to know about the EU Settlement Scheme
During the application process you will be asked to confirm your identity, give evidence of the length of your stay in the UK and be asked to declare any convictions that appear in your criminal record. Here’s a breakdown of how it works.
If you are a citizen of any of the below countries, you and any non-EU family members can apply for the new EU Settlement Scheme:
Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Republic of Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden or Switzerland.
If you’re not from the UK but have lived in the UK for five years or more, you can apply for Settled Status through the EU Settlement Scheme. You’ll need to not have left the UK for more than six months in any calendar year during that five-year period, although longer absences are permitted under some special circumstances. If you’ve lived in the UK for less than five years by the end of December 2020, you’ll be able to apply for pre-Settled Status through the EU Settlement Scheme.
You’ll be asked to declare any convictions that appear in your criminal record in the UK and overseas, or that of any 18 to 21-year-olds you are submitting an application for. If you’ve only been arrested or convicted of a minor offence, you will still be eligible to apply for Settled or pre-Settled Status. Offences and convictions will be assessed on a case-by-case basis. You may want to get independent legal advice before applying for the EU Settlement Scheme, especially if you’ve had more than one conviction or a custodial sentence of 12 months or more. You can find immigration advice services on the EU Londoners Hub.
If you hold a valid Permanent Residence (PR) document or have Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR), you may also be able to apply for British Citizenship. You can also do this once you have been granted Settled Status. However, not all countries allow their citizens to hold a passport of another nation, so you may have to give up your current nationality. In this case, you should check with your embassy if you can keep the passport of your country of birth and under what conditions.
2. Proving your residency
There are a few different documents you’ll need to supply when proving your residency in the UK, as part of your application under the EU Settlement Scheme. Here’s a list of the documents you can use:
- A valid passport - this will verify your identity and eligibility under the Scheme.
- A biometric national identity card
If you don’t have a valid passport you can use a biometric document. A biometric document contains a chip (like a bank card has a chip) that holds information on you. Here are some examples:
✔️ Valid national ID card (for EU citizens)
✔️ Valid Biometric UK Residence Permit (for Non-EU citizens)
✔️ Valid Biometric UK Residence Card issued under the EEA Regulations
If you do not have any of these you may be able to use other evidence in certain situations. Contact the EU Settlement Resolution Centre if you do not have an identity document.
- National Insurance number
If you have paid tax through work or received benefits, the government can use your National Insurance number to check that you have been living in the UK. The Home Office will not check any data beyond an 'ongoing relationship with HMRC’.
If there is not enough information about you held on national databases, you will be asked for further evidence to prove your continuous residence. Please note that the Home Office system’s HMRC checks only go back 7 years. Further evidence could include any of the below:
✔️ P60s or P45s
✔️ bank statements
✔️ utility bills, Council Tax bills, phone bills with your name and address on them
✔️ employer contracts or letters confirming employment
✔️ passport stamps confirming entry at the UK border
✔️ letters from care centres, GPs, or hospitals, as well as medical appointments
Here is a useful checklist of documents and information that you can use to help support your preparation to apply.
Make sure all the documents you submit as evidence are dated and have your name on them. The documents need date ranges, for example, if you are using a university letter it will need the dates that you were at that institution.
You can upload a maximum of 10 documents to show evidence of UK residence, so it is a good idea to use documents that cover longer periods of time. These documents must be less than 6MB in size. These could be annual bank statements, council tax bills or university letters and certificates, and will mean you won’t need to collect and submit as many documents.
- You will not need to provide evidence of your entire residence in the UK, only for the period that proves you are eligible for Settled (over 5 years) or pre-Settled Status (under 5 years).
- If you do not hold EU citizenship, or citizenship from any of the other three EEA countries (Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway) or Switzerland, you will need to provide evidence of your relationship to a family member from the EU, EEA, or Switzerland living in the UK, and evidence of your family member’s identity and residence if they have not yet obtained Settled Status themselves.
- If you are not able to provide any further information or proof of residence, the Home Office has stated it will engage with you to help determine your residence in the UK. You can call their EU Settlement Scheme Resolution Centre on 0300-123 7379 or find more ways to get in touch with them here. You can also find a list of independent immigration advisors on the EU Londoners Hub.
3. ID Checks
The EU Settlement Scheme involves an identity check as part of the application. The easiest and quickest way to complete the identity section of your application is using the EU Exit: ID document check app, which is now available on both Apple iPhone 8, 8 Plus or newer models and Android 6.0 and above.
How does it work?
You will be able to scan your passport (it can read the chip with biometric data) to complete the identity check for your application. Once you’ve verified your identity, you can complete the rest of the application either on that device or any smartphone, laptop or computer.
What if I can’t access the app?
If you can’t access the app to scan your passport, or it doesn’t work, there are ID document-scanning services available at 22 centres across London. Click here to find one near you. Some councils offer the service free of charge for residents within the borough and charge for others, normally around £14. You will need to contact your local council, or check the council website, to see if they are offering this service.
You also might have a friend or family member who has the correct iPhone or Android device to complete the check, so remember to ask people you know for their help.
For people who are unable to access online services, or find this difficult, an assisted Digital service will be offered. Assisted digital support can include telephone support, face-to-face support at selected libraries, or at home for anyone unable to access either of these services.
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