Applying to the EU Settlement Scheme after the deadline – is there room for late applicants?
It is known by now that the deadline for EU, EEA and Swiss citizens residing in the UK to apply for pre-settled or settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme is the 30th June 2021.
So, what happens to those who have missed the deadline?
On the 1st April 2021 the Home Office provided us with guidance clarifying such a question along with many others one might have in these uncertain times.
The Home Secretary, Priti Patel, has stated that there will in fact be room for people to apply after the deadline, however, they must have a reasonable ground for their late application. This guidance is relevant to those who do not upgrade their pre-settled status to settled before expiry of their status. It will also apply to family members joining an EU national sponsor through the family permit route.
A non-exhaustive list of reasonable grounds provided by the Home Office includes:
- Where a child’s parent or guardian did not take the steps to apply for that child. The reasons why the adult failed to make the application will not be relevant.
- Where the individual lacks the physical or mental ability to make the application. Evidence will need to be provided to support such a claim.
- Where the individual has a serious medical issue or major medical treatment.
- Where that person was a victim of modern slavery and in turn was prevented from applying. A reasonable grounds decision by the National Referral Mechanism will be necessary.
- Other compelling practical or compassionate reasons.
It is important to note that application under the EU Settlement Scheme before the deadline is essential and the Home Office will only allow for late applications so long as there is reasonable ground (as mentioned above) for doing so. It is uncertain for how long such flexibility will be given to late applicants as the Home Office only states that leeway will be provided for an initial period after the deadline.
Upgrading your pre-settled status
Despite the Settlement Scheme deadline, there is the intention to keep the scheme open indefinitely to allow for those with pre-settled status to apply for settled status under the scheme. It is crucial that one upgrades their pre-settled status before its date of expiry.
Do you currently hold an EU residence document?
EU residence documents such as permanent residence cards, UK residence cards, and derivative residence cards will no longer be valid after 30 June. These have been replaced by pre-settled and settled status. Anyone who currently has an old EU residence document will need to either apply for pre-settled or settled status before 30 June, otherwise you risk living in the UK unlawfully.
If you have a permanent residence card, one can simply exchange it for full settled status. It is now a little too late to apply for British Citizenship through a permanent residence card as decisions can take upwards of 6 months and the deadline for upgrading your EU residence document is the end of June. Holders of a residence and derivative residence card can apply for settled status if you have been living in the UK for a minimum of 5 years or if you have been living in the UK for less than 5 years, you can apply for pre-settled status.
You may be able to apply for pre-settled or settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme after the deadline if you have a ‘reasonable ground’ for not doing so prior to the deadline. As mentioned above, we are uncertain for how long the Home Office will be allowing late applications, thus it is crucial you upgrade your status as soon as reasonably possible.
How NA Law Solicitors can help
NA Law provides exceptional services and advice in all areas of immigration law, one of which is applications made under the EU Settlement Scheme. Should you have any queries regarding your visa application, please contact us to discuss your particular circumstances.