Late EU settlement scheme application
What happens to EU citizens that have missed the deadline to apply under the EU settlement scheme?
EU, EEA and Swiss citizens who were resident in the UK on or before 31st December 2020 were required to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS) to regulate their UK immigration status. The deadline to apply to the EUSS was on the 30th June 2021. However, if the deadline has been missed, this does not mean there is no longer any way to apply. The Home Office will continue to accept applications from individuals with ‘reasonable grounds’ for having missed the EUSS cut-off point.
It will now be considered what amounts to a ‘reasonable ground’ and the legal implications for individuals who have missed the deadline.
The EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS) was established to allow EU, EEA, and Swiss citizens who were residents in the UK prior to the end of the transition period, 31 December 2020, and their family members to continue to live and work legally in the UK in the post-Brexit era.
If an EU applicant or a member of their family has lived in the UK for five years in a row before December 31, 2020, they will be granted settled status. Pre-settled status will be granted to those who have lived in the UK for less than five years. If pre-settled status is granted, an applicant will be eligible to ‘upgrade’ to settled status after five years of continuous residence in the UK. To meet the continuous residence requirement, an applicant should not have more than six months of absence in any 12-month period.
A ‘reasonable ground’
The Home Office Guidance contains a non-exhaustive list of instances on what may amount to a ‘reasonable ground’ for when one has missed the deadline.
Some of the reasons that can be relied on are as follows:
- where a parent, guardian or Local Authority failed to apply on behalf of a child
- where a person had a serious medical condition or was undergoing significant medical treatment which meant they were unable to apply by the deadline
- where someone is a victim of modern slavery or is in an abusive or controlling relationship
- where someone lacks physical or mental capacity or has care or support needs
- where a person was unable to apply by the relevant deadline for compelling practical or compassionate reasons
Practical considerations could also include for instance, not having access to the internet. As well as situations where individuals were unaware of the requirement as they have lived in the UK for a long time and did not realise that they were still required to secure the status under EUSS.
Ultimately, the Home Office guidance adopts a ‘flexible and pragmatic approach’ and allows many circumstances to be taken into account. Therefore, if one of these reasonable grounds can be established, the application could still potentially be approved.
So, what should I do if I’ve missed the deadline?
If you have missed the EU Settlement Scheme application deadline, submit the application as soon as possible. The application is straightforward and is usually made in two stages:
- Download the ‘EU Exit: I’d Document Check app’ and complete the steps.
- Completing the form by the Home Office website. Here, it will be needed to upload any evidence and written representations explaining the delay in submitting the applications and specifically making reference to the ‘reasonable grounds’.
How are our immigration solicitors can help:
We have extensive experience advising individuals on EUSS applications, and if you need assistance with an application or would like to speak with one of the team members, please contact us for a consultation.