The majority of the 3.5 million EU citizens living in the UK will have to apply to the Government’s settled status scheme if they wish to remain in the UK after June 2021.
Who has to apply?
EU citizens – excluding those from the Republic of Ireland – who plan to stay in the UK long-term will have to apply for settled status, guidance published on the Home Office website states.
Irish citizens’ rights are guaranteed under the Common Travel Area established in 1923 to ensure open borders between the UK and Ireland.
EU nationals that have previously been granted indefinite leave to enter the UK or indefinite leave to remain in the UK are also exempt from the scheme.
But EU citizens who only have a permanent residence document will still need to apply for settled status.
Non-EU nationals in the UK with an EU spouse, civil partner or unmarried partner also need to apply for the settlement scheme, and are advised to apply at the same time as them.
You will still need to apply for settled status if you are a non-EU national and your partner is an EU citizen who does not need to apply because they meet exemption criteria.
I am married to a British person, do I need to apply?
Any EU national married to a British person will need to apply for settled status if they have not previously taken British citizenship.
Widows of deceased British citizens will also need settled status if they wish to remain in the UK.
How do I apply?
The application process is online and via an app – applicants will be asked to prove their identity, their residence in the UK and will be asked whether they have criminal convictions in any overseas country.
Will my application be refused if I have criminal convictions?
Individuals with a persistent offending history, particularly if it involves violence or drugs, will have their application considered on a case-by-case basis, a spokesman for the Home Office said.
“We don’t expect to reject any genuine EU citizens living lawfully in the UK,” he said.
When must I apply by?
The scheme will be fully open from the start of the transition period on March 30 and the deadline is two years later on June 30, 2021.
Those who have been living in the UK for less than five years before the deadline will get “pre-settled status”, which can be changed to settled status when you have reached five years of continuous residence.
How much does it cost?
The application process will now be free of charge.
On Monday, the Prime Minister reversed the original charge of £65 for adults and £32.50 for children.
How long does it take?
The process is still undergoing testing, but a trial of 30,000 people saw two-thirds of applications approved within three days and 81% within a week.
I am only planning on staying in the UK for a couple of years, should I apply?
People not planning on staying in the UK beyond the transition period do not need to apply for the scheme.
But EU nationals who plan to remain for several years but not settle in the UK permanently are still advised to apply for settled or pre-settled status as it is likely to be cheaper and simpler than other visa options.
What happens if my application is refused?
Each case will be considered individually, the Home Office said, but those with a history of persistent, serious offending may be subject to deportation.