Settled Status for EU citizens
What exactly is Settled Status for EU citizens?
In summary, Settled Status is basically the new route for EU citizens to achieve their permanent or indefinite status in the UK.
After the 2016 referendum for the UK to leave the EU, the UK government have worked to put together a new scheme for EU citizens and their family members to stay in the UK. This scheme called “Settled Status” confers the same rights as the status of “Indefinite Leave to Remain” (ILR) in UK immigration law. Settled Status in most cases requires 5 years residence in the UK. Those with less than 5 years residence can apply for “Pre Settled Status”.
Who can apply?
EU citizens and their family members who have lived in the UK for 5 years can apply for Settled Status. The scheme also includes EEA citizens (Norway, Iceland and Lichtenstein) and Swiss citizens – and their family members.
Irish citizens do not need to apply for Settled Status as their right to live in the UK is provided for through the Common Travel Area. However, they can apply for Settled Status if they wish to do so.
The Residence Requirement
The fundamental difference between Settled Status and permanent residence under the EEA Regulations is that Settled Status just requires the applicant to show that they have been resident in the UK.
There is no requirement to show that one has been “exercising EU Treaty Rights” such as working, self-employment or studying. There is no requirement to have held comprehensive sickness insurance.
Applicants will be invited to provide their National Insurance number and this will be checked against HMRC and DWP records to establish that the applicant has been resident in the UK for the required 5 year period. This will be easily verified for many applicants such as those who have been employed or in receipt of the State Pension.
For those applicants where there is insufficient government data to establish residence, then they will be asked to either accept “Pre Settled Status” or else provide more evidence to show that they have lived here for 5 years. This might arise for example where there is a gap in one’s National Insurance contributions or the system simply cannot find the required information.
Further Supporting Evidence
The system will ask the applicant to provide more detailed evidence to support their residence.
The official guidance provides detailed examples of the type of evidence that can be provided. This includes “Preferred Evidence” and “Alternative Evidence”;
Preferred evidence – Evidence that covers longer periods of time
The following documents are preferred because they cover a longer period and less of them are required to confirm residence:
- Annual bank statement or account summary, showing at least 6 months of payments received or spending in the UK
- An employer letter confirming employment, and evidence that the employer is genuine
- A P60 for a 12-month period (6 April to 5 April). Additional evidence may be required to confirm that you were resident here for at least 6 months of that period
- A P45 showing the length of your previous employment
- Council tax bills
- Letters or certificates from a school, college, university or other accredited organisation showing the dates you enrolled, attended and completed your course
- Invoices for fees from your school, college, university or other accredited organisation and evidence of payment
- Documents from Student Finance or Student Loans Company showing a UK address
- Residential mortgage statements or rental agreements and evidence of payment
- Letters from a registered care home confirming residence
- Employer pension contributions
- Annual business accounts if you are self-employed.
Alternative evidence -Evidence that covers shorter periods of time
These documents count as evidence for 1 month if they have a single date on. They will cover a longer period of time if they have a start and end date.
- Bank statements showing payments received or spending in the UK
- Payslips for a UK-based job
- Water, gas or electricity bills which show a UK address
- Landline or mobile telephone, TV or internet bills showing a UK address
- Domestic bills, such as for home repairs, vet’s services or insurance, and evidence of payment
- Cards or letters from your GP or other healthcare professional confirming appointments you have made or attended
- Letters from government departments, other public services or charities that show you dealt with them on a particular date or for a particular period (for example Job Centre Plus or Citizens Advice)
- Passport stamps confirming entry at the UK border
- Used travel tickets confirming you entered the UK from another country
- Invoices for work you have done in the UK and evidence of payment
Family members can either be EU citizens or non-EU citizens.
This also includes family members of an EU citizen who has since acquired UK citizenship.
The following family members can be included – spouse, civil partners, durable partners, dependent parents and other dependent relatives.
A durable partner (often called an unmarried partner) is someone that you been living with in a relationship akin to marriage or civil partnership usually for a 2 year period.
One very important point relating to parents is that you are not required to show that your parents are dependent on you. The guidance states;
“Their dependency on you as an EU citizen or your spouse or civil partner is assumed, and you are not required to provide evidence of this dependency”.
This is a marked distinction in relation to EEA permanent residence where dependency was a key requirement and also with the Immigration Rules where it is very difficult to sponsor a parent.
Settled Status is also available to children of EU citizens (including children of the EU citizen’s spouse or partner). Children includes those up to the age of 21.
Most importantly, children can secure Settled Status without having to live in the UK for 5 years. They are eligible once their parent has Settled Status. Again, this is a very important distinction compared to EEA permanent residence.
Continuity of Residence
What if you have been out of the UK for extended period? Does one have to meet a certain period of actually being in the UK to apply for “Settled Status”?
The official guidance confirms that being continuously resident in the UK means not having been absent from the UK for more than 6 months in total in any 12 month period, during the 5 year period of residence you are relying on for your application. These 6 months can be either continuous or a number of shorter absences. There are some exceptions:
- A single absence of up to 12 months is permitted, where this is for an important reason, such as pregnancy, childbirth, serious illness, study, vocational training or an overseas posting. Evidence to support an absence as a result of pregnancy, childbirth or serious illness can be a letter or other records from a qualified medical professional. Evidence to support an absence as a result of study, vocational training or an overseas posting can be a letter or other records from the relevant educational establishment or employer.
- Any period of absence on compulsory military service. Evidence can be a letter or other records from the relevant government body.
Once you have been continuously resident in the UK for 5 years, you can use this period to apply for settled status provided that, since completing that 5 year period, you have not been absent from the UK for more than 5 consecutive years.
So, Settled Status is quite generous in allowing you to apply based on a previous 5 year period in the UK.
Holder of Permanent Residence (PR) and Indefinite leave to Remain (ILR)
Those who hold permanent residence documents under the EEA Regulations or who have Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) can exchange these documents for Settled Status.
There is no government application fee to do so and the applicant does not need to provide evidence of 5 years residence again. The Home Office have pledged that this is a straightforward process.
English language ability and the Life in the UK Test
These requirements do not need to be met for Settled Status. However, they are requirements for UK citizenship.
Our service – Settled Status and Pre Settled Status
We can assist with applying for Settled Status and Pre Settled Status. The process can be complicated and is not granted easily by the UK government – it does, after all, lead to permanent residence and eventually to apply for British citizenship.
We can handle the whole application from start to finish. The service includes everything from pre-application advice, document review, completing forms, covering letter, drafting your personal statement, submission to the authorities and bringing to a successful conclusion. This continues throughout the whole process until your visa is approved.
You will only deal with one dedicated immigration adviser to provide you with a focused one to one service.
Our success rate in immigration applications is second to none and we can provide numerous verifiable references from satisfied clients for you to review and inspect.
At this stage, we just need you to complete this quick registration form on our website;
This should give us all the information we need to give you the correct advice.
We can then review in full and get back to you