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EU Settlement Scheme – Is it too late to apply?

The EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS) was implemented to enable EU citizens and their eligible family members who started living in the UK before 31st December 2020 to acquire pre-settled status which gives the right to live in the UK for 5 years or settled status which allows the right to remain indefinitely in the UK.

The original deadline of 30 June 2021 to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme has now passed.

The EUSS is still accepting new applications despite it now being seven months since the deadline passed. Late applications will be accepted if the applicant meets one of the criteria for submitting an application after the deadline, if the applicant has ‘reasonable grounds’ for not applying by the deadline, or if an applicant with pre-settled status has reached five years’ of continuous residence in the UK, and is eligible to switch to settled status.

Who may submit a late application?

The EUSS deadline of 30 June 2021 does not apply to the following categories of individuals:

  • Family members of EU nationals (who started living in the UK by 31 December 2020) and who join them in the UK on or after 1April 2021;
  • Children born or adopted in the UK on or after 1April 2021;
  • Family members (non-EU) of eligible persons of Northern Ireland who could not move back to the UK by 31 December 2020 without their non-EU family members;
  • Individuals exempt from UK immigration control or who stopped being exempt from UK immigration control after 30 June 2021;
  • Individuals with limited leave to enter/remain in the UK which expires after 30t June 2021; and
  • Family members of British citizens who lived together in an EU country (by 30 December 2020) and returned to the UK together.

Family members who join EU nationals in the UK on or after 1 April 2021 have 90 days to apply to the EUSS from the date they arrive. EUSS applications for children born or adopted in the UK on or after 1April 2021 must be submitted within 90 days from the date of birth/adoption.

Non-EU family members of eligible persons of Northern Ireland have 90 days to apply to the EUSS from the date they arrive in the UK. Family members of British citizens who lived in the EU together must apply no later than 29 March 2022.

Irish citizens (including dual British and Irish citizens), those with indefinite leave to enter/remain, and Frontier Worker permit holders do not need to apply to the EUSS.

‘Reasonable grounds’ for failing to apply by 30th June 2021

There is no set list of ‘reasonable grounds’ for why an individual did not apply to the EUSS by the deadline of 30June 2021. The Home Office does provide a list of examples of ‘reasonable grounds,’ but this is not exhaustive, and all reasons will be considered. Examples include:

  • An individual came to the UK on a different type of visa and didn’t know of their eligibility to apply
  • Those with permanent residence status who did not know they needed to apply
  • Children who did not know they needed to apply before the deadline
  • A medical condition prevented an application being made before the deadline
  • An individual lacked the physical/mental capacity to apply or has care/support needs and their carer was unaware of the deadline
  • Victims of modern slavery or those in abusive/controlling relationships

Evidence must be provided with EUSS applications submitted after the deadline to support the ‘reasonable grounds,’ whatever they may be.

Due to the volume of applications, there are significant delays in EUSS applications being decided. Those with pending applications should be provided with a Certificate of Application confirming their right to live and work in the UK whilst their application is being considered, provided they have submitted a valid application.

The original deadline of 30 June 2021 to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme has now passed.

Successful registration under the Scheme gives EU citizens the right to live and work in the UK after this date. Eligible applicants will be granted with either pre-settled or settled status depending on the length of their continuous residence in the UK. Applicants will not be able to choose which status to apply for when submitting their application, as the status granted is at the discretion of the Home Office.

Once granted with settled or pre-settled status, EU citizens are entitled to:

  • Work without restrictions in the UK
  • Receive healthcare through the NHS
  • Study in the UK
  • Access public funds such as benefits and pensions, if eligible

Once granted with settled status, an EU citizen can reside in the UK indefinitely, and may then be eligible to apply to naturalise as a British citizen.

EU citizens ineligible to acquire status under the EUSS or via a different immigration category will require sponsorship by a UK company to live and work in the UK, with the company holding a sponsor licence to employ migrant workers.

Please do not hesitate to reach out with any query you may have. The Clarkslegal immigration team will work with you to create a service tailored to your needs.

About this article

This information is for guidance purposes only and should not be regarded as a substitute for taking legal advice. Please refer to the full General Notices on our website.

About this article

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