Last updated: 18.03.2019
About the EU settlement scheme
In advance of the UK’s exit from the EU on 29 March 2019, the UK government has committed to protect the rights of EU citizens and their family members currently living in the UK. This includes the right to live here, to study, work and access public services such as healthcare. To retain these rights beyond 31 December 2020, EU citizens and their family members must apply for UK immigration status under the EU Settlement Scheme. Further detail on the Settlement Scheme can be found on GOV.UK.
This means if you intend to remain in the UK after 31 December 2020, or, if you are undecided but want to keep your options open, then you will have between now and 31 December 2020 (or June 2021 if the UK leaves the UK with a deal) to make this application.
What is the public test phase?
The Home Office has been testing the application process of the EU Settlement Scheme through a series of private pilots ahead of the public launch in March 2019. It is now opening the pilot testing more widely to the public, including students. Feedback about your experience collected during your application process will be used to make improvements before the Scheme fully launches to the public by 30 March 2019.
Who is eligible to apply during the public test phase?
Any EU citizens, as well as their non-EU citizen family members who hold a valid biometric document as described below, will be eligible to take part in the public test phase.
- You are an EU citizen and have a valid biometric passport (this is an e-passport which has a digital chip);
- You are a non-EU citizen family member and have a biometric residence card with ‘EU Right to Reside’ on the back, which you have applied for on or after 6 April 2015.
- Irish citizens do not need to apply, however, family members from outside of the UK or Ireland will be eligible.
If you are eligible to apply to the EU settlement scheme public test phase you will need to complete a short and simple online application form to:
- prove your identity
- show that you live in the UK
- declare any serious criminal convictions
In order to apply during the public test phase you need to also ensure the following:
- You must be in the UK to apply
- You have an email address to apply online
- You have a current biometric passport or biometric residence card (which has a digital chip)
- You have a debit or credit card to pay for the fee (which will be refunded later following the Government announcement that the fee will be scrapped).
- You have access to an Android phone/device (such as a Samsung, Google or Sony phone) with 'contactless' or Near-Field Communication (NFC) - this means you can use your phone to pay for things and is what the app uses to scan your passport. You can usually check if your phone has this capability by opening the ‘Setting’ app on your phone.
- You can download and access the Home Office EU Exit: ID Document Check app from the Google Play Store.
Please note that making an application in this public test phase is entirely voluntary. The scheme fully opens in March 2019 and the deadline for applying under the scheme once fully open will be 31 December 2020 if the UK leaves the EU without a deal. If there is a deal and withdrawal agreement, the deadline will be June 2021.
Who needs to wait until the scheme is fully open?
- If you are a citizen of Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland
- If you are a citizen of an EU country (or the family member of such a citizen) but only have a national I.D. card, or, a EEA residence permit/ document which is not in the form of a biometric residence card
- If you are currently outside of the UK, for example, on a study abroad year
When does the scheme fully open?
According to the statement of changes to the Immigration Rules HC 1919 which was laid before parliament on 7 March 2019, the scheme will fully open from 7am on 30 March 2019. ID cards for EEA citizens and 'alternative evidence' would be accepted as proof of identity and nationality.
From 7am on 9 April 2019, applications can be made from outside of the UK.
Application process during the public test phase
To apply to the EU Settlement Scheme you will need to complete an online application:
- Verify your identity - You will need to have a valid biometric passport or biometric residence card (issued by the Home Office) to apply in this pilot. All applications must use the EU Exit: ID Document Check app to verify identity. This is currently only available to download on Android devices - an easy way to check if your device can use this app, is if your device has the technology to make contactless payments. If you cannot get access to this app during the pilot there will be alternative ways for you to verify your identity once the scheme fully opens in March 2019.
- Criminality check - You will need to complete the criminality check by declaring any criminal convictions. Only serious or persistent criminality will affect your application. This should not affect the vast majority of EU citizens and their family members.
- Verify your residence in the UK - You will need to provide evidence of your residence in the UK. There are number of ways you can do this, for example providing your National Insurance number (if you have one), or a student status letter confirming the dates of enrolment, attendance and completion (if applicable). If your residence in the UK started before starting your course at Warwick then you can find information on the other types of evidence you can use on GOV.UK (more detailed guidance can be found in Annex A of the Modernised Guidance). Alternatively, if you have a valid permanent residence document or valid indefinite leave to remain, you will just need to provide proof of that status.
Do I need Comprehensive Sickness Insurance (CSI)?
Until the UK leaves the European Union on 29 March 2019, it is a requirement that EU/EEA students and their family members have CSI (unless they are also considered as a 'worker'). You should, where possible, obtain a EHIC card before you leave your home country.
However, the UK government has also announced that, for those becoming a UK resident prior to 29 March 2019, when you apply under the 'EU Settlement Scheme', you are not required to show evidence of comprehensive sickness insurance because the UK has decided, as a matter of domestic policy, that the main requirement for eligibility will be continuous residence in the UK.We would advise that you read more on the webpage of UKCISA regarding EEA Students and CSI.
What's the deadline to make an application under the 'EU Settlement Scheme'?
If you intend to remain in the UK beyond 31 December 2020, or if you are undecided as to what you might be doing then, we would suggest that you make an application under this scheme because it gives you the best immigration status should you wish to have the option of remaining in the UK in longer term. Once the scheme opens fully, you will have until 31 December 2020 to apply if the UK exits the EU without a deal, or, June 2021 if the UK exits the EU with a deal and withdrawal agreement.
I don't have an Android phone - what can I do?
If you can access an Android phone (e.g. via a friend or family member) you can download the app and apply this way - the app doesn’t store any data so it’s safe to use on someone else’s phone. The phone needs to have Near-Field Communication (NFC) otherwise known as 'contactless'. If you can use the phone to pay for things, the phone should be the required specification. The app will use contactless technology to scan your passport.
The Immigration Service team has purchased an Android phone if you cannot access it via family or friends. You can visit our Reception during our opening hours to use the phone. There is no need to make an appointment. If you have any questions during the application process, you can ask an adviser for assistance (please note that due to adviser availability, you may need to wait or be prepared to continue your application on a different date or time).
You are advised to watch the YouTube video about an 'EU Settlement Scheme Application Walk-through' before making your application (video is produced by Free Movement Website founded by a UK solicitor).
What happens if I require further assistance regarding the EU Settlement Scheme?
The Immigration Service team is currently writing an application guide. We are not currently offering appointments to help you with your application but will be happy to assist you if you visit our Reception during our opening hours. Alternatively, you may wish to complete our online Contact Form.
Can Immigration Service team help me apply for a UK residence card?
The Immigration Service team is not currently offering face-to-face appointments for applications of a UK residence card but this service is commercially available by many solicitors' firms.
As most of the students will be eligible to apply under the 'EU Settlement Scheme', there is not much point in applying for a UK residence card at this point. However, if you are concerned and would like further assistance, please do get in touch with us.
Is there any risk that my application may be refused?
As you are making an immigration application, there is always a risk that your application may be refused, especially if you do not exercise due care. However, the risk is very low. Issues that you may encounter include, for example, if you do not provide sufficient evidence of UK residency, then you may be granted 'pre-settled status' rather than a 'settled status'. If you do not provide evidence of your identity, then your application may be rejected as the caseworker wouldn't be able to process it further.
If you have a criminal conviction, we would advise that you read the Modernised Guidance (this is the guidance to caseworkers - page 37) and EEA Decisions on Public Policy. You may also wish to seek independent legal advice before making this application.
What happens if I have a non-EEA family member who wish to join me in the UK?
Where can I find out more about the scheme?
- EU Settlement Scheme Fact Sheets
- Public test phase briefing pack
- Guidance from GOV website
- Guidance on settled or pre-settled status
- Evidence of UK residence
Where can I find out more information about my right as a EEA/Swiss national following Brexit?
EU nationals' family residence rights: https://europa.eu/youreurope/citizens/residence/family-residence-rights/index_en.htm
Immigration Law Practitioners’ Association (if you are looking for representation): http://www.ilpa.org.uk/