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Preparing for Brexit: EU SETTLEMENT SCHEME

/ August 29th 2019 / Konrad Shek
Brexit and Trade Policy News


The EU Settlement Scheme has been fully open to the public since 30 March 2019. EU, other EEA and Swiss citizens can apply by 30 June 2021 if the UK leaves the EU with a deal, or by 31 December 2020 if the UK leaves without a deal.

Note: Given the uncertainty over whether Freedom of Movement will end if the UK leaves the EU without a deal, we recommend engaging with your EU/EEA colleagues and encourage them to apply for the EU Settlement Scheme sooner, rather than later.

What is the EU Settlement Scheme?

The EU Settlement Scheme is a free Scheme which enables EEA and Swiss citizens resident in the UK, and their family members, to obtain the status they will require in order to live and work in the UK after 30 June 2021 (or after 31 December 2020 if there is a no deal exit).

Applicants only need to complete three key steps – prove their identity, show that that they live in the UK, and declare any criminal convictions.

It is designed to be as simple and straightforward as possible.

Why do EEA citizens need to apply?

The UK is leaving the EU, which means that free movement will come to an end. This means that EEA citizens resident in the UK, and their family members, need to obtain a status in order to evidence their right to work, housing and benefits in the UK after 30 June 2021 (or after 31 December 2020 if there is a no deal exit). An EEA citizen with permanent residence status who wishes to continue living in the UK after then will either need to apply to the Scheme or, if they prefer and are eligible, apply for British citizenship. This is because permanent residence is a status acquired under EU law whereas the Scheme secures their status under UK law.

Is the scheme only available on Android?

No. Use of the Identity Document Check App, currently only available on Android devices, is entirely optional – it is just one of several ways people will be able to verify their identity, including by post.

There are over 80 locations where applicants can have their passport scanned and verified across the UK. Assisted digital support is available at over 300 locations, supplemented by a network of over 65 tutors who provide in home support, and there is also a dedicated telephone advice and support service for the Scheme.

During public testing of the EU Settlement Scheme 95% of applicants successfully used the App to prove their identity remotely, removing the need for them to submit their identity document to the Home Office for manual verification.

Currently, Apple iPhone users are not able to use their device to self-verify their identity using the App because it is the present policy of Apple not to allow any third-party access to the iPhone “ID chip”. However, the Home Secretary has confirmed that the App will be available on Apple devices later this year.

What support is available to EEA citizens?

Support is available to all EEA citizens online here.

To help EEA citizens apply there is also a dedicated telephone advice service – The EU Settlement Resolution Centre – and there are over 1,500 staff who process EU Settlement Scheme applications.

There is an assisted digital service for EEA citizens in over 300 locations across the UK, offering support to those who do not have the appropriate access, skills or confidence to complete the online form.

The Home Office has also translated communications materials into 26 languages. Alternative formats can be requested.

The Home Office has made up to £9 million available to 57 voluntary and community sector organisations across the UK to help vulnerable or at-risk EEA citizens to apply.

The funding will provide support to an estimated 200,000 vulnerable or at-risk EEA citizens.

Will the EU Settlement Scheme continue to operate now there has been an extension to Article 50 and what about in a No-Deal scenario?

The Scheme opened fully on 30 March 2019 despite the extension to Article 50. The deadline for applying in a deal will be 30 June 2021 or 31 December 2020 if there is no deal.

Further Help

Use the EU Settlement Scheme contact form to get help online.

You can get support over the phone or in person if you need help doing things online.

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