The EU Settlement Scheme will become fully operational on 30th March 2019. Here we answer some of the most common questions on the scheme and how it impacts on EU nationals and their families living in the UK.
1. Can I travel outside the UK?
If you have settledstatus, you should be able to spend up to 5 years in a row outside the UK and 2 years if you have pre-settled status.
2. Can I bring family members who are not EU, EEA or Swiss citizens to the UK?
If you get settled or pre-settled status, your close family members can join you in the UK before 31 December 2020. They will need to apply for the EU Settlement Scheme as your family member. You will not be able to bring them here under the Scheme if your relationship with them begins after 31 December 2020. They will, however, be able to come here on a family visa under UK immigration rules.
3. How do I submit proof of identity?
You can scan and verify your ID using the EU Exit: ID Document Check app or at an ID document scanner location (UKVI Passport Office, Law Society House, 90-106 Great Victoria St, Belfast BT1 3GN, UK). If you are unable to scan your document you can send the document by post to the address stated on the online application form.
4. Can I apply on behalf of my child?
You can apply for settled or pre-settled status for your child if they’re under 21 and either:
they are an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen; or
they are not an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen, but you are - or your spouse or civil partner is.
If you have applied to the EU Settlement Scheme, you will be able to ‘link’ your child’s application to yours, using the application number you get when you apply for yourself. You can do this at any time after you have applied. You can use your own email address in the application if your child does not have one. If your own application is successful, your child will get the same status as you. Your child can also apply for themselves.
5. Do Irish citizens need to apply for settled status?
The rights of Irish citizens residing in the UK are protected after the UK leaves the EU under the UK-Ireland Common Travel Area arrangements.
This means that Irish citizens do not need to apply under the scheme. Nonetheless, Irish citizens can make an application under the scheme, should they wish to do so.If their family members are EU citizens they will need to make an application for status under the EU Settlement Scheme.
6. Should I apply for UK citizenship or settled status?
That’s ultimately a personal decision for you. Settled status effectively guarantees/maintains your current EU rights and will mean you can continue to live and work in the UK indefinitely, but citizenship will provide a greater level of security and certainty, which many people will be seeking in the current climate.
For many people citizenship will not be an option though, either for financial, ideological or legal/political reasons (e.g. some countries don’t recognise dual citizenship).
7. What happens if I don't apply for settled status?
It is still unclear what will happen to any EU citizens who have not applied for settled status by the scheme deadline, but it is likely that employers won't be able to continue legally employing any staff who have not applied for settled status.
8. Is there a way an individual’s settled status could lapse?
Yes. Subject to approval by Parliament, it will lapse if an individual is absent from the UK for over five consecutive years. Pre-settled status will lapse after an absence of two consecutive years (similar to restrictions on indefinite leave to remain).
9. Where can I get further support?
You can also contact the EU Settlement Scheme Resolution Centre on 0300 123 7379. Further guidance is also available at www.gov.uk.
For more information on the EU Settlement Scheme click here or to find out how your workforce may be affected by Brexit please contact a member of our Employment & Incentives Belfast team.