Brexit: guidance for EU citizens living in the UK
As Brexit approaches and its final shape is not yet clear, we appreciate it can be an unsettling time for EU citizens. The government has published some guidance which we summarise below.
Overview of the EU Settlement Scheme
Under the proposed withdrawal agreement, if you’re an EU citizen and want to continue living in the UK after 30 June 2021, you and your family need to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme. If your application is successful, you’ll be given either settled or pre-settled status.
The EU Settlement Scheme allows you and your family members to continue to live, work and study in the UK. It means you continue to be eligible for:
- public services, such as healthcare and schooling
- public funds and pensions
- British citizenship, if you meet the requirements and want to apply.
Who should apply
If you’re an EU citizen or a family member of an EU citizen and want to stay in the UK after 30 June 2021, you need to apply. This includes if you’re married to a British citizen. If you have a ‘UK permanent residence document’, you still need to apply.
If you’re from outside the EU, you must be in a relationship with an EU citizen as their spouse, civil partner or unmarried partner. You need a residence card to prove your relationship if you’re unmarried.
You don’t not need to apply if:
- you’re an Irish citizen
- you have indefinite leave to enter the UK
- you have indefinite leave to remain in the UK
Your family members from outside either the UK or Ireland still need to apply even if you don’t need to.
When you can apply
The EU Settlement Scheme is now fully open for applications from EU, EEA and Swiss citizens and those who are the family members of an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen.
This means that EU citizens with valid passports containing biometric chips or non-EU citizens who are the family members of an EU citizen and have been issued with a biometric residence card by the Home Office can apply now using the EU Exit: ID Document Check app, which is currently only compatible with the Android platform on tablets and smartphones. The app verifies the applicant’s identity by reading the biometric data in their passport or residence card.
The scheme is also open to those without biometric identity documents or access to an Android device. The deadline for applying is 30 June 2021 under the proposed deal and 31 December 2020 under no-deal.
There is no fee now that the scheme is fully open. Anyone who has applied already and paid a fee during the pilot phase will have their fee refunded.
Extensive information on what you need to do and when is available here.