The Free Movement of people is one of the founding principles of the European Union (EU) which allows European Economic Area (EEA) nationals and their family members to move and reside freely within the territory of another EEA Member State. This included the UK until the end of the Brexit transition period on 31 December 2020. EEA nationals and their family members were then urged to make an application to prove their right to be in the UK after 30 June 2021; otherwise they may be liable for removal from the UK.
Impact of Brexit for EEA Nationals – EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS) Applications
The EU Settlement Scheme was launched on 30 March 2019. All EEA nationals and their family members who wish to continue living and working in the UK must make an application for Settled Status or Pre-Settled Status under the EU Settlement Scheme. This applies to individuals who already held residence documents under the EEA Regulations (i.e. Registration Certificate, Residence Card and Permanent Residence) as these documents are no longer valid since 30 June 2021.
Applicants will be automatically granted either Pre-Settled Status or Settled Status dependant on their circumstances. Those who have been in the UK for a continuous 5 year period will be granted Settled Status; equivalent to Permanent Residence and Indefinite Leave to Remain. Pre-Settled Status is equivalent to the EEA Registration Certificate or EEA Residence Card and is therefore given to individuals who have been in the UK for less than 5 years. Once an Applicant has acquired 5 years continuous residence in the UK they can then apply for Settled Status.
EU Settlement Scheme applications can be made online. The Home Office will need to verify the Applicant’s identity either by using the mobile app, attending a centre to scan a copy of the ID documents or by ending the original ID documents in the post. Further documentation may then need to be provided to the Home Office depending on the Applicant’s circumstances. For example, non-EEA national family members will definitely need to prove their relationship to the EU national sponsor.
EU Settlement Scheme Appeals and Administrative Reviews
In the event that an application made under the EU Settlement Scheme is refused, Applicants will be given a right of appeal (within 14 days of the letter if within the UK or 28 days if outside the UK) or administrative review (within 28 days of the letter). An appeal may be submitted to the First Tier Tribunal under the Immigration (Citizens Rights Appeals) (UK Exit) Regulations 2020 (SI 2020 No. 61) and the case and decision will be reviewed by an independent Judge or caseworker (depending on how the Applicant decides to challenge the decision).
Expert UK Immigration Solicitors for EEA Applicants
Our immigration solicitors are regularly instructed to assist in the preparation of UKVI applications. Our expert team offer some of the following services:
- An initial consultation with an experienced immigration solicitor who can advise on whether you meet the eligibility requirements;
- Tailored legal advice which will assist you in collating the documents required for an application; and
- Preparation of online/paper visa application forms and legal representations.
If you wish to have your documents checked by an expert immigration solicitor, please contact us so we can explore your options.
We are an Immigration law firm based in Middle Temple, London and our solicitors are fully authorised by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA). Contact our specialist immigration team today and we can offer you a consultation in person or via telephone or Skype so we can explore your options. You can leave us a message on our Contact Form or give us a call on 02071830570.