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With the UK’s departure from the EU fast approaching, it is important for the three and half million EU citizens living and working in the UK to take the necessary steps if they wish to stay in the country after June 2021. The Government’s settlement scheme – which is still subject to change – intends to provide a quick, easy and affordable process to apply for ‘settled status’ allowing you to live and work in the UK indefinitely.

The Immigration Solicitors at Wilford Smith specialise in all areas of immigration law and can provide expert legal advice to individuals from throughout the EEA on making an application for UK residence. At this time of uncertainty, our Immigration Lawyers can provide clear and practical advice on how and when to apply. Contact one of our team today to find out how we can help.

How can EEA nationals apply for permanent residence in the UK?

EEA citizens and their families living in the UK who intend to stay here after June 2021 must apply under the settlement scheme for ‘settled status’. Getting settled status means you can live and work in the UK indefinitely. If you already have indefinite leave to remain (ILR) or permanent residence this can be exchanged for settled status at no cost.

To apply for settled status, you must be an EU citizen or a family member of an EU citizen and have lived in the UK for five continuous years. Those who have not lived here for that long may be granted ‘pre-settled status’ and can apply for full settled status once they reach five years continuous residence. If you are not already resident in the country, you must have started living here by 31 December 2020.

EEA citizens granted settled status will be given an ID number, but no card, which they will be required to use for certain public services, including the NHS. The settlement scheme will be introduced in phases and will be fully open by 30 March 2019.

What information will I need to provide as part of my settled status application?

When applying for settled status, you must provide the following:

  • Proof of identity – including a valid passport or national ID card and a recent photo.
  • Evidence of UK residence – this can be checked automatically using HMRC data but you may also be asked to provide bank statements, utility bills or P60s. If you have already been granted ILR or permanent residence, proof of UK residence is not required.
  • Details of criminal convictions (if the applicant is over 18) – the information you provide will be checked against the UK’s crime databases.

Speaking with an experienced Immigration Solicitor before making your application can be helpful in providing guidance as to what information to include, ensuring that your application is as strong as it can be.

How can my dependents gain settled status?

You must make a separate application on behalf of each child you have under the age of 16, unless they are British citizens. The Government has said that if the main applicant is eligible to apply, their children will also be eligible, even if the children arrive in the UK after December 2020.

How can non-EEA nationals travel to the UK to join a partner or family member who is an EEA national?

Non-EEA nationals who wish to join an EEA national in the UK can do so by applying for an EEA Family Permit. This permit acts like a visa, enabling the holder to enter the UK for a period of up to six months. If you plan on staying longer, you may wish to apply for settled status or use the Appendix FM route.

If you are from outside the EU and wish to apply for settled status, under the settlement scheme you will need to provide proof of your relationship with your EU family member living in the UK, such as marriage certificate, as well as your fingerprints and a recent photo.

Another route for non-EEA nationals to join family members in the UK on a permanent basis is to apply under Appendix FM to the UK Immigration Rules, which allows individuals from outside the EU to join their spouses, civil partners or unmarried partners who are settled in the UK. There are a number of requirements that must be fulfilled, for example you must pass the English language test, provide details of all absences from the UK and pass the Life in the UK test.

Contact our Immigration Solicitors in Sheffield and London

Wilford Smith's experienced Immigration Solicitors are based in Sheffield and London, advising clients throughout England and Wales. Our Immigration Lawyers offer a service that is client-focused, providing legal advice that is tailored to meet your needs. Whatever the nature of your immigration objectives, at Wilford Smith we have the skills, knowledge and expertise to help you achieve them. Contact one of our Immigration Solicitors today on 01709 828 044 to find out how we can help.

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