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EEA & EU Immigration Solicitors
If you’re looking to come to the UK from a country in the European Union (EU) or the European Economic Area (EEA), Brexit has changed the way you can live and work in the UK. Since 31st December 2020, EU or EEA nationals are required to apply for UK immigration status to stay in the UK.
The transitional period for EU nationals to make an application under the EU Settlement Scheme came to an end on 30th June 2021, with a grace period for late applications under the end of July 2021. EU nationals are now considered and treated in the same way as non-EU nationals. Certain family members of settled EU nationals are still able to apply under the EU Settlement Scheme within a specified timeframe.
European nationals interested in living and staying in the UK are no longer able to directly apply for British citizenship or rely on a passport or identity card; instead they must be granted settled status/permanent residency first. This has resulted in the process becoming considerably more complicated and lengthy.
Our solicitors have helped many individuals and their families to enter or remain in the UK, and are well versed in all aspects of UK immigration law. We can take you through your options, advising on which application is most appropriate and helping you to navigate through the process to ensure a successful outcome.
To speak to a solicitor for immigration advice as an EU or EEA national, get in touch with us today by calling 0203 675 7600, or fill in our online enquiry form and a member of the team will get back to you.
How JMW Can Help
The immigration solicitors at JMW will complete all necessary application forms and submit them on your behalf, along with any supporting evidence. We provide a comprehensive document checking service, and can assist with overseas postal or entry clearance applications.
With our offices conveniently located in the heart of central London, we can assist clients based within the UK as well as those abroad. We will liaise with the Home Office on your behalf throughout the proceedings to ensure you receive a successful outcome.
We understand that immigration matters often cause significant stress and anxiety, and it is our objective to take away any worries from you by managing your application and ensuring proceedings are handled quickly and efficiently.
What is the EU Settlement Scheme?
The Home Office introduced the EU Settlement Scheme as a route for EU and EEA nationals to obtain lawful immigration status in the UK following Brexit. The scheme will classify your immigration status as either ‘settled’ or ‘pre-settled’.
Settled status is obtained by living in the UK continuously for five years, while pre-settled status is given to those that have lived in the UK for less than five years. Once you have lived in the UK for the required five years, you can apply for settled status.
Both settled and pre-settled statuses will allow you and your family to live and work freely in the UK, as well as leave and enter the country as you please. Once 12 months have passed with settled status (six years of continuous residence in the UK), you are then eligible to apply for naturalisation to become a British citizen.
What do I need in order to apply under the EU Settlement Scheme?
As the deadline to apply under the EU Settlement Scheme ended on 30th June 2021, any application made under the scheme proceeding this date will be made as a late application. Clear reasons will need to be given with supporting evidence as to why the application has been made late.
As part of the application process as an EU or EEA national, you will be required to prove that you have been living in the UK by providing details on what you have been doing while here.
You should also gather other documents that will prove that you or your sponsor have been residing in the UK, including council tax documents, utility bills, bank statements or NHS correspondence.
Proof of identification, such as a passport or national identity card, will also be required. You might also need birth or adoption certificates, marriage or civil partnership documents or other documents that prove your relationship to any other people applying alongside you.
What can I do under settled or pre-settled status?
Once you have been granted settled or pre-settled status, you will be able to do the following:
- Work in the UK
- Use NHS services
- Enrol in education or continue studying in the UK
- Access public funds, such as benefits and pensions
- Travel in and out of the UK
- Apply for British citizenship after holding EU settled status for a year
If you have settled status, you can spend five years consecutively outside of the UK without losing your status. For a pre-settled status, this is reduced to up to two years in a row.
Can my family apply under the EU Settlement Scheme?
Under UK immigration rules, family members of an EU or EEA national are considered to be a:
- Spouse or civil partner
- Child or grandchild of you and/or your spouse or civil partner, if they’re under 18 and dependent on you
- An adult over the age of 18 who is dependent on you
If your family is already in the UK with you, they might be able to apply for settled status as a late application if there are good reasons as to why the application was not submitted before 30th June 2021.
If your partner is still abroad, they might still be able to join you. Whether you’re married, in a civil partnership or unmarried, you will need to prove that your relationship is genuine to be able to apply to the settlement scheme. Again, this will be made as a late application.