The current process for EU citizens to apply for settlement is somewhat complicated and time consuming. The UK government has declared that on leaving the EU, a new streamlined system will be introduced. This is important as it is anticipated that more than 3 million EU citizens currently residing in the UK will be submitting applications for settlement once Brexit happens.
In terms of cost, it has been said that an application for settlement will not exceed that which a British citizen pays to obtain a British passport, this being no more than £72.50 for a standard one.
For those already in possession of a permanent residence document, there should be a simple process to exchange this for a settled status document subject to ongoing residence and security checks. The UK Government intend to charge a reduced fee to these individuals.
Unlike non-EU citizens, there will be no requirement to submit any biometric data such as fingerprints in order to obtain settlement. There are plans that on submitting a passport sized photograph, along with other required documentation, there will be digital ways to verify identity to improve the efficiency of the process.
A specified date will be announced whereby EU citizens who have been continuously resident in the UK for 5 years since then can apply for settled status. EU citizens who have been resident in the UK before that date but not continuously, will be given temporary status whereby they have the opportunity to then continuously reside in the UK for a period of 5 years and obtain settled status.
The Brexit Withdrawal Agreement is yet to be concluded. Set out in that Agreement will be circumstances where settled status for EU citizens will be refused. The UK Government expect these situations to be either when an EU citizen has not been resident in the UK for the required time before the specified date or if a citizen is refused on security or criminality grounds.
There will be a right of appeal for EU citizens and their direct family members who have had their settled status refused or revoked. Unless being subject to a Deportation Order, citizens will be entitled to stay in the UK pending the outcome of their appeal in the UK courts.
After Brexit, the UK Government intends to allow eligible EU citizens plenty of time to obtain their settled status. The proposed period of time is currently 2 years, with case workers being given the discretion to allow citizens to make out of time applications if there is good reason for not having applied within the time frame allowed.
Please bear in mind that despite the UK Government doing what they can to ensure the upcoming application processes and procedures are as easy and efficient as possible, the Home Office are going to be inundated with applications from the millions of EU citizens wishing to remain in the UK after Brexit. It is imperative that your application is completed correctly the first time round to avoid unnecessary cost and delays. Do not hesitate to contact us to speak to our immigration team to ensure you have the best chance at obtaining the correct status in the UK.