EU Settlement Scheme – protection for late applicants
On 6th August 2021, the Home Office announced that the rights of late applicants to the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS) will be protected whilst their application is pending. Amongst other benefits, this includes the right to live in the UK and receive non-chargeable healthcare.
For EU, EEA and Swiss Citizens and their family members, who were in the UK by 11:00 pm on 31st December 2020, the deadline to make an application under the EUSS was 30th June 2021. Provisions were however put in place for those who were unable to apply to the scheme on or before this date. Such applicants are required to show ‘reasonable grounds’ for missing the deadline.
It had already been established that those who made an application by 30th June 2021 would still have the right to live, work, study, rent property, access the NHS and continue to receive benefits whilst their application remained undecided. It was however previously unclear what the position would be for those that applied late to the scheme. It has now been confirmed that they too will temporarily be protected.
This protection will only apply once an application is submitted and whilst it is being determined. It is therefore extremely important for those that have not yet applied to submit an application as soon as possible.
What are ‘reasonable grounds’ for missing the deadline?
There is no exhaustive list of grounds that will be accepted when making a late application to the EUSS. The Home Office has claimed they are still supporting those making late applications and anyone who has not applied is therefore encouraged to make an application as soon as possible.
The published guidance suggests that applications made under the following circumstances may amount to ‘reasonable grounds’ for missing the deadline:
- Where a parent, guardian or Local Authority has failed to apply on behalf of a child.
- Where a person has or had a serious medical condition, which meant they were unable to apply by the relevant deadline.
- Where someone is a victim of modern slavery or is in an abusive relationship.
- Where someone is isolated, vulnerable or did not have the digital skills to access the application process.
- Where a person was unable to apply by the relevant deadline for compelling practical or compassionate reasons – including in light of the coronavirus pandemic.
When making a late application, your reasons for missing the deadline should be supported by evidence.
Who else can apply to the EU Settlement Scheme after 30th June 2021?
Besides late applicants, the EUSS remains open for other categories of individuals. This includes where:
- You have pre-settled status and are applying to upgrade to settled status.
- You are the family member of an EEA or Swiss Citizen who was living in the UK by 31st December 2020, and you joined, or will be joining, them on or after 1st April 2021
- You are a child who was born or adopted in the UK on or after 1st April 2021.
- You are the family member of an eligible person of Northern Ireland, but they could not move back to the UK by 31 December 2020 without you – you must be from outside the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein
- You are exempt from immigration control
- You are in the UK with limited leave to enter or remain which is yet to expire (e.g. as a student, worker etc)
- You are the family member of a British citizen who you lived with in the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein before 30th December 2020 and have returned to the UK with them.
If you require help with making a late application, or to consider if a different deadline applies to you, please contact our immigration specialists on 020 7205 2115 or use the form to request a call back.
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