EU & EEA Immigration Advice

Below we cover our services and everything you need to know about EU & EEA Immigration.

Alexander Boyd UK EU & EEA Immigration Advisers

This page provides a concise guide to the EU Settlement Scheme and the new points-based immigration system, offering clear insights into the application processes, eligibility criteria, and rights under each status. Whether you’re securing your residency rights or planning a move to the UK, we can help to ensure a smoother transition to life in the UK.

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Comprehensive Guide to the EU Settlement Scheme

Table of Contents

UK Immigration for EEA Nationals and Their Families

EU Settlement Scheme Overview

The EU Settlement Scheme is designed for EEA and Swiss citizens, plus their families, who were residing in the UK by December 31, 2020. It offers two types of status based on how long you’ve lived in the UK:

  • Settled Status: For those who have lived in the UK for a continuous five-year period, providing the right to stay indefinitely.
  • Pre-Settled Status: For residents of less than five years, offering a path to Settled Status after completing five years in the UK.

Family Members’ Eligibility

Family members eligible under the scheme include spouses, civil partners, dependent children, and other dependent relatives. Demonstrating the relationship and dependency is crucial, especially for extended relatives.

Post-Brexit Immigration

Post January 1, 2021, EEA nationals moving to the UK need to apply through the UK’s points-based immigration system, similar to non-EEA nationals. This includes visas for work, study, and family reasons, each with specific criteria.

Key Points for EEA Nationals

  • EU Settlement Scheme: A vital step for EEA nationals who were in the UK before the end of 2020 to secure their residency rights.
  • Visas for New Arrivals: Those planning to move to the UK after Brexit will need to navigate the points-based system for the appropriate visa.

Understanding these key areas is crucial for EEA nationals and their families planning to reside in the UK post-Brexit. Seeking advice and preparing applications carefully are recommended steps for a smooth transition under the new rules.

EU Settlement Scheme

Understanding the EU Settlement Scheme

The EU Settlement Scheme was established to allow EU, EEA, and Swiss citizens, along with their family members, to obtain the necessary immigration status to continue living in the UK post-Brexit. This scheme recognises two forms of status: settled and pre-settled, depending on the duration of an individual’s residency in the UK.

Eligibility Criteria for the EU Settlement Scheme

Eligibility for the scheme hinges on whether individuals have lived in the UK by 31 December 2020, marking the end of the transition period post-Brexit. Those who have resided in the UK for five continuous years may be granted settled status, conferring permanent residence. Alternatively, individuals who have lived in the UK for less than five years are typically eligible for pre-settled status, a temporary residency leading to settled status upon reaching the five-year threshold. Eligibility extends to direct family members, including spouses, civil partners, dependent children, and parents, with provisions also available for durable partners and dependent relatives under specific circumstances.

Applying for the EU Settlement Scheme

Applications must be submitted from outside the UK, with the process entailing proof of identity, residency, and the relationship to an EU, EEA, or Swiss citizen if applying as a family member. Notably, the scheme mandates no fee for application submission, and applicants are exempt from the Immigration Health Charge. For family members outside the EEA, an EU Settlement Scheme Family Permit may be required for entry into the UK before applying for pre-settled or settled status.

Rights and Benefits

Both settled and pre-settled statuses afford individuals the right to work, study, and access public services, including healthcare under the NHS, in the UK. Settled status grants indefinite leave to remain, while pre-settled status allows a stay of up to five years, after which individuals may apply for settled status, assuming continuous residence in the UK.

Family Members and the EU Settlement Scheme

Family members of relevant EEA citizens can apply for the EU Settlement Scheme provided their relationship was established before 31 December 2020. The scheme covers spouses, civil partners, durable partners, dependent children, and dependent parents. It also accommodates family members of British citizens returning to the UK after living in the EEA, under certain conditions.

For comprehensive guidance and professional assistance in navigating the complexities of the EU Settlement Scheme, including application preparation and submission, feel free to contact our dedicated team of immigration specialists.

Additional Immigration Pathways for EEA Nationals

Derivative Rights of Residence

Derivative Rights of Residence offer an alternative immigration pathway for certain individuals who do not qualify under the standard criteria of the EU Settlement Scheme but derive rights from other specific circumstances as outlined by European Court of Justice case law. This status is primarily designed for non-EEA nationals who are the primary carers of British or EEA nationals, ensuring that these individuals can reside in the UK to continue their caregiving responsibilities.

Applicants must demonstrate their relationship to the EEA or British citizen, their role as a primary carer, and how their situation fits within the specified categories. Derivative rights do not lead directly to settled status but provide a legal basis for residence in the UK under specific conditions. Importantly, individuals with derivative rights are not required to apply for the EU Settlement Scheme but may choose to do so if they meet the eligibility criteria under another basis.

FAQ

Frequently Asked EU & EEA Visa Questions

Can EEA nationals continue to live in the UK post-Brexit?

Yes, EEA nationals who were residing in the UK by 31 December 2020 can apply to the EU Settlement Scheme to continue living in the UK. They need to secure either settled or pre-settled status, depending on the length of their continuous residence in the UK.

What is the difference between settled and pre-settled status?

Settled status is granted to individuals who have lived in the UK for a continuous period of five years, granting them the right to stay indefinitely. Pre-settled status is for those who have lived in the UK for less than five years, giving them the right to stay for a further five years and the opportunity to apply for settled status once they meet the five-year residency requirement.

How do EEA nationals apply for the EU Settlement Scheme?

Applications are made online through the UK Government’s website. Applicants must prove their identity, demonstrate their UK residence, and may need to show their relationship to a family member from the EEA or Switzerland if applying as a dependent.

Are family members of EEA nationals eligible to apply under the EU Settlement Scheme?

 Yes, close family members (such as spouses, civil partners, dependent children, and dependent parents) who are living in the UK by 31 December 2020 can apply. Family members outside the UK may also apply if they meet specific criteria and the relationship existed before 31 December 2020 and continues to exist.

What rights do individuals have under settled or pre-settled status?

Both statuses allow individuals to work, study, access public funds such as healthcare and benefits, and travel in and out of the UK. Settled status additionally provides a basis to apply for British citizenship.

Can EEA nationals enter the UK to work, study, or visit after Brexit?

EEA nationals coming to the UK from 1 January 2021 need to apply for permission under the UK’s immigration system. This includes visas for work, study, or visits. The type of visa required will depend on the nature and duration of their stay.

What happens if an EEA national does not apply to the EU Settlement Scheme by the deadline?

The deadline for applying was 30 June 2021 for most people, but late applications are considered if there are reasonable grounds for missing the deadline. Individuals without status may be subject to immigration enforcement, including removal from the UK.

Can EEA nationals apply for British citizenship?

EEA nationals with settled status can apply for British citizenship 12 months after obtaining settled status, provided they meet other criteria for naturalisation, including a good character assessment and passing the “Life in the UK” test.

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