The EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS), many of you will know, was set up in response to Brexit to allow EU, non-EU EEA and Swiss citizens and their eligible family members to apply to enter or continue to stay in the UK before the end of the Brexit transition period the opportunity to protect their residence in the UK after this period had ended. The official deadline to get on the scheme was 30 June 2021.
However, the purpose of this article is not to repeat information relating to the EUSS, as we have covered this topic well in such previous as A Clearance of the Past? – How Can You Benefit From the EU Settlement Scheme? and EU Settlement Scheme – Coronavirus related absences to be overlooked by Home Office? This article concerns those who missed the deadline of the EUSS and what options there are available in terms of late or alternative applications.
Later deadlines apply to some people
For some people, the deadline of 30 June 2021 did not apply. This is true if you are one of the following:
- the family member of someone from the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein who was living here by 31 December 2020, and you joined them in the UK on or after 1 April 2021
- applying for your child, who was born or adopted in the UK on or after 1 April 2021
- 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
- exempt from immigration control, or you stopped being exempt from immigration control after 30 June 2021
- here with limited leave to enter or remain in the UK (for example, if you are here on a work or study visa) which expired after 30 June 2021
- a family member of a British citizen who you lived with in the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein – you must have lived with them in that country by 30 December 2020, and returned to the UK with them
When do such people need to apply?
- If you are applying as a family member to join someone in the UK, you have 90 days to apply from when you arrive in the UK. This only applies if you join them in the UK on or after 1 April 2021. If you joined them before that date, your deadline to apply was 30 June 2021.
- If you are applying for your child who was born or adopted in the UK on or after 1 April 2021, you have 90 days from when they were born or adopted. If they were born or adopted in the UK before that date, your deadline to apply was 30 June 2021.
- If you are the family member of an eligible person of Northern Ireland, and they could not move back to the UK without you by 31 December 2020, you have 90 days to apply from when you arrive in the UK.
- If you are exempt from immigration control, you do not have to apply to the scheme. If you choose to do so, you can apply at any time. If you stop being exempt, you will have 90 days to apply.
- If you have limited leave to enter or remain in the UK which expires after 30 June 2021, you must apply before your leave expires.
- If you are applying as a family member of a British citizen who you lived with in the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein, you must apply by 29 March 2022.
It is important that potential applicants find out the deadline that applies to their precise situation, as it is not a one size fits all matter. We are here to answer any questions you may have regarding this issue.
Reasonable grounds for late applications
If the original deadline would have applied to you in regular circumstances, there are some circumstances that will be considered reasonable and allow you to continue to apply even after the relevant deadline if you have missed it.
- 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 (this may include both mental and physical health issues).
- 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. For more information regarding vulnerable people and the EU Settlement Scheme, see our article EU Settlement Scheme – Do not fall through the cracks!
- where a person was unable to apply by the relevant deadline for compelling practical or compassionate reasons – including in light of the coronavirus pandemic
Once again, this list is not extensive and it is likely that other scenarios may render late applications reasonable. It is always worth talking through your situation with a legal advisor. In any case, the sooner an application is made the better.
What do we think?
We are pleased to see that these allowances are being made for alternative and late applicants. The EUSS was notoriously confusing and many people were vague on its details and requirements. It is understandable that many people missed the deadline, and to punish them for it would be immoral. Where vulnerable people are concerned, we are of the opinion that more support should have been offered by the Home Office in the first place. While there were some advertisements regarding the scheme, over the radio and occasionally the television, these were few and far between and did not cater towards vulnerable individuals. For something so important, you would think more advice and support would have been readily available.
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