Apply to the EU Settlement Scheme

You need to demonstrate, with evidence, that there are ‘reasonable grounds’ why you did not apply by the deadline of 30 June 2021. The Home Office will take a strict approach when looking at the reasons why the application has been submitted late.

If the Applicant’s reasons for a late application are accepted, a Certificate of Application will be issued.

If the Applicant’s reasons for a late application are not accepted, the application will be rejected as an invalid application. There is no right of Administrative Review or appeal against such a rejection.

What are ‘reasonable grounds’ for a late application? (overview)

In order for an application to be accepted as valid the Home Office has said that an evidential test must be satisfied. The Home Office’s guidance provides:

“In all cases, the relevant test is whether, on the balance of probabilities and based on all the information and evidence provided by the applicant or otherwise available to you, you are satisfied that, at the date of application, there are reasonable grounds for the person’s delay in making their application under the EU Settlement Scheme.”

 

What rule changes came into effect in August 2023?

Before 9 August 2023, the Home Office did not insist on evidence from the Applicant to support their reasons for why an application under the EUSS was late. This is because the Home Office took the approach that Applicants should be given the benefit of the doubt. From that date, this has changed to the disadvantage of new applicants in two ways:

Firstly, the Home Office will no longer give late Applicants the benefit of the doubt when considering their reasons for why an application is late. Applicants will need supporting evidence.

Secondly, what was previously accepted by the Home Office as a reasonable excuse for lateness is no longer accepted.

By way of a few examples, it will no longer be considered acceptable to be late in applying for any of these reasons:

– You did not know about the EUSS.
– You had limited English language skills.
– You were unable to access the internet.
– You overlooked the deadline to apply.
– The coronavirus pandemic and restrictions related to it prevented you from applying.

Furthermore, there is no longer a presumption that victims of modern slavery have reasonable grounds for making a late application.

Specifically, the August 2023 guidance states:

“… a person may state that they were unaware of the requirement to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme by the relevant deadline or that they failed to make an application by that deadline because they had no internet access, limited computer literacy or limited English language skills. These will generally no longer be considered reasonable grounds for their delay in making their application to the scheme, unless there are very compelling practical or compassionate reasons beyond those – such as lacking the physical or mental capacity to apply or having significant, ongoing care or support needs – which are already covered by this guidance.”

Examples of acceptable ‘reasonable grounds’ are covered in the next section.

What are examples of 'reasonable grounds' (from August 2023)?

Home Office guidance provides the following examples of late applicants who will be accepted as valid applicants:

  • A person who is exempt from immigration control
  • A person with existing limited leave to enter or remain
  • A person with existing indefinite leave to enter or remain
  • Children
    • Where a parent/guardian or local authority has failed to apply on behalf of a child who was under the age of 18 at the time of the deadline.
  • A person with physical or mental incapacity and/or care or support needs
    • Where a person lacks the physical or mental capacity to apply, and has continued to do since the deadline applied to them; or where a person has significant, ongoing care or support needs, and has continued to do so since the deadline applied to them. These will normally constitute reasonable grounds for the delay in making the application.
    • Evidence. The guidance provides the following examples of acceptable evidence of a serious medical
      condition or significant medical treatment:
      • a letter from a doctor or other health professional confirming the circumstances (including an outline of the serious medical condition or the significant medical treatment and its timing and duration)
      • a letter from a legal representative or other appropriate third party confirming the circumstances (including the nature, timing and duration of the serious medical condition or significant medical treatment)
  • A victim / survivor of an abusive or controlling relationship
    • The guidance provides that: “Where a person was prevented from applying to the EU Settlement Scheme by the deadline applicable to them because they are or were a victim of domestic violence or abuse (or the family member of such a victim), or they are or were otherwise in a controlling relationship or situation which prevented them from applying by the applicable deadline, that will normally constitute reasonable grounds for the person’s delay in making their application to the scheme.”
  • A person who serving a sentence of imprisonment at the time of the deadline

    • The Home Office guidance states that it may possible to demonstrate reasonable grounds if you were serving a prison sentence at the time of the deadline.

 

Can I make a 'repeat application'?

Home Office guidance says that if you had previously met the deadline it is unlikely that a new application will be accepted now as a late application.

Specifically, the Home Office says: “Where a person has already made an in-time application to the EU Settlement Scheme, and
this application has been refused, they will not normally be able to make a late application to the scheme based on there being reasonable grounds for their delay in making their application, as they previously met the deadline applicable to them.”

In relation to how the Home Office will consider repeat applications it says: “…there may be occasional circumstances in which there may be reasonable grounds for a refused, in-time applicant to make a late, further application to the scheme, such as, for example, where there is a good reason related to an underlying physical or mental condition why they did not engage with our attempts to contact them following an earlier, in-time application to obtain further information or evidence as to their eligibility for status under the scheme. Whether there are such reasonable grounds will depend on the particular circumstances of the case and the evidence provided.”

Therefore, in any repeat application, it will be necessary address the Home Office on why the Applicant did not engage with requests for evidence from the Home Office in an earlier applications, and to show that the reason related to an underlying physical or mental health condition. If this is not addressed, the application is likely to rejected as invalid.

 

What steps do I need to take?

If you are in the UK and you are yet to apply for status under the EUSS, make sure that you have all the relevant documents required to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme before you begin:

  • Proof of identity
  • Proof of continuous residence in the UK and (unless you’re applying to join a family member) that it started prior to 31 December 2020
  • Proof of your relationship to a family member, and their eligibility or status under the EU Settlement Scheme, if you’re applying to join or remain with them in the UK
  • If you are making a late application you need to have evidence which explains why you did not apply by the deadline.

If you have a valid EU biometric ID or a valid UK Biometric Residence Card, you can start the application process from the EU EXIT:ID Document Check App.

In all other cases you can start the application process from https://www.gov.uk/settled-status-eu-citizens-families/applying-for-settled-status

What immigration enforcement is possible if I don't have valid status?

It is no longer the policy of the Home Office to issue EU Nationals with 28-day notices to make applications under the EUSS.

There is therefore a strongly possibility that enforcement action will be taken against EU nationals who are in the UK without valid leave to remain.

Advice - hints or tips

The Home Office has said that it will take a ‘flexible and pragmatic approach’ to accepting late applications and will look for reasons to grant applications, not to refuse them.

Remember, if you did not apply by 30 June 2021, you will need to show ‘reasonable grounds’ for why you did not apply by the deadline.

Some reasonable grounds stated by the Home Office are (source https://www.gov.uk/settled-status-eu-citizens-families/eligibility):

  • you’re a child, or applying for your child, and you did not know you needed to apply
  • your parent, guardian or local authority did not apply for you when you were a child
  • you have, or had, a medical condition which prevented you from applying
  • you lacked the physical or mental capacity to apply
  • you have care or support needs, or those caring for you were unaware of the deadline
  • you’ve been the victim of modern slavery
  • you’ve been in an abusive or controlling relationship
  • you did not have internet access, or access to relevant documents
  • you came to the UK on a work or study visa and became eligible to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme while you were here, but did not know you could apply
  • you already have indefinite leave to enter or remain, and you did not know you could apply to the scheme
  • you had permanent residence status (PR card) or a residence document (such as a registration certificate) that stopped being valid after 30 June 2021, and you did not know you needed to apply to the scheme
  • you had difficulty accessing support to apply because of coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions
  • another compelling practical or compassionate reason that prevented you from applying

The application under the EU Settlement Scheme is free. However, there might be additional costs such as translations, biometric appointment fees, scanning centres fees or if you decide to seek professional legal advice.

I'm stuck. Where can I get more help?

The UK government runs the EU Settlement Scheme Resolution Centre, which can help you with your EUSS application. You can contact them online here: https://eu-settled-status-enquiries.service.gov.uk/ Alternatively you can call them on the following numbers:

From within the UK: 0300 123 7379
Monday to Friday (excluding bank holidays), 8am to 8pm
Saturday and Sunday, 9:30am to 4:30pm
You can find out more about call charges here: https://www.gov.uk/call-charges

From outside the UK: +44 (0)203 080 0010
Monday to Friday (excluding bank holidays), 8am to 8pm
Saturday and Sunday, 9:30am to 4:30pm

Settled is here for you if you require further help with your EU Settlement Scheme issue. We provide free, mulltilingual advice, accredited by the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner (OISC).

Please call us on 0330 223 5336 or email [email protected]

Changes to pre-settled rules

The Home Office announced some changes to EUSS pre-settled status rules on 21st May.

Please do not contact Settled to ask about these changes until we are clearer, as otherwise our service may become overwhelmed.

It is important that we can continue to respond effectively to beneficiaries in need of urgent casework advice and support.
 
We are waiting for more detail, and will update our website information, Facebook forums, and leaflets as soon as possible. Many thanks for your patience and understanding.

The Home Office announcement is here.

We’re here to help you with your Settled Status to remain in the UK. We have 100 volunteers on hand who can provide advice in all EU lanaguages.

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