- 8 minute read
- Last updated: 27th November 2019
Appendix EU of the UK Immigration Rules forms the basis upon which an EEA citizen and their family members, and the family members of a qualifying British citizen, will be granted limited or indefinite leave to enter or remain in the UK.
These provisions are designed to offer EU, EEA and Swiss citizens living in the UK, together with their eligible family members, the opportunity to protect their rights after the UK leaves the EU.
This article covers:
In short, Appendix EU brings the Brexit withdrawal agreement into the UK immigration rules and is drafted on the premise that the UK and the EU will agree a deal such that the draft withdrawal agreement comes into force in the UK.
Under the provisions of Appendix EU, certain EU, EEA and Swiss citizens must apply for a new immigration status known as EU settled status or pre-settled status to continue living in the UK after 30 June 2021 under the EU Settlement Scheme.
The type of status you will be granted will depend on how long you have lived in the UK at the date of your application. If you have lived in the UK for 5 years or more on a continuous basis, you should be granted settled status.
Settled status will allow you to live and work in the UK indefinitely. You will also be able to apply for British citizenship 12 months after you have been granted settled status, subject to satisfying all the other relevant criteria.
However, under Appendix EU, continuity of residence requires absences from the UK of no more than 6 months in any 12-month period during the course of the 5 year qualifying timeframe.
If, on the hand, you have lived in the UK for less than 5 years at the date of your application, you will be granted pre-settled status. This will allow you to remain in the UK for a period of 5 years, at which stage you will need to make a further application once you have acquired the requisite period of continuous residence for settled status.
To be eligible for pre-settled status, you must have started living in the UK by 31 December 2020, or by the date the UK leaves the EU without a deal.
In most cases, you can apply under the provisions of Appendix EU by way of the EU settlement scheme if you fall into one of the following categories:
- You are from the EU, EEA or Switzerland
- You are a family member of someone from the EU, EEA or Switzerland
Non-EU family members living in the UK by 31 December 2020, or the date the UK leaves the EU in the event of no deal, are also eligible to apply under the scheme. Further, any close family members who are not living in the UK by 31 December 2020, or the date the UK leaves the EU, may also still be able to join their EU family member in the UK at some point in the future.
For those who are not an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen, you may be able to apply under the provisions of Appendix EU where:
- You used to have an EU, EEA or Swiss family member living in the UK, but you have separated or they have died
- You are the family member of a British citizen and you lived outside the UK in an EEA country together
- You are the family member of a British citizen who also has EU, EEA or Swiss citizenship and who lived in the UK as an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen before getting British citizenship
- You are the primary carer of a British, EU, EEA or Swiss citizen
- You are the child of an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen who used to live and work in the UK, or the child’s primary carer
- In addition to the continuous residence requirement, under Appendix EU there are also suitability requirements that must be met. As such, you will be asked to declare convictions that appear in your criminal record in the UK or overseas
Further, as part of the application process, the Home Office will check you have not committed serious or repeated crimes, and that you do not pose a security threat. If you have been convicted of a serious criminal offence, committed significant immigration breaches or have provided false or misleading information to the Home Office, your application is likely to be refused.
The final deadline to apply under the EU Settlement Scheme is 30 June 2021, or 31 December 2020 if the UK leaves the EU without a deal. Your rights will remain unchanged until then, provided that you were resident in the UK by 31 December 2020, or the date the UK leaves the EU.
If you are due to acquire 5 years continuous residence at any point prior to 30 December 2020, you may want to consider delaying your application. In this way, subject to the Home Office being satisfied that you have met all the other requirements set out under Appendix EU, you will be granted settled rather than pre-settled status from the outset.
In most cases you will be able to use an online application form to apply under Appendix EU, although there are certain categories of non-EEA applicants who will need to apply using a postal form.
All applications are free of charge. If you have already applied under the scheme and paid a fee you should be eligible for a refund.
In support of your application you will need the following documentation:
- An identity document, such as a valid passport, national identity card or biometric residence permit
- Proof of your residence in the UK
- A national insurance number to prove how long you have lived in the UK
In the event that you are unable to provide your national insurance number, or there are gaps in your NI record, you will need alternative documentation to prove how long you have lived in the UK. However, to fall within the scope of Appendix EU, you are only required to have been resident in the UK just prior to the cut-off date, so long as you can document this.
If you are not an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen, you will also need documentation to prove your relationship to a relevant family member.
For online applications you can either scan your documents using the ‘EU Exit: ID Document Check’ app for android devices or, alternatively, send your documents in the post and upload your photo using the online application. The iphone app is not due to be available until 2020.
*Please note, this article was accurate at the time of writing and details of the EU Settlement Scheme, and applying for Home Office settled status as set out above, may alter depending on the terms on which the UK. leaves the EU.