March 8th, 2019 / Insight posted in Articles

Brexit: guidance for EU citizens living in the UK

As Brexit approaches and its final shape is not yet clear, we appreciate it can be an unsettling time for EU citizens. The government has published some guidance which we summarise below.

Overview of the EU Settlement Scheme
Under the proposed withdrawal agreement, if you’re an EU citizen and want to continue living in the UK after 30 June 2021, you and your family need to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme. If your application is successful, you’ll be given either settled or pre-settled status.

The EU Settlement Scheme allows you and your family members to continue to live, work and study in the UK. It means you continue to be eligible for:

  • public services, such as healthcare and schooling
  • public funds and pensions
  • British citizenship, if you meet the requirements and want to apply.

Who should apply
If you’re an EU citizen or a family member of an EU citizen and want to stay in the UK after 30 June 2021, you need to apply. This includes if you’re married to a British citizen. If you have a ‘UK permanent residence document’, you still need to apply.

If you’re from outside the EU, you must be in a relationship with an EU citizen as their spouse, civil partner or unmarried partner. You need a residence card to prove your relationship if you’re unmarried.

You don’t not need to apply if:

  • you’re an Irish citizen
  • you have indefinite leave to enter the UK
  • you have indefinite leave to remain in the UK

Your family members from outside either the UK or Ireland still need to apply even if you don’t need to.

When you can apply
The government is currently in the process of piloting the EU Settlement Scheme. The pilot was opened to a select group of EU citizens although its scope is being increased.

EU citizens with valid passports containing biometric chips or non-EU citizens who are the family members of an EU citizen and have been issued with a biometric residence card by the Home Office can already apply now, as long as you are also one of the following:

  • working in higher education, health or social care
  • a child under the age of 18 being looked after by one of the local authorities involved in the pilot or eligible for support or assistance from one of those local authorities because you were looked after by them as a child
  • receiving support from one of the community organisations involved in the pilot.

You must use the EU Exit: ID Document Check app, which is currently only compatible with the Android platform on tablets and smartphones. The app verifies the applicant’s identity by reading the biometric data in their passport or residence card.

For those without biometric identity documents or access to an Android device, the scheme is due to be fully open by 30 March 2019. The deadline for applying is 30 June 2021.

There is no fee when the scheme opens fully on 30 March. Anyone who has applied already, or who applies and pays a fee during the pilot phase, will have their fee refunded.

Extensive information on what you need to do and when is available here.