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EU Settlement Visa

EUSS family permit

The EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS) Family Permit is available to non-EEA citizens who wish to come to the UK in order to join or accompany a close family member who is a relevant EEA citizen.

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The EU Settlement Scheme is an initiative by the UK government, designed to secure the immigration status of EU, EEA, and Swiss citizens, along with their family members, post-Brexit. It encapsulates a pathway for these individuals to apply for either pre-settled or settled status, ensuring their right to continue residing in the UK

Key to this process is the deadline of June 30, 2021, for applications, punctuating the urgency for eligible parties to secure their status. At BPA Immigration Lawyers, we specialise in guiding our clients through the EU Settlement Scheme, leveraging our expertise to navigate the complexities of immigration law and secure their stay in the UK.

Understanding the EU Settlement Scheme

Categories of Settlement Status

The EU Settlement Scheme delineates two primary categories: pre-settled status and settled status. Pre-settled status is designated for individuals who have resided in the UK for less than five years. Conversely, settled status is applicable to those who have lived in the UK for five years or more, allowing them the right to live and work indefinitely within the UK, access public funds, and potentially apply for British citizenship if they meet other criteria.

Eligibility and Rights

Eligibility for the EU Settlement Scheme mandates that applicants must have started living in the UK by December 31, 2020. This includes family members whose relationships began by the same date. Importantly, rights afforded under both statuses include working in the UK, free access to the NHS, the ability to enroll in education or continue studying, and eligibility for public funds. Additionally, both statuses allow for travel in and out of the UK. It’s crucial to maintain continuous residence as defined by the scheme to retain these statuses.

Application Process and Considerations

Applying for the EU Settlement Scheme requires proof of identity, UK residence, and a clean criminal record. The application is free, and those who apply receive a certificate of application, ensuring their rights are protected until a decision is made. It’s also vital for applicants to understand the implications of absences from the UK, as spending extensive time abroad can lead to the loss of their pre-settled or settled status. For comprehensive guidance and assistance through the application process, organisations like Citizens Advice and the Law Centres Network offer invaluable support.

Key Eligibility Criteria and Application Process

Who Can Apply and Application Deadline

  1. Eligibility for the Scheme: The EU Settlement Scheme is open to EU, Swiss, Norwegian, Icelandic, and Liechtenstein citizens, along with their family members, provided they were residents in the UK before the end of the transition period on December 31, 2020. This ensures that a wide range of individuals can secure their status in the UK post-Brexit.
  2. Deadline and Late Applications: Initially, the deadline to apply was June 30, 2021. However, for those who missed this deadline, applications may still be accepted if there are reasonable grounds for the delay. This provides a crucial lifeline for eligible individuals who, for various reasons, were unable to apply on time.

Application Process and Fees

  • How to Apply: Applications can be made using a laptop, Android device, or iPhone, catering to the digital convenience of applicants. The process involves providing personal information which the Home Office reviews to decide on the application’s approval.
  • No Application Fee: It’s free to apply to the scheme, removing financial barriers and making the process accessible to all eligible applicants.

Types of Status and Criminality Check

  • Settled and Pre-Settled Status: Applicants are eligible for settled status if they have lived in the UK for at least five years. Those who have lived in the UK for less than five years are eligible for pre-settled status. Both statuses allow individuals to work, study, and access public services in the UK.
  • Criminality Screening: Applicants aged 18 and over must disclose any criminal history in the UK and overseas. However, minor offenses do not disqualify an applicant from obtaining either settled or pre-settled status, ensuring that the scheme is fair and just.

This section outlines the essential eligibility criteria and application process for the EU Settlement Scheme, guiding potential applicants through the steps necessary to secure their residency status in the UK.

Common Challenges and Legal Solutions

At BPA Immigration Lawyers, we recognise the complexities and challenges faced by applicants of the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS). Our expert team is committed to providing legal solutions that address these issues effectively.

Challenges During the Transitional Period

The deadline for the EUSS was set for June 30, 2021, but the COVID-19 crisis has significantly impacted the support systems necessary for a smooth transition. Particularly vulnerable groups, including the elderly, children of EU citizens, and victims of domestic abuse, have faced hurdles due to reduced assistance. These individuals often struggle with accessing the necessary information and support to complete their applications correctly.

Issues with Pre-Settled Status

A noticeable increase in the grants of Pre-Settled Status, which does not guarantee permanent residency or access to welfare benefits, poses another significant challenge. The ambiguity around transitioning from Pre-Settled to Settled Status after five years adds to the uncertainty. Our lawyers assist clients in gathering the requisite documentation and provide representation in cases where the Home Office requests further evidence, ensuring that every application has the best chance of success.

Legal Interventions and Support for Vulnerable Groups

We are particularly concerned about children in care and victims of domestic abuse who may lack the necessary documentation to apply. Following the concerns raised by the Parliament Committee, our firm offers specialised legal services to help these vulnerable groups navigate the complexities of the application process. Additionally, we guide clients through the appeals process, which can be daunting, and provide support for those affected by the High Court ruling on the rights of EUSS status holders with less than five years of continuous residence.

Contact BPA Immigration Lawyers for Advice

At BPA Immigration Lawyers, we are dedicated to assisting you through every step of the EU Settlement Scheme. Should you need personalised guidance or face any challenges during your application process, our team is here to help. You can reach us directly at 0204 586 5017, where our knowledgeable staff will provide comprehensive support tailored to your specific circumstances.

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