News & Insights

EU Settlement Scheme Deadline & late applications

The deadline for applying to the EU Settlement Scheme expires on the 30 June 2021.

From 1 July 2021 EU, EEA and Swiss citizens living in the UK will be here unlawfully, unless they have applied for the pre-settled or settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme.

An application after the deadline is possible if there are “reasonable grounds” to do so. The Home Office has released a non-exhaustive list of reasonable grounds that permit a late application, including:

  • Children (including children in care and care leavers)

Where a parent, guardian or local authority fails to apply for a child. The reasons why the failure to apply occurred       does not need to be considered by the Home Office.

  • Physical or mental capacity and/or care or support needs

These claims will need to be supported by evidence relating to the mental and physical health as well as evidence of legal authority for a third party to act on behalf of the person lacking capacity, if applicable.

  • Serious medical condition or significant medical treatment

If a person is suffering a serious medical condition or is undergoing significant medical treatment around the deadline, this will constitute a reasonable ground.

  • Victim of modern slavery

Where a person was prevented from applying because they are a victim of modern slavery.

  • Abusive or controlling relationship or situation

Where a person was prevented from applying as they were a victim of domestic violence or abuse (or a family member of such a victim). There will be no need to provide specific evidence, any evidence, information or other factors will be considered by the Home Office, which should be taking flexible and pragmatic.

  • Other compelling practical or compassionate reasons

This includes all kinds of possible scenarios, including a person being unaware of the requirement to apply, because of the lack of internet access, limited computer literacy, limited English language skills, lack of permanent accommodations and other. The COVID-19 pandemic is explicitly referred to as a reason which may prevent a person from applying. This could include, for example, difficulties with gathering evidence or identity documents because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • Ceasing to be exempt from immigration control

A person exempt from immigration control beyond the 30 June 2021 can make an application within 90 days from the date on which they cease to be exempt.

  • Existing limited leave to enter or remain

Where a person has limited leave, they can apply any time after their limited leave expires so long as they have reasonable grounds for applying late.

  • Document or status under the EEA Regulations

A person holding a residence document under the EEA Regulations with an expire date later than 30 June 2021 may not realise that they need to apply for leave to remain under the EUSS.

Each case will be considered on the individual circumstances.  However, the more time that passes after the deadline, the harder it will be to satisfy the reasonable grounds for the failure to meet the deadline.

Pre-settled status

The Settlement Scheme will remain open for years to come to enable an individual with pre-settled status to apply to upgrade to settled status. The deadline will be unique to every individual, as the application deadline will be the date of expiry of their pre-settled status.

Immigration Enforcement

If an immigration officer meets an EU citizen after the 30 June and they seem to fall within the scope of the Scheme, they will be issued with a written notice to give them the opportunity to make a valid application.  This should give them the opportunity to make a valid application under the Settlement Scheme within 28 days of the date of the notice.

Note for employers

It is not your responsibility to make sure your EU employees have applied. There will be no need to carry out retrospective Right to Work Checks on existing employees. However, from 1 July onwards EU, EEA and Swiss applicants and employees will have to demonstrate their right to work either with the pre-settled or settled status, or another visa under the immigration system.

If you have any questions about the contents of this article or if you need any assistance, please contact [email protected] in our Immigration team.