Applying for Settled Status – Does the 30 June 2021 Deadline Apply to you?
A look at late applications to the EU Settlement Scheme
The clock is ticking down to the deadline date for applying for settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme. At the moment only UK immigration solicitors appear to be acutely aware that time is running out for EU nationals to secure pre-settled status or settled status.
From the 1 July 2021, EU citizens as well as EEA and Swiss nationals living in the UK without having made an application for settled status, won't be able to legally stay in the UK. That’s because with the end of free movement they won't have the right to live and work in the UK without either a successful EU Settlement Scheme application or a points-based immigration system visa.
UK Immigration Solicitors
Applying late for settled status
If you are one of the many EU nationals who hasn’t yet applied for settled status you may be working under the assumption that the UK government will extend the deadline of the 30 June 2021 for settled status applications. That isn’t a surprising attitude as we all remember that throughout the Brexit negotiations deadlines came and went and extensions to cut-off dates were granted, often at the very last moment. When it comes to the settled status application deadline UK immigration solicitors doubt that the deadline date of the 30 June 2021 will be extended.
Some people will be able to apply late for settled status provided that they meet the Home Office criteria for a late application. Immigration solicitors say that if you are in a position to apply for pre-settled status or settled status now you should do so rather than risk being told that you don’t meet the eligibility criteria for a late settled status application.
If you are concerned about making the settled status application because you are worried about your paperwork, or for any other reason, then get legal advice now. Immigration solicitors can make the settled status application process as straight forward as possible with a same day settled status application service and expert advice on the paperwork needed in support of your application.
Who can apply late for settled status?
The Home Secretary has said that EU citizens, as well as EEA and Swiss nationals, living in the UK before the 31 December 2020 can apply for settled status after the closing date for applications on the 30 June 2021 provided that the applicant has “reasonable grounds to apply late”.
In April 2021, the Home Office produced guidance on late settled status applications and what is meant by ‘’reasonable grounds’’ for a late application.
The guidance applies to situations where Home Office officials are dealing with:
- A late application for pre-settled status or settled status made after the 30 June 2021 and
- A late application to convert pre-settled status to settled status. An application to convert to settled status is defined as late if it is made after the person’s pre-settled status has expired.
What are reasonable grounds for delaying a settled status application
The Home Office guidance doesn’t give a definitive list of circumstances that amount to reasonable grounds to delay making a settled status application or an application to convert pre-settled status to settled status.
The April 2021 Home Office guidance does give some examples of ‘’reasonable grounds’’, such as:
- The applicant has a serious medical condition or was receiving significant medical treatment at the time of the settled status application deadline. Medical evidence will be needed.
- The applicant has impaired physical or mental capacity and/or care or support needs. The Home Office will require evidence of the incapacity.
- An application on behalf of a child including cases where a child is in the care of the local authority as a looked after child or under a care order. There is no requirement for the Home Office official to obtain details of the reasons why a child’s parent or social worker failed to act to make the application.
- The applicant is a victim of modern slavery. This includes human trafficking and other forms of modern slavery.
- The applicant is in an abusive or controlling relationship. This includes all types of domestic abuse. There is no formal requirement for medical evidence or a police referral but some evidence will be needed.
- A compelling or practical reason or for compassionate reasons. This might encompass someone who had suffered a bereavement or who could not understand the English language or who was in immigration detention. However, it doesn’t encompass someone who simply forgot to apply or who was too busy at work to make their settled status
Most EU nationals living in the UK won't fall within one of the above exemptions. However, the Home Office guidance gives a bit of leeway to Home Office officials as it says that applicants who apply late for settled status will be given the benefit of the doubt if they apply after the 30 June 2021 deadline and explain their failure to apply for settled status on time. Immigration solicitorscaution that no one knows how long Home Office officials will give the benefit of the doubt for and how strictly ‘’compelling or practical’’ reasons will be viewed when there is a late application after any initial grace period.
If you are an EU citizen or an EEA or Swiss national who is living in the UK and you haven’t made an application for settled status or pre-settled status then it is best to do so now rather than wait until after the cut-off date. With specialist immigration legal advice your application can be made even if you are worried or have questions about your eligibility or your documentation.
UK immigration solicitors
Our friendly specialist London based immigration solicitors can answer your EU Settlement Scheme questions and look at your immigration options. For the best advice on entry clearance to the UK call OTS Solicitors on 0203 959 9123or complete our online enquiry form. Appointments are available through video conference or by telephone.