Settled status and bringing your non-EU spouse to the UK
Before the UK voted for Brexit there wasn’t that much debate about how coming out of the EU would affect the millions of EU citizens who have made the UK their home but are in relationships with non-EU partners. For those who take an interest in immigration law it is often assumed that EU nationals living in the UK are protected from the end of the Brexit transition period and the cessation of free movement by being able to apply for settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme. However, UK immigration solicitors say that many EU nationals are contacting London settled status solicitors worried about whether, in light of Brexit, they will be able to reunite their family and bring their non-EU spouse to the UK.
UK Immigration solicitors
If you are an EU national with questions about your non-EU spouse’s right to join you in the UK and you need advice on the settled status and the EU Settlement Scheme call the immigration solicitors at London based OTS Solicitors on 0203 959 9123 or contact us online. Appointments can be arranged via video call, Skype or telephone.
The end of the EEA family permit
You may have thought that an EEA family permit would be the answer to your bringing your non-EEA spouse to the UK but EEA family permits expire on the 30 June 2021. That’s because the EEA family permit is part of EU regulations, and with Brexit, the EEA family permit has an expiry date of the 30 June 2021, even if there is additional time left on your family member’s permit.
At the moment your family member can still apply for an EEA family permit. In some family scenarios that may be your best option because of the range of family members who are eligible to apply for an EEA family permit in comparison to other options. However, as the EEA family permit expires on the 30 June 2021, the non-EU spouse would need to make a further application to stay in the UK after the 30 June 2021. If you aren’t sure whether the EEA family permit is the best route for your family member speak to a UK immigration solicitor.
What is the EUSS family permit
The EUSS family permit relates to the EU Settlement Scheme and in essence replaces the EEA family permit that’s ending on the 30 June 2021.
The EU Settlement Scheme family permit allows a spouse or close family member of an EU national (including EEA nationals and those from Switzerland, Iceland, Norway and Lichtenstein) who was living in the UK by the 31 December 2020, to join the EU national in the UK. The family permit is for up to six months.
To secure an EUSS family permit the applicant doesn’t have to be an EU national as the family permit is open to both EEA and non-EEA applicants. The essential requisite to a successful application is the nature of the tie or relationship between the applicant and the EU national. In addition, the EU national must have been living in the UK before the 31 December 2020 to enable the EUSS family permit applicant to apply.
An application can be made for an EUSS family permit if you:
- Have lived in the EU, EEA or Switzerland as the close family member of a British citizen or
- You have a retained right of residence.
How long does the EUSS Family Permit last for?
The EUSS family permit is normally granted for six months but the family permit will only last for four months if you plan to arrive in the UK after the 1 April 2021 and you make your application and get it approved more than three months before the planned trip to the UK.
Is there a deadline to apply for the EUSS family permit?
Unlike the cut-off date for settled status and pre-settled status applications under the EU Settlement Scheme, there is no deadline date by which an EUSS family permit application has to be made by.
Can you work while in the UK on a EUSS family permit?
A successful EUSS family permit applicant can work or study whilst in the UK on the family permit. The permit holder isn’t restricted to Employment with an employer who holds a Sponsor Licence issued by the Home Office.
Eligibility criteria for the EUSS family permit
The eligibility criteria for the EUSS family permit are complicated. That is because the eligibility criteria relevant to the application is dependent on whether the EUSS family permit applicant is looking to join a close family member in the UK who:
- Is a British citizen or
- Is an EU national or EEA citizen or
- Has a retained right of residence.
In addition to working out what group you belong to in the above three groups (and therefore what eligibility criteria applies to your close family member applying for an EUSS family permit) the EUSS family permit applicant will need to be your:
- Spouse – husband or wife or
- Civil partner or
- Unmarried durable partner – a durable relationship is one where you have lived together in a relationship like a marriage or civil partnership for at least two years or where the Home Office accepts that there is other evidence of a durable relationship.
Whether you are married, in a civil partnership or in an unmarried durable relationship the important point is that the EUSS family permit applicant will have to show:
- That the relationship was in existence on the 31 December 2020
- That the relationship is ongoing – you can't have separated or got divorced.
Applying for an EUSS family permit
An application for an EUSS family permit is made online with supporting documents needing to be provided, such as:
- Evidence of identity – such as a passport or in some cases an identity card
- Evidence of nationality
- Evidence of relationship – such as the marriage certificate or civil partnership certificate or evidence of the durable relationship
- Evidence that the close family member who was living in the UK before the 31 December 2020 has either secured pre-settled status or settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme or is entitled to settled status. In other words, you don’t have to apply for settled status to bring a family member to the UK on the EUSS family permit scheme but you will need to prove that you are entitled to make an application under the EU Settlement Scheme.
Settling in the UK after entry on an EUSS family permit
If you are the close family member of an EU national and you and they were living in the UK before the 31 December 2020 then you may be able to apply for pre-settled status or settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme in your own right even though you aren’t an EU national. The cut-off date for a settled status application is the 30 June 2021.
If you enter the UK on a EUSS family permit after the 31 December 2020 to join a close family member then your family permit will last a maximum of six months. The Immigration rules say that if you join your family member after the 1 April 2021 then you are able to apply for settlement within three months of your arrival. If you don’t apply for settlement within this three-month period then you will have to show reasonable grounds as to why you didn’t do so when bringing a later application.
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, Skype or by telephone.