In the UK before Brexit

[UPDATED 17 August] ID document scanner locations still closed but postal route for submitting identity documents reopened

Non-European family members and Europeans who do not hold a biometric passport are unable to apply for Pre-Settled or Settled status through the Android or Apple iOs phone app. Normally they would instead attend an ID document scanner location or post their documents to the Home Office to be scanned, however, on 30 March the Home Office informed that these services had been suspended due to coronavirus. As a result, Non-European family members, and Europeans who cannot apply through the phone app for any reason, were not able to apply for Pre-Settled or Settled status.

On 17 August the Home Office confirmed that while the ID scanner locations are still closed, it is now possible to submit identity, and other supporting, documents by post so applications can now be submitted online by those unable to apply through the Android or iPhone app.

Please contact either james.baker@admin.ox.ac.uk or tim.currie@admin.ox.ac.uk in the Staff Immigration Team with any queries.

 

As a deal was agreed before the UK left the EU on 31 January 2020, the rights of Europeans and their family members who were resident in the UK before Brexit, and those who arrive before the end of the transition period on 31 December 2020, remain the same.

  • Europeans and their family members who were resident in the UK before the exit date (31 January 2020) should apply for Pre-Settled or Settled status before 31 December 2020, but we understand the latest deadline for applications will be 30 June 2021. See the Home Office website for more information on continuing to live in the UK.
  • Those who have arrived after the exit date (31 January 2020), but during the transition period, must apply for Pre-Settled or Settled status before 31 December 2020 if they intend to stay in the UK. If they will leave the UK before the end of 2020, however, they do not need to apply for anything. See the Home Office website for more information on visiting the UK

Pre-Settled status is granted to those who have been living in the UK for less than five years, Settled status is for those who have lived in the UK for five years or more.

When applying the Home Office check the applicant's tax 'footprint' (i.e. the length of time they have been paying tax over, they do not look at details of taxes) as the quickest way to establish is they have lived in the UK for five years or more. If an applicant has gaps in, or no, tax history because they have been a student, directly funded by a fellowship, or have been out of work they are given the opportunity to provide other documents to evidence their residence in the UK. If they cannot evidence five years residence in the UK they will be granted Pre-Settled rather than Settled status but can apply again later for Settled status.

If you wish to discuss your status or have questions about the EU Settlement Scheme, or any other issues discussed in our Brexit pages, please contact either james.baker@admin.ox.ac.uk or tim.currie@admin.ox.ac.uk in the Staff Immigration Team.

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As a deal was agreed before the UK left the EU the rights of European nationals, and their family members who are already resident in the UK, or arrive before the end of the transition period on 31 December 2020, remain unchanged.

Even in the event of a 'no deal' Brexit if had been officially stated, by both the UK and the EU, that that the rights of Europeans and their family members already living in the UK, and vice versa, will be respected.

As a deal was agreed before the UK left the EU the following information on 'no deal' scenarios are no longer relevant but are retained for information.

 

In a new policy paper published on 4 September 2019 the UK government has confirmed that even in a 'no deal' scenario the EU Settlement Scheme will continue to run for those already in the UK.

Agreements between the UK and Switzerland (on 20 December 2018), and between the UK and the EEA EFTA states (Iceland, Liechtenstein, & Norway) (on 8 February 2019) confirm that the rights of EEA and Swiss nationals living in the UK before Brexit will be protected in the same way whether a deal is reached or not.

 
 

The EU countries are:

Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Republic of Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and the UK.

The EEA includes EU countries and also Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway. It allows them to be part of the EU’s single market.

Switzerland is neither an EU nor EEA member but is part of the single market which means Swiss nationals have the same rights to live and work in the UK as other EEA nationals.

Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland together form the European Free Trade Association (EFTA).

Irish nationals automatically have settled rights in the UK under ‘Common Travel Area’ (CTA) arrangements which date from before Ireland and the UK joined the EU. Irish nationals do not need to apply for settled status, but they can apply if they wish.

The UK and Irish governments in May 2019 signed a Memorandum of Understanding reaffirming their joint commitment to the CTA. More information is provided in UK government guidance on rights under the CTA.

Non-European family members of European nationals resident in the UK, or moving to the UK before 31 December 2020, will need to apply for and be issued a 'Family Permit' before travelling to the UK.

Before the UK left the EU it was possible in some cases for non-European family members to be issued a 'Family Permit' as they entered the UK with their European family member, but now a Family Permit must always be obtained before travel to the UK.

There are currently two different types of Family Permit which non-Europeans can apply for:

  • EU Settlement Scheme Family Permit - where applications are made under the new EU Settlement Scheme rules. The European family member must come to the UK first and obtains Pre-Settled status, and then the non-European family member applies (from outside the UK) quoting the reference number from their partner’s Pre-Settled status (to show they were in the UK before the end of the transition period on 31 December 2020) with evidence of their relationship.
  • EU Family Permit - where applications are made under the old EU free movement rules which still apply until the end of the transition period on 31 December 2020. The European family member does not have to come to the UK first as the non-European partner can apply (again from outside the UK) stating that they will be coming to the UK together. As this is under the old rules, however, they will need to provide evidence that the European will be working in the UK in addition to evidence of their relationship.

In either case, once the non-European family member has come to the UK they can present their 'Family Permit' to evidence their right to work, right to rent, and to be able to open a bank account. They must then apply for Pre Settled status before 31 December 2020.

Home Office guidance on applications for both types of 'Family Permit' is found on their pages about joining your European family member in the UK. The Staff Immigration Team can help with queries about applying for a 'Family Permit', and which type may be more appropriate to your circumstances. Please contact either: james.baker@admin.ox.ac.uk or tim.currie@admin.ox.ac.uk

The EU Settlement Scheme opened fully on 30 March 2019 but as there will be no change to the rights and status of EU, EEA & Swiss citizens living in the UK until 2021 there is still time to apply. You and your family can apply for 'Pre Settled' or ‘Settled' status at any point up to 31 December 2020 to continue living in the UK thereafter. Applicants who have been resident in the UK for less than five years when they apply will be granted Pre-Settled status, those who can show they have been resident in the UK for five years or more should be granted Settled status.

Close family members (children, spouses and partners) of Europeans will be able to join them in the UK, or travel to the UK with them, where the relationship is formed before 31 December 2020.

If you already hold a Permanent Residence card you can apply to swap this for Settled status.

 

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The EU Settlement Scheme opened fully on 30 March 2019. There is no application fee but non-European family members may have to pay a fee when booking an appointment to submit their biometric information (have their fingerprints and photograph taken) as part of their application.

Applications are made online and the simplest way to apply is through the Android app which scans the applicant’s passport. As no data is stored in the app applicants can borrow a friend or family member’s Android phone if they do not have one.

The Home Office have launched a version of the app for iPhone users. The new app is available for iPhone 7 and newer models as long as they have the most recent iOS software update.

The Home Office's Using the 'EU Exit: ID Document Check' app page provides information about using the Android and new iPhone apps, including the required phone specifications.

Applicants who are unable to use the Android or iPhone app because they do not have a biometric passport can either post their ID documents to the Home Office or attend one of their ‘ID Document Scanning Locations’ where they can have their passport scanned. ID Document Scanning is available in the Oxford Register Office but the Home Office website also provides a facility to enter your postcode to find your nearest ID Document scanning location.

 

Those using the ‘ID Document Scanner Locations’ must not start their application before attending their appointment.

 

 

More information can be found in Home Office guidance on applying for Pre-Settled or Settled status through the EU Settlement Scheme, including for those applying to swap Permanent Residence they already hold.

A video guide to the EU Settlement Scheme is provided by Smith Stone Walters, a UK immigration solicitors firm.

A detailed video walkthrough which steps through the application process is provided by freemovement.org.

Processing times

The Home Office provide information on processing times for applications made through the EU Settlement Scheme, which states that most applications for European nationals take only a few days, but applications for non-European family members can take longer.

If you have queries or problems

If you have any queries about applying through the EU Settlement Scheme, the Staff Immigration Team are happy to help; please contact either james.baker@admin.ox.ac.uk or tim.currie@admin.ox.ac.uk

If you encounter technical or other problems with an application you can contact the Home Office EU Settlement Resolution Centre:

If you have contacted the EU Settlement Resolution Centre but are still encountering problems or delays with your application, the Staff Immigration Team will do all they can to assist; please contact either: james.baker@admin.ox.ac.uk or tim.currie@admin.ox.ac.uk

Updating the Home Office after you have Pre-Settled or Settled status

Home Office guidance states that those who have been granted Pre-Settled or Settled status must then keep their details updated so that they can view and prove their rights. The online update service must be used to report changes to the following details:

  • mobile phone number
  • email address
  • name
  • identity document
  • UK address

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European citizens who live in one state and travel back and forth to work in another state are referred to as ‘frontier workers’.

The government’s policy paper ‘On the rights of EU citizens in the UK in the event of a ‘no deal’ exit from the EU’, the similar agreements with Switzerland and the EFTA EEA states (Iceland, Liechtenstein, & Norway), and the government’s policy paper on ‘The UK’s future skills-based immigration system’ make only brief mention of ‘Frontier workers’; but they all confirm that whether a deal is reached or not, after Brexit and under the new immigration system from 2021 those who have exercised their treaty rights as ‘frontier workers’ before the UK leaves the EU will be able to continue to do so.

More information should be published on the UK government webpages for Frontier workers when it is known whether the UK is leaving the EU with or without a deal.

 

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As a deal was agreed before the UK left the EU the following information about 'no deal' arrangements are no longer relevant but are retained for information.

 

EU nationals

The UK government, on 4 September 2019, published a policy paper titled "No deal immigration arrangements for EU citizens moving to the UK after Brexit". This confirmed the rights of European citizens and their family members already living in the UK in the event of a ‘no deal’ Brexit.

The main points in relation to a ‘no deal’ scenario are:

  • The EU Settlement Scheme will continue to run for those resident in the UK before Brexit;
  • The EU Settlement Scheme will still run until 31 December 2020;
  • The Home Office will continue to look to grant, rather than refuse, status and the more generous EU Settlement Scheme requirements will remain with, for example, comprehensive sickness insurance still not being required;
  • Existing close family members (children, spouses and partners) of those resident in the UK before Brexit, where the relationship existed by this date, and children born after this date, will still be able to join them in the UK;
  • As a result, European citizens and their family members resident in the UK before Brexit will still be able to work, study, and access benefits and services in the UK.

EEA (Iceland, Liechtenstein & Norway) & Swiss nationals

Agreements between the UK and Switzerland (on 20 December 2018), and between the UK and the EEA EFTA states (Iceland, Liechtenstein, & Norway) (on 8 February 2019) confirm that the rights of EEA and Swiss citizens and their family members will be protected in the same way as those of EU citizens and their family members, whether a deal is reached or not.

 

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The new Settled Status will enable holders to apply for naturalisation as a British citizen, but they will have to evidence that they have been a ‘qualified person’ (a worker, self-employed, a student with Comprehensive Sickness Insurance, or self-sufficient with Comprehensive Sickness Insurance) under the previous rules for Europeans during the five year qualifying period for citizenship.

Settled Status is only valid from the date it is confirmed, so (unless the applicant is married to a British citizen) an applicant for citizenship must wait for one year after obtaining Settled Status before they qualify for citizenship.

The application for permanent residence (as confirmed by the permanent residence document) under the current system, which will be available until the UK leaves the EU, can be backdated to the date that it was acquired, which may be some years before the document was issued. Therefore, if you have been in the UK for 6 years or more, this route can allow you to immediately apply for British citizenship after receiving a permanent residence document as the permanent residence status was obtained more than a year ago.

 

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German citizens may be aware that they are permitted to obtain the citizenship of an EU country and retain their German citizenship, but as the UK has now left it is no longer an EU country.

The ‘Brexit transition act’ which was approved by the German cabinet on 5 September 2019 includes a provision to help Germans applying for British citizenship, and UK nationals applying for German citizenship. This provision states that Germans who have applied for British citizenship, and vice versa, before the end of the transition period on 31 December 2020 will be allowed to retain their own citizenship, even if their application is decided after the end of the transition period.

Information on the 'Brexit transition act' is available in German but the English version, which was previously available, appears to have been removed.

German citizens considering naturalisation as British citizens might well want to proceed with their applications as a matter of some urgency. The EU Settlement Scheme should provide applicants a ‘Settled Status’ document more quickly than applying for the current Permanent Residence Card (for non-EU/EEA Family members) or Document Certifying Permanent Residence (for EU/EEA nationals).

 

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Who to contact 


James Baker
Head of Staff Immigration 

tel: 01865 289908
e-mail: james.baker@admin.ox.ac.uk 

 

Tim Currie
Staff Immigration Officer

tel: 01865 289903
e-mail: tim.currie@admin.ox.ac.uk