Since the EUSS (European Settlement Scheme) was first piloted on 21 January 2019 and then fully launched on 30 March 2019, the specific questions/steps have changed over the years. At first, there were helpful detailed step by step guides with images of what would appear on your screen (the guide was 105 pages in total). Fast-forward to now, you will be hard to find any up-to-date guides on the government website. Although the process is simple, for those who have yet to apply, it is always good to know what type of questions will be asked during the application process. As of 22.2.2021, I have prepared an updated step by step guide when navigating through the EUSS.
Step 1: ID checking
A: If you are an EU, EEA or Swiss Citizen
- You require a passport which has a biometric chip; or
- National ID card with a biometric chip
B: If you are not an EU, EEA or Swiss Citizen
- You require a passport
- Biometric residence card
- Biometric residence permit
Having your ID checked is equivalent to providing your biometrics, which is required in all immigration applications. Most applicants will download the smartphone app called the "EU Exit: ID Document Check" and will need to take a series of photographs of their ID document and their face:
If your ID document does not have a biometric chip, then the two other alternative ways to verify your ID is:
- By post; or
- By appointment at one of the UKVCAS Service Centres.
You can still go ahead and complete the second part of the application even when you haven't had your ID verified yet. Only when your ID is verified, the application will be considered as valid.
Step 2: Questions
There are 5 sections:
i. Identity – If the ID document has been verified, this section will be recorded as completed
ii. Application type
- Are you based on the time you have spent in the UK? This would be based on the time you spent in the UK before 11pm on 31 December 2020, whether you have resided in the UK for 5 years and whether you have been absent from the UK for more than 5 years in a row.
- Are you a dual national?
- Did you hold a previous nationality?
- Do you hold a permanent residence card?
- Have you ever been granted Indefinite Leave to Remain?
- Are you applying based on being a family member of a person of Northern Ireland?
If you are a family member of an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen, you will be asked the additional questions:
- Based on your relationship to someone eligible for the EU Settlement Scheme or a person of Northern Ireland?
- Based on retained rights of residence?
- Based on your relationship with a qualifying British citizen?
- Based on your relationship with a frontier worker?
- Had your family member applied to the EU Settlement Scheme
- How are you related to the EU, EEA or Swiss citizen?
- Provide the full name, nationality, date of birth and address of the EU, EEA or Swiss citizen.
iii. Residence in the UK
- Are you in the UK now?
- What is your address?
- Are you known by any other names?
- Do you have a national insurance number? If so, what is it?
iv. Criminal convictions
You will be asked have you ever been involved in any criminal activity or extremist activity
v. Digital photo – Again, if your ID was verified, you would have provided a digital photo and therefore this section would be recorded as completed. If you decided to post your ID for verification, you will be asked to upload a digital photo of yourself.
Step 3: Ready to submit?
- For security purposes, you will need set up three memorable answers.
- You will be asked whether you are applying for pre-settled status or settled status
- Upload evidence: you may be asked to upload evidence to support your residence in the UK and if you are a family member of an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen, proof of relationship is always required. You have 10 working days to upload the evidence.
Step 4: Certificate of Application
This will be emailed to the registered email address almost immediately after submitting the application online.
Step 5: Decision
If you have pre-settled status, you need to make sure you have a continuous qualifying 5 year period of residence in the UK before applying for settled status. If your residence is broken (therefore not able to qualify for settled status unless exceptions of excessive absence applies) and you did not return to the UK before 31 December 2020, you will not be able to extend/renew your pre-settled status. If you are in this unfortunate position, you will need to leave the UK or switch into another immigration category.
You can spend up to 5 years outside the UK without losing the Settled Status. After 1 year from the date of the granted status, you would be eligible to make an application for British citizenship.
If the application is refused, you can apply again before 30 June 2021, appeal or apply for administrative review.
The online process is simple. However, the applicable law and guidance is far from straight-forward and it is highly recommended that advice be sought at the earliest opportunity to ensure the best chances of success.