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Settled status: Can I apply if I am not European?

26 November 2020 James Ritchie Brexit & EU Migration


If you are in the UK and you are a non-European family member of an EEA national, you may be wondering whether the EU Settlement Scheme introduced on 29 March 2019 is applicable to you. The answer is yes.

The EU Settlement Scheme was created to formalise the immigration status of EEA nationals and their family members in the UK in advance of Brexit. The scheme allows both EEA nationals and their non-EEA family members to apply.

Many non-European applicants may already have some type of residence permit issued under the Immigration (European Economic Area) Regulations 2016, also known as the 2016 Regulations. If that is the case, then applications must be made to bring that status under the EU Settlement Scheme. For those without a residence permit issued under the 2016 Regulations, it is still possible to “switch” from other visa types such as student or working visas to pre-settled or settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme, provided the criteria are met.

Given the many types of family member within the context of the 2016 Regulations, the scheme places each type into two categories:

Close family members

  • Spouse;
  • Civil partner;
  • Child, grandchild, or great grandchild (must be under 21); or
  • Parent, grandparent, or great grandparent.

Extended family members

  • Durable partner (Living together for at least 2 years);
  • Relative who lives with EEA national;
  • Relative being cared for by EEA national; or
  • Other dependent relative.

The crucial difference between these two categories is whether an applicant needs to have a pre-existing EEA immigration document. Close family members may apply using their passport and documents evidencing their relationship to the EEA national and residence in the UK. Meanwhile, extended family members will also need to have an EEA document such as a family permit, residence card, or a document certifying permanent residence.

The full definitions for each of these relationship types can be found in Appendix EU, and each type carries a unique set of evidence which must be provided for a successful grant or Settled or Pre-Settled Status.

A few useful points to note:

  • You may only apply if you are living in the UK by 31 December 2020.
  • The deadline to apply is 30 June 2021.
  • In most cases an applicant may use the “EU Exit: ID Document Check” app and online services to apply. In some more complex or unusual cases you may have to request a paper application from the EU Settlement Resolution Centre online.
  • If you are the fiancé of an EEA national you are not eligible
  • If you are Irish you are exempt from this process, but if you have a non-European partner they may need to obtain status under this scheme.

If you would like more information on the rules related to this topic and legal advice tailored to your situation, we offer consultations and a full application service to provide advice and assistance on the best course of action to take to secure your position the UK. Get in touch..


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