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The Final Countdown : EUSS Applications and the need for identity documents

25 June 2021 Grace McGill Blog

 

With no extension from Messrs Johnston, Patel  & Foster  on the horizon,  the deadline for EU Settlement Scheme (‘EUSS’) applications of June 30, 2021, is now literally days away. Eligible applicants must submit their application by this deadline to remain lawfully resident in the United Kingdom after July 1, 2021.

The home office has not provided an estimate of how many EU citizens living in the UK have yet to apply, but a spokesperson from the department said the number of applications has "exceeded the estimate".

We knew full well that this was a disaster waiting to happen and it will, without doubt, come to pass for many caught in the ashes of Brexit.

One of the most problematic issues adding to the uncertainty of the process which we have seen these past months relates to identity documents that require to be produced with the application for settlement status.

Required proof of identity and nationality

For an EU citizen making an application within the UK, this will be their valid passport or valid national identity card. For a non-EEA citizen making an application within the UK, this will be their valid passport, valid specified relevant document (their biometric residence card) or valid biometric immigration document (as defined in section 5 of the UK Borders Act 2007 and known as a biometric residence permit). Where the applicant is unable to obtain or produce the required document due to circumstances beyond their control or due to compelling or compassionate reasons, we need to turn to the guidance on  Alternative evidence of identity and nationality with each case being considered on its individual merits.

Circumstances where alternative evidence may be accepted

The following lists are not exhaustive:

Document unobtainable from national authority :

  • passport has expired or has been permanently lost or stolen and there is no functioning national government to issue a replacement
  • there is a national authority to apply to for a document, but they have run out of documents

Document exists but cannot be produced :

3rd Party retention :

If the Home Office or another Government department, Police, lawyer or Court is holding the required document, evidence requires to be adduced.  Domestic violence or abuse victims are asked to produce supporting evidence of their circumstances from a third party, such as the police or social services.

Refugee status or humanitarian protection

There is a lower standard of proof for establishing identity and nationality in protection claims (asylum and humanitarian protection) than for the EU Settlement Scheme. Nonetheless, if the person in the UK has refugee status or humanitarian protection, no further evidence of identity and nationality is required provided there is no evidence:

  • this identity or nationality was confirmed in error
  • the identity or nationality was fraudulently claimed or accepted
  • the identity or nationality has materially changed
  • the person has ceased to be a refugee or a person in need of humanitarian protection, which would mean they are now in a position to obtain and produce the required document

Incapacity

If a person claims that it would be impossible or unreasonable for them to obtain or produce the required document due to a serious medical condition or due to their mental capacity, they or the person acting for them must provide confirmation of their condition or capacity, and why it prevents them from obtaining or producing the required document, from their GP or other appropriately qualified medical professional.

There may also be occasions where other factors that are not in and of themselves considered a serious medical condition, such as an applicant’s age, that may still be a barrier to them being able to travel to their home country’s embassy or consulate as required in order to obtain the required document. In these circumstances, you should produce a letter from the GP or other appropriately qualified medical professional confirming the barrier(s) to travel.   

If a Home Office caseworker is satisfied that it would be impossible or unreasonable for the applicant to obtain or produce the required document, for example, because their mental capacity falls under the Mental Capacity Act 2005 (for England and Wales), the Adults with Incapacity (Scotland) Act 2000 or common law in Northern Ireland, and there is no one reasonably able to do so on their behalf, then the applicant will be asked to produce alternative evidence of their identity and nationality.

Applicant under 18 years and in local authority care

Where the required document has been lost or destroyed, or was never obtained or provided Special provisions will apply for verification with the individual local authority which will also depend on the level of parental co-operation.

Applicants from outside the UK :

This list is not exhaustive and more than one piece of evidence can be requested on a case by case basis with each case being  considered on its own merits to verify identity :

  • documents previously issued by the Home Office (such as a document issued for emergency travel purposes) provided there is no evidence that this identity or nationality was confirmed in error, fraudulently, or has significantly changed
  • an expired passport or other required documents, bearing the applicant’s name and photograph
  • an official document issued by the authorities of the applicant’s country of origin which confirms their identity and nationality, including birth certificate, marriage certificate, driving licence, tax / social security statement, national service document, or emergency travel document or similar – this is not an exhaustive list and other similar documents may be considered
  • an official document issued by the UK authorities which confirms the applicant’s identity and, if possible, nationality – and this can include a UK driving licence, National Insurance number card, or tax or pension statement – this is not an exhaustive list and other similar documents may be considered
  • an official document issued by the authorities of an EEA country which confirms the applicant’s identity and nationality, including a document confirming permanent residence in that state or registration as the family member of an EEA citizen exercising Treaty rights in that state
  • the applicant’s biometrics (facial photograph and, in the case of a non-EEA citizen, fingerprints) which match an existing government record confirming their identity and nationality

Some countries have extended the validity period of their identity documents in response to the COVID-19 situation: Bulgaria, Croatia, Hungary, Italy, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia and checks should be made in these final days to apply.

Source : https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/988540/main-euss-guidance-v12.0-gov-uk.pdf

 

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