The general public are able to make an application for the EU Settlement Scheme from today, as the first public test phase of the scheme goes live.

There are still some limitations on who can apply.

To be eligible to participate, applicants who are EU citizens must have a biometric passport with a chip embedded – older passports may not have this. Non-EU family members must have a UK residence card with a biometric chip.

Irish citizens may apply but are not obliged to do so. Citizens of Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland cannot apply during the public test phase but they and their family members will be able to apply by 30 March 2019, when the scheme will be fully operational.

Also, applicants must use the EU Exit: ID Document Check app on an Android smartphone or tablet to check their passport (for EU nationals) or UK residence card with biometric chip (for non-EU family members).

In order to work, the Android device needs to have the following:

  • Android 6.0 operating system or above (this can be checked in the device’s settings)
  • At least 135MB of storage available to install the app
  • 3G/4G or WiFi connection
  • Near-Field Communication (this can be checked in the device’s settings)

Applicants may only post their identity document to the Home Office for checking if the biometric chip is damaged or defective.

Once the scheme is fully rolled out at the end of March 2019, applicants will have the option to post their identity document to the Home Office if they choose not to use the app.

As part of the application process, the Home Office will verify applicants’ residence in the UK by doing an automated check of the applicant’s National Insurance number against records held by HMRC or DWP.

If the automated check does not provide sufficient information to confirm the applicant’s eligibility for settled or pre-settled status, additional evidence can be uploaded as either photos or scans. A maximum of 10 documents can be submitted and each must not exceed 6MB.