The Home Office has laid Immigration Rules implementing the full public roll-out of the EU Settlement Scheme from 7 am on 30 March 2019.
The scheme allows EEA/Swiss citizens residing in the UK by 31 December 2020 (or by 29 March 2019 if the UK leaves the EU without a deal) and their family members to bring their immigration status under UK law. They will be able to apply for indefinite leave to remain once they have spent a continuous five year period in the UK, or for limited leave to remain if they have not.
From 30 March, the scheme will be expanded to cover citizens of the EEA (Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway), Switzerland and their family members, as well as certain family members who have a right to reside in the UK under existing EU law. It will also be possible for the family members of those with status under the scheme to make an application from outside the UK for a family permit to visit or to make an application under the scheme.
Other changes include that
- A greater range of documents will be accepted as proof of identity - for EEA/Swiss citizens, national ID cards will be accepted in addition to passports, and for family members, passports and biometric residence permits will be accepted in addition to biometric residence cards.
- There will be provision for alternative evidence of identity and nationality to be accepted in limited circumstances.
- It will be possible for identity documents to be posted to the Home Office for checking and the Home Office has undertaken to return these documents quickly.
- It will be possible for applications to be made on paper forms in limited circumstances.
Family members who apply in the UK and do not already have a valid biometric residence card will need to enrol their biometrics at a location designated for this purpose.
From 9 April 2019 it will be possible for applications under the scheme to be made outside the UK, however family members will only be eligible for this if they already hold a valid biometric residence card issued under the EEA Regulations 2016. Family members who do not meet this requirement will need to apply for a family permit and then make an in-country application under the scheme.