Time is running out for EU citizens living in NI to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme
Are you an EU citizen living in Northern Ireland? If you haven't already, you can apply to the EU Settlement Scheme to protect your residency in the UK.
With the UK having left the EU and the transition period having ended on December 31 2020, EU, EEA and Swiss citizens must apply to the Scheme in order to continue to live, work and study here. If you have children, you need to apply for them separately.
The deadline for applying is June 30, 2021 but citizens seeking to apply need to have been resident in the UK by December 31, 2020.
Irish citizens do not need to apply to the Scheme – buy may apply if they wish – as there are separate arrangements for Irish citizens, who will continue to benefit from the Common Travel Area.
However, Irish citizens with non-UK/ROI/EU family members should consider applying to the EU Settlement Scheme to protect the rights of those family members if they do not already have indefinite leave to remain. The non-UK/ROI/EU family members will also need to apply to the Scheme in their own right.
EU citizens who have lived in the UK since before 2006 may have a document or stamp in their passport confirming “indefinite leave to remain” in the UK and can contact EU Settlement Scheme services (listed below) for advice.
Those who have previously been issued a permanent residence document must still apply under the Settlement Scheme as their permanent status will become void after 30 June 2021.
If you apply to the EU Settlement Scheme successfully, you will be given either ‘Settled Status’ or ‘Pre-settled Status’.
You will receive ‘Settled Status’ if you are an EU national who has lived in the UK for five continuous years.
If you do not have five years’ continuous residence when you apply, you will receive ‘Pre-Settled Status’ which will mean that you can continue to live and work in the UK and then apply for ‘Settled Status’ when you do have five continuous years of residence.
EU citizens and their family members with ‘Settled Status’ or ‘Pre-Settled Status’ will be able to:
- work in the UK;
- use the NHS for free, if you can at the moment;
- enrol in education or continue studying;
- access public funds such as benefits and pensions, if you’re eligible for them;
- travel in and out of the UK.
Applying is free. To apply, visit www.gov.uk/settled-status-eu-citizens-families
Advice NI and STEP - Stronger Together provide advice services for EU citizens and their families who would like to apply to the Scheme but who may need additional support.
To access their services:
- Email the EU Settlement Scheme Adviser at email@example.com;
- Call the FREEPHONE helpline 0800 915 4604 Monday – Friday, 9am - 5pm;
- To request a phone call about the EU Settlement Scheme text: ACTION to 81025 You will receive an automated reply from Advice NI who will contact you within two working days;
- Contact Stronger Together EUSS Support Project by phoning 028 8775 0211 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Further information on the scheme is available at nidirect www.nidirect.gov.uk/articles/staying-northern-ireland-if-youre-eu-citizen