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The main deadline to consider applying to the EU Settlement Scheme is 30 June 2021 for EU, EEA and Swiss nationals. As long as the individual started living (and can prove this) in the UK by 31 December 2020, they will be eligible to make an application to the EU Settlement Scheme. If the Home Office are satisfied the applicant will be granted either “settled” or “pre-settled” status under the scheme.
It should be stated and outlined that it is possible to make a late application under the EU Settlement Scheme following the latest guidance issued by the Home Office. The applicant must show reasonable grounds for failing to meet the relevant deadline as part of the application. The initial guidance issued by the Home Office states that for the time being, following 30 June 2021, applicants will be given the benefit of any doubt on this issue, unless this would not be reasonable in the particular circumstances of the case.
The indication is that the Home Office will also engage with applicants to give them a reasonable opportunity to put forward their grounds for not meeting the deadline. However, there is no indication of how long such a “benefit of the doubt” period may last so the advice Cleaver Fulton Rankin are providing to clients is that wherever possible an individual should look to make an application to the EU Settlement Scheme prior to the deadline of 30 June 2021.
With the exception of individuals who still have a valid EU Settlement Scheme Family Permit, a person who is making a late application will be deemed an overstayer while the application is under consideration by the Home Office. If a person is adjudged to be an overstayer, the person would not be allowed to work or rent private accommodation. They may also be charged for accessing the NHS between the time they become an overstayer and the time they submit their EU Settlement Scheme application. So the approach should be to make an application to the scheme ideally before the deadline date.
On the face of it the Home Office seem to be providing an opportunity to make an application to the EU Settlement Scheme after the deadline date to potentially avoid another Windrush type scandal. Particularly because many people who need to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme may be categorised as being more vulnerable or limited by circumstance.
This article has been produced for general information purposes and further advice should be sought from a professional advisor. Please contact our Business and Private Immigration team at Cleaver Fulton Rankin for further advice or information.