The EU settlement scheme has been tested since summer 2018. From 21 January 2019, it will be open to most students. You will be eligible to apply under it if you are either:
- an EU national with a valid passport (not identity card), or
- a non-EU citizen who has a residence card or permanent residence card issued on the basis of an application you made on or after 6 April 2015
The scheme will not be available under this stage of testing to the family members of British citizens who are currently in the UK under EU law provisions.
You will need evidence of your residence in the UK if you choose to apply under this third phase of testing. A permanent residence document meets this requirement and means you will not have to pay for your settlement scheme application.
If you have a National Insurance number, your work records will be automatically accessed as part of the application and will be used to calculate your length of residence. Other evidence of your stay in the UK can include letters from education and healthcare providers - see Home Office information about the EU settlement scheme for examples of evidence and full details of how the application process works.
You will be granted settled status, or indefinite leave, if you have been in the UK for a period of five years (absences of up to six months in any 12-month period and of 12 months, or longer, in specific circumstances are permitted - see Home Office caseworker guidance for details). If you have been in the UK for under five years, or cannot prove that you have been resident for five years, you will be granted pre-settled status, or limited leave. The application fee in both cases is £65 (£32.50 for applicants under 16 years old). If you are granted limited leave, you will be able to apply free of charge when you meet the five-year period of residence for settled status.
See our blogs by Urszula and Marcel who applied recently under the first and second phases of the EU settlement scheme trials respectively. They explain why they applied, how the application process works, and give helpful hints and tips on what to expect and how to prepare for a successful application.
Seraphus Solicitors, linked to Free Movement, also has a very useful list of relevant documents including links to other organisations ('News and updates') and its own presentations on who is eligible under the scheme, how to apply and grounds for refusal ('Seraphus documents').
A reminder: European Union nationals and their family members who want to stay in the UK after (or if) the UK leaves the European Union will have to apply for immigration permission under the EU settlement scheme. The UK Government has now confirmed that the scheme will also apply to nationals of Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland and their family members.