Although nothing is certain about the UK’s departure, EU and EEA students can still somewhat prepare. How? Applying for the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS). Here’s everything you need to know about the scheme.
The EU Settlement Scheme is what will enable you to continue living and working in the UK after 30 June 2021 (31 December 2020 if the UK leaves without a deal).
The EUSS applies to UK residents and their families from EU and EEA countries (EU + Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway), as well as Switzerland.
If you are from Ireland, you already have the right to the settled status, so no need to apply.
You will need your passport, or national identity card, or UK residence card.
You will also need your National Insurance Number (NI) and/or proof of residence in the UK. You will have to give an email address and phone number as well.
Most importantly, you will need patience. It is not that challenging, but as with all administrative things, you may find complications.
How does the application work?
If you are living in the UK before December 31, 2020, you will most likely get one of two statuses: settled or pre-settled. You need to obtain one of these two statuses if you want to stay living in the UK.
You will get settled status if you have been living 5 continuous years in the UK (that’s at least 6 months in the UK every year for 5 years).
If, like most students concerned by this, you have not been living 5 continuous years in the UK, you will get pre-settled status. You will get a five year extension after 2020. Once you have lived in the UK for five continuous years, you can apply to change your status to settled status. You must do this before your extension expires.
You will first need to prove your identity by having your identity document checked. There are three ways to do this:
- Using the Home Office's EU Exit: ID Document Check Android app
- Going to an identity document scanning location
- Finding a location to get your ID scanned
The registration website details all of these methods quite extensively. Remember that you can only use the last two methods if you are in the UK whilst applying.
Once you have confirmed your identity, you will pursue your application on the website. You will need to log in with the number on your ID, and a code that you will get by text or email.
The Home Office will need to verify you are settled here. It can do that with your National Insurance Number (NI). If that does not work out, you will need to upload documents proving you are settled here. Said documents would be a proof of residency that your accommodation can provide you, or proof you are a student at RGU, that you can get at the Student Help Point in the Ishbel Gordon building.
It is most likely and most practical that you use the Android app. If you do not have an Android phone, or if your device is not suitable (needs Android 6.0 and Near-Field Communication), simply ask to borrow a friend’s. It should take no more than ten minutes, and that person will not have access to your document or your application in any manner once you have confirmed your ID.
These are the steps the app will make you do to prove your ID:
- Take a picture of the photo page of your ID
- Scan the chip inside your document (put your phone on your passport closed)
- Scan your face
- Take a picture of yourself
You might need a few tries to manage to do all these. The app will also make you restart the whole process if one step doesn’t work, but do not give up! Make sure the lighting is good for your pictures, and that you have no cases on your ID or phone when scanning the chip.
If it doesn’t work you can always send your ID to the Home Office, though this should be your last option as it requires the most time. The app would tell you if your phone did not have the technology to accomplish the tasks. So just keep trying until it works.
Will the app be available for iOS?
The Home Office claims the app will be iPhone ready by the end of 2019. It might be wiser to not wait for this prophetic day to occur, and simply use the suitable Android phone closest to you.
What about the other methods to prove your identity?
The last option is to mail your ID, which is going to be time-consuming.
The Home Office declares you will receive an answer within 5 working days.
However, having applied for the scheme myself, I waited for 19 days to receive my status (by email), most likely because my proof of residence had to be examined.
But do not worry, a reply will come. You can expect more delays as we are getting closer to the deadline.
The scheme will end on December 31, 2020 (June 30, 2021 if there is a deal). Apply as soon as possible if you haven’t already.
Where to find assistance if you have issues with your application?
If you have queries about your application, you can call the EU Settlement Resolution Centre at 0300 123 7379. Note that there are charges for calling this line. You can also ask a question on an online submission form at Gov.
Do I really need to do this?
The answer is short and simple: yes, you really do.