The first public test phase for the EU Settlement Scheme went live on January 21, 2019.
At present, eligible applicants only include (i) EU citizens who have a passport embedded with a biometric chip; and (ii) non-EU family members who have UK residence cards embedded with biometric chips.
Irish citizens may apply during the current phase, but are not required to do so. Citizens of Norway, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, and Iceland (and family members) cannot apply until a later stage.
Eligible applicants must use the EU Exit: ID Document Check App on an Android smart device to check their biometric chip embedded passport or UK residence card. If the biometric chip is damaged or defective, the respective applicant may send identity documents to the Home Office for inspection. Upon the EU Settlement Scheme being fully rolled out, the EU Exit: Document Check App will then become optional and applicants can choose to post identity documents to the Home Office instead of using the app.
In respect of applications, the Home Office will work to verify eligibility for settled or pre-settled status by cross-checking residency in the UK according to National Insurance numbers, HMRC, and/or DWP records. Where documentation is insufficient to confirm eligibility, uploading of additional supporting documentation may be permitted within limits.
In related news, in a recent speech at the House of Commons, Prime Minister Theresa May stated that when the EU Settlement Scheme is rolled out in full on March 30, 2019, the UK government will waive the application fee. Further, for EU citizens who have already applied during the pilot phase, fees paid will be reimbursed. The intent of these changes is to remove financial barriers for EU citizens seeking to stay in the UK.
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact your Graham Adair representative.