Suppose you are an EEA national or a family member of an EEA national. You came to the UK and applied for a residence document. It is still valid and will remain valid for another 4 years. Do you need to apply under the EU Settlement Scheme?
Types of Documents
Before answering this question I would like to describe the types of documents you may currently have if you are an EEA national or a family member of an EEA national.
There are 6 types of documents:
- Family permit;
- Residence Card;
- Registration Certificate;
- Derivative Residence Card;
- Permanent residence card;
- A document certifying a permanent residence in the UK;
At the end of this article, I shall explain the meaning of all these documents, in case you would like to check if your understanding is right.
Here is What You Need to Know
You need to understand that all the above documents were issued under the EU law. These documents were granted under the Immigration (European Economic Area) Regulations 2016 to be precise. I’ll be referring to them as 2016 Regulations in this article.
What does this mean for you? Well, this means that all these documents will automatically lose their validity after 31 December 2020. It is important for you to understand that this will happen IRRESPECTIVE OF THE EXPIRY DATE OF THE LEGAL DOCUMENT YOU CURRENTLY HAVE.
For example, let’s say you are an EEA national and have a document certifying a permanent residence in the UK. In other words, you were allowed to remain in the UK indefinitely. Does this mean that you still to apply under the EU settlement scheme? Does this mean that you will lose your right to remain in the UK indefinitely if you don’t apply?
It means EXACTLY that!
If you are in this situation and you do not take any steps to apply under the new scheme, you will become what is legally known as ‘an overstayer’. This means that you will not have any legal right to remain in the UK.
Or, let’s say you have a residence card. It is valid until 1 January 2024. Do you still need to apply?
Despite the fact that your document is currently valid until 1 January 2024, it will become just a piece of paper after 31 December 2020.
What Do You Need to Do?
If you are in the possession of any of the above documents, you need to make a new application under the EU Settlement Scheme.
There are three types of applications you can make:
- An application for settled status (if you have resided in the UK for more than 5 years).
- An application for pre-settled status (if you have resided in the UK for less than 5 years).
- An application for EU family permit (if you are a non-visa national relative of a visa national and you reside outside the UK and your EEA national relative was granted status under the EU Settlement scheme).
When Do You Need to Apply?
If the deadline is on 31 December 2020 you still have plenty of time, right? This will be a very wrong assumption. This is true that we, solicitors, always prefer to play it safe, where possible.
However, you may pay a big price for waiting. This is because not all applications go smoothly. It takes time for some application to be processed. It is not uncommon for the decision-makers to request further information to support your application. Your ability to do so effectively will affect the outcome of your application. For this reason, the sooner you apply, the more chances and time you’ll have to rectify the application if anything goes wrong.
Can You Provide Any Help?
I’ve created two FREE masterclasses:
- For those who are in the UK and would like to apply for settled or pre-settled status(also known as further leave to remain and indefinite leave to remain);
- And those who are outside the UK and want to join their EEA family members in the UK. The document you will be applying for is called EU Family Permit. This is a family permit granted under the EU Settlement Scheme as opposed to 2016 Regulations.
And I would like to finish this article by explaining the types of documents, which could have been issued to EEA nationals and their loved ones under the EU law, under the 2016 Regulations.
Family Permit (not to be confused with the EU Family Permit under the UK)
This is a document issued to non-EEA nationals of EEA national relatives. This document is only possible to obtain when outside the UK. You can apply for this type when your EEA national family member is either already residing in the UK or has an intention of accompanying and living with in the UK. It is valid for 6 months only and you needed to apply for a residence card soon after your arrival in the UK (see next).
This type of card is what you apply for when you are in the UK and your family permit is about to expire. This card is granted to non-EEA national family members of EEA nationals.
This is a document, which is issued to EEA nationals to confirm the rights they already have in the UK. Registration Certificate application is NOT mandatory. Registration Certification does not give the EEA nationals any rights. It merely confirms the rights they already have.
Derivative Residence Card
This is a card, which is issued to non-visa nationals, who ‘derived’ their right to reside on the basis of being a family member to a ‘qualifying person’. For example, this can a primary carer of an EEA national child, etc.
Permanent residence card and a Document Certifying a Permanent Residence (DCPR) in the UK
These two documents, in their essence, mean the same thing. They mean that the holder of the document was granted a right to reside in the UK permanently. Permanent residence cards are issued to non-EEA national family members of EEA nationals. DCPRs are issued to EEA nationals.