As the EU Settlement Scheme deadline approaches the question of documentary evidence continues to cause problems for some would-be applicants.
As many will be aware, if you are an EU/EEA citizen and you wish to remain in the UK from 1 January 2021, you must arrive in the UK prior to the end of the transition period (31 December 2020) and you must secure your right to remain in the UK by applying under the EU Settlement Scheme prior to the deadline of 30 June 2021. Previously acquired EU/EEA status as evidenced by a Permanent Residence Card, or simply relying on EU treaty rights, will no longer be considered as giving a valid and enforceable right to remain in the UK after the end of the transition period. Please note that different deadlines apply if you are a family member of an EU/EEA national – the specifics of which will depend on the relationship in question.
Applications granted under the EU Settlement Scheme will give the applicant either Settled Status or Pre-Settled Status. The difference lies in the period of continuous time already spent living in the UK. Five or more continuous years spent living in the UK will result in a grant of Settled Status, any less will result in Pre-Settled Status. Applicants should note that they might be able to rely on historic periods of five continuous years of residence, provided that between the end of that historical period and the date of application the applicant has not been continuously absent from the UK for five continuous years.
Those granted Pre-Settled Status should make a subsequent application for Settled Status once they have attained five consecutive years of residence. But how exactly can one prove a period of continuous residence?
For Pre-Settled Status, this is fairly simply, as the applicant must provide evidence of being present in the UK in the period 6 months prior to the date of application. The Home Office can also check the applicant’s HMRC records, if a National Insurance Number is provided in the application.
For Settled Status, this can be somewhat more complicated. The system allows for those with a National Insurance Number to rely on their HMRC records to evidence continued residence through an automatic check. This check is most often reliable. Should further evidence be required, the simplest documents evidencing continuous residence over a consecutive period of time would be bank statements or Council Tax bills. Official letters and correspondence are taken to prove residence on the day the letter or document is dated. The goal is to provide a chain of documentation, which will evidence five continuous years of residence. Those who may not have a UK bank account in their name or who are not named on their home’s Council Tax bills or utility bills may find it slightly more difficult to put together the evidence required. The key is to ensure that such evidence includes a range of dates over a period of time. For example, a doctor’s letter confirming registration with a practice will evidence the applicant’s residence in the UK on the date of the letter, but a doctor’s letter listing a series of appointments attended will evidence residence on the date of each appointment spanning a period of time.
Gherson has a great deal of experience in all aspects of the EU Settlement Scheme and is fully equipped to advise and assist with the specifics of these applications and the required evidence. Should you wish to apply under the EU Settlement Scheme or have any queries relating to your own circumstances, please do not hesitate to contact us.
The information in this blog is for general information purposes only and does not purport to be comprehensive or to provide legal advice. Whilst every effort is made to ensure the information and law is current as of the date of publication it should be stressed that, due to the passage of time, this does not necessarily reflect the present legal position. Gherson accepts no responsibility for loss which may arise from accessing or reliance on information contained in this blog. For formal advice on the current law please don’t hesitate to contact Gherson. Legal advice is only provided pursuant to a written agreement, identified as such, and signed by the client and by or on behalf of Gherson
Paralegal in our General Immigration team