If you are a European citizen living and working in the UK without pre-settled or settled status the most urgent issue you face it remaining in the UK. The deadline for the expiry of EU residence cards is 30 June 2021. There is a vanishingly short time to begin an application.
There is provision for late application to the European Settlement Scheme for pre-settled or settled status if there are reasonable grounds for missing the deadline. Giambrone's immigration lawyers can advise and assist in late applications, however, there are limited grounds for failing to meet the deadline for applications as well as a limited time for making late applications.
The Home Office encouragingly has instructed caseworkers that when dealing with applications made after the deadline they should 'take a flexible and pragmatic approach to considering, in light of the circumstances of each case, whether there are reasonable grounds for the person's failure to meet the deadline' and to give applicants 'the benefit of the doubt'.
Fernanda Stefani, who heads the UK immigration team, comments "an EU citizen without settled status who, for whatever reason, has missed the deadline to apply to the European Union Settlement Scheme (EUSS) should act quickly to resolve their situation" she further commented, "we can advise on the best approach and guide you through a late application to ensure you're your application can be made within the late application time scale permitted by the Home Office."
Whilst the Home Office has given guidance as to what may be considered an acceptable reason for missing the deadline, it is not an all-inclusive list of the criteria which means that even if your reason falls outside of the general reasons it may be considered.
If an EU citizen who missed the deadline for settled status under the EUSS comes to the attention of Immigration Enforcement and it is apparent to the immigration officials that they are eligible to apply for settled status under the EUSS they will be given, in writing, a grace period of 28 days in order to make an application under Appendix EU and no further enforcement action will be taken during this time.
The grounds that could be accepted by the Home Office may include:
Serious Health Crisis or Condition
An individual with a critical medical condition requiring substantial medical treatment at the time that the deadline approached would be considered reasonable grounds for missing the deadline. This may include maternity issues.
Limited Physical or Mental Capacity requiring Support
A person with significant physical limitations or limited mental capacity requiring support or care which affects their ability to make an application will be expected to be allowed to make a late application via a third party with supporting evidence of the physical or mental capacity.
Children under the age of 18 in the care of a parent, guardian or a local authority for whom no application has been made prior to the deadline will not have the reasons for failure considered, including if the child has subsequently reached the age of majority.
Victims of Modern Slavery
A person who is suspected of being a victim of modern slavery and has been referred to the National Referral Mechanism (NRM) resulting in the Single Competent Authority (SCA) within the Home Office making a reasonable grounds or conclusive grounds decision implying that they may be the victim of modern slavery will be able to make a late application to the EUSS
Abusive or Controlling Relationship
A person who was prevented from making an application due to the fact that they are a victim of domestic violence in an abusive relationship will have reasonable grounds to make a late application to the EUSS. Supporting evidence will be regarded pragmatically.
Other Compassionate or Practical Reasons
The Home Office is prepared to accept that a person holding a residence document that does not expire on 30 June 2021 may not recognise that they needed to apply for leave to remain under the EUSS by that date and will permit a late application.
Similarly, an individual who was unaware of the need to apply by the deadline or with limited or no internet access which prevented their application may be able to make a late application. Also, a person with poor literacy may be allowed to apply after the deadline.
The Home Office will also take into account the effect of the Covid-19 pandemic which may have, for various reasons, prevented a person making an application.
Giambrone's immigration lawyers can assess and guide you as to whether the reasons for your late application to the EUSS will be accepted by the Home Office and assist you with your application.
For more information about late applications for settled status please click here.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.