The UK has unveiled its long-awaited settlement plan for EU citizens.
EU citizens who want to continue living in the UK after Brexit will need to obtain a new UK immigration status. Applicants need to complete three steps:
- Provide proof of identity
- Show they live in the UK
- Declare they have no serious criminal convictions
Home secretary Sajid Javid says the government’s default position will be to grant, not refuse, settled status. Applicants should get a decision within a few weeks of applying.
Applications will cost £65 ($86) for adults and £32.50 for children under 16. The process will be free for those who already have permanent residency. An estimated 3.5 million EU citizens will need to apply.
Applications will be made online and the system will be rolled out on a trial basis from this summer. A wider rollout is planned by the end of the year and then a full rollout by March 2019. Android phone users will be able to complete their submissions using an app, a feature is not currently available on Apple iPhones. The government says it will give assistance to those without access to computers.
Only EU citizens who, by Dec. 31 2020, have lived continuously in the UK for five years will be eligible for settled status, which allows them to permanent residency. Those who arrive by Dec. 31, 2020 and have not lived in the UK for five years will be granted pre-settled status. They can apply for settled status once they reach the five-year point.
EU citizens with settled status or pre-settled status will enjoy the same access to UK healthcare, pensions and other benefits as they do now, the government said.