This also brings some clarity for many South Africans with EU citizenship who are confused and concerned about their immigration status in the UK.
The rights of citizens from Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Switzerland are still being negotiated.
The Statement of Intent states that EU citizens will only need to take some basic steps to complete an application for settlement in the UK. EU citizens will need to follow three basic steps;
1. Provide proof of their identity;
2. Provide proof that they have lived in the UK; and
3. Declare if they have any criminal convictions.
The UK Government said that it will check the employment and benefits records to establish the applicant’s UK residence. Most applicants will thus not even have to provide documents to prove their residence.
The settlement application will only cost £65 for adults, and £32.50 for children under 16. The settlement application will be free to persons with valid documented permanent residence or Indefinite Leave to Enter or Remain.
EU citizens and their families who have lived in the UK continuously for five years or more can apply for Settlement.
If the EU citizen and his/her family have not yet lived in the UK for five years, they will be granted pre-settled status until they reach five years. When they then reach the accumulated five years, they can apply for Settlement. The application will be free of charge.
Irish citizens do not need to apply for Settlement but can do so if they want.
The application process for settlement in the UK will be phased in through 2018 but is not open yet. The UK Government is, however, planning to have it the process fully open by the end of March 2019.
The deadline for application for EU citizens resident in the UK by 31 December
2020, will only be 30 June 2021. Persons who are family members will still be able to apply after this date if they are joining a family member in the UK.
EU citizens will thus have time until 31 December 2020 to be in the UK and then must apply before 30 June 2021 for confirmation from the Home Office of their permission remain in the UK thereafter. Breytenbachs are still awaiting final clarity, from further Home Office guidance in this regard.
Persons will however still be able to apply after this date if they are joining a family member in the UK.
Persons that receive settlement status in the UK will be able to continue to live and work in the UK indefinitely. It will also make them eligible for public services, public funds, and pensions, as well as British Citizenship, provided all the requirements are met.
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