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UK Extends Settlement Status Deadline: Additional 2 Years Granted for ‘Unaware’ EU Citizens to Apply


EU citizens living in the country before Brexit, who were unaware of the EU settled scheme, are still eligible for late applications, provided they are permanent residence card holders, the British government decided.

According to the Guardian, the Home Office is going to reverse a rule made in August that did not allow EU citizens who mistakenly did not apply for the EU settled status, which made their stay in the country legal but at the same time invalidated their permanent residency card.

Now, the Home Office will reverse this rule, acknowledging lack of awareness as a valid reason for late applications for the EU Settled status.

The EU-UK Settlement Scheme allowed EU Citizens living in the UK and Brits living in the EU before Brexit to continue residing in their respective countries, as the Brexit withdrawal agreement regulates.

Nearly six million EU citizens in the UK had to apply for status in order to remain lawfully living in the country. The scheme was officially closed in June 2021, but late applications could be admitted if the reason for this delay was legitimate.

However, in August, the Home Office decided to remove the “lack of awareness” of the settlement scheme as sufficient evidence for a late application.

This decision had its impacts on EU citizens living in the UK, as their stay in the country was considered “irregular” and could have thousands of them deported.

Such was the case of Silvana, an Italian tech investor, who went to renew the European health insurance card for her child and was told that her permanent residency card meant nothing.

The Home Office’s rule set in August would have her deported from the country because a lack of awareness of the EU settlement scheme was not reasonable enough for a late application.

Following pressure from EU Citizens and campaigners, the Home Office has published new guidance to caseworkers, which announced that late applications from those with permanent residency cards “are reasonable grounds” for delays in application to the scheme.

I’m very happy that they are changing the guidelines and that they essentially realising it was a mistake to do this to good citizens who have been here a long time and are contributing to society. 

Silvana, an Italian Citizen Living in the UK

The decision was taken to the high court, which decided in the EU citizens’ favour and claimed it was wrong for the British government to remove the employment, residency and healthcare rights of those with pre-settled status if they mistakenly did not apply to update their settled status.

In response, the Home Office has designated a two-year extension to those with pre-settled status so they can apply for the status.

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