The EU Settlement Scheme will be fully open by 30 March 2019 for EU citizens wishing to continue living in the UK. A successful application will mean EU citizens will either be granted settled status (the right to live in the UK permanently) or pre-settled status (the right to stay in the UK for 5 years which can then be converted into settled status).
More than 3 million EU citizens currently live in the UK and as such the Home Office expect a large number of applications under the EU Settlement Scheme. To test the system and processes ahead of the public launch the Home Office ran a pilot scheme from 1 November 2018 to 21 December 2018. This has now closed. The public test phase opened yesterday.
How will it work?
All UK resident EU citizens with a valid EU passport will be able to apply provided they have access to an Android device which they can use to confirm their identity on a Home Office app: ‘EU Exit: ID Document Check’. Non-EU citizen family members of EU citizens are also eligible to apply provided they have a Biometric Residence card.
Once the ID scan is complete, EU citizens need to follow this link: https://www.gov.uk/apply-stay-uk-leaves-eu-test-phase and choose: Continue Application
Citizens of Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland are not eligible to apply during this phase so they will need to wait until the scheme is fully open by 30 March 2019.
The public test phase is entirely voluntary and will enable applicants to apply early and feedback on their experience.
The Prime Minister has also announced that the £65 application fee will be waived for all applicants and anyone who has participated in the pilot scheme and paid the fee will be able to apply for a refund.