Home Office Eased Rules for Late Applications to the EU Settlement Scheme

The Home Office has introduced new guidelines providing flexibility for certain late applications to the EU Settlement Scheme. This change follows the strict tightening of rules in August last year. The updated version 22 of the guidance for caseworkers, effective from 16 January 2024, included several modifications.

Flexibility for Permanent Residence Holders Applying Late

The updated guidance includes further clarification and examples under the section “Examples of reasonable grounds” for making a late application. Specifically, it addresses situations where individuals had a “reasonable belief” that they did not need to apply or a “reasonable basis” for being unaware of the requirement. Applications must be submitted promptly once the need to apply is recognised.

One example provided involves an individual with a permanent residence document under the EEA Regulations who left the UK for two years to care for an ill parent. Upon returning, the person discovered their permanent residence document was no longer valid for employment checks and subsequently applied under Appendix EU.

Another example concerns a non-EEA citizen who has lived in the UK since 2007, dependent on her son and his EEA citizen wife. She speaks little English, and her permanent residence card expired in December 2023. When she attempted to renew it, she was informed of the need to apply under Appendix EU, which she then did.

Concession for Certain Children of ‘Relevant EEA Family Permit Cases’

A new section titled “Concession for certain children of a ‘relevant EEA family permit case’” has been added. This applies to children whose parent is a dependent relative meeting the definition of a ‘relevant family permit case’. The child must have been born outside the UK either:

  • Before 11 pm on 31 December 2020, without a valid EEA family permit application under the EEA Regulations, or
  • After 11 pm on 31 December 2020, making such an application impossible.

If these conditions are met and the child has been granted an EU Settlement Scheme family permit to join or accompany their parents in the UK, they can apply as a family member (dependent relative) of a relevant EEA citizen. The application should be made “as soon as reasonably practicable” and typically within three months of arriving in the UK.

Conclusions

Only time will reveal whether these adjustments will alleviate the challenges faced by EEA nationals struggling with late applications under the EU Settlement Scheme, as highlighted by increasing media reports.

All of our articles are intended for informational purposes only and do not constitute legal advice. It is recommended that specific professional advice is sought before acting on any of the information provided.

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