Late applications under the EU Settlement Scheme

Danielle Cohen
By Danielle Cohen Immigration Law Solicitor Linkedin
Danielle Cohen has over 20 years of experience as a lawyer and a reputation for offering professional, honest and expert advice.
19 September 2021

We are acting for an American national who is married to a European national.  We obtained a family permit for him initially, and his wife has been exercising treaty rights as a European national, resulting in both of them obtaining permanent residence.  Due to an oversight, and following Brexit, neither one of them applied for status under the EU Settlement Scheme.  This is required even for those who have been granted permanent residence.  The deadline to apply for Settled Status under the EU Settlement Scheme (which is required of EU nationals and their family members to continue living in the UK) post-Brexit was 30th June 2021.  They missed this deadline.  They approached us asking for help with a late application and an application for naturalisation. 

EU nationals also need to obtain Settled Status under the scheme in order to apply to naturalise as British citizens.  We are therefore now assisting them in making an application, after the deadline.  There are guidelines which were published setting out a wide range of circumstances which would constitute “reasonable grounds” for a late application; and one has to fall under these grounds to make a successful application.  In this particular case, the ground that is most relevant to them is that they had permanent residence status that stopped being valid after 30th June 2021; and they did not know that they had to apply for the scheme.  It is important to remember in cases like this that the Home Office general approach is to grant status rather than look for reasons to refuse and case workers are encouraged to take a flexible and pragmatic approach to considering each case on its own facts.  However, the more time which has elapsed since the deadline applicable to the person, the harder it will be for an applicant to satisfy that the grounds are reasonable.