EU Settlement Scheme – Absences from the UK exceeding 12 months
The Home Office made concessions for persons wanting to apply for the EU Settlement Scheme but were absent from the UK for periods exceeding 12 months.
The concessions will be welcome news for EEA nationals and family members who wish to apply for Settled Status under the EU Settlement Scheme.
If someone has been absent from the UK for more than 12 months due to Covid, they will qualify for an extension of their pre-settled status. They will later be eligible to apply for settled status.
However, applicants will have to provide solid evidence for the reasons for their absences from the UK.
Reasons for being absent from the UK
Persons who have been absent from the UK for longer than 12 months have exceeded the absence permitted under the Appendix EU.
However, they can still apply for EUSS if they can prove that the extended absence is due to Covid-19. Furthermore, this absence prevented them or was advised against returning to the UK within 12 months or after.
Acceptable reasons might include anyone of the following:
- Sickness with Covid-19;
- Quarantine, self-isolation or shielding under local public health guidance;
- Caring for a family member with Covid-19;
- Were not able to return to the UK due to Covid-19 related travel disruptions;
- The person was advised by their employer or university not to return to the UK. The employer or university advised them to continue studying or working remotely from their home country due to Covid-19.
The list above is not exhaustive. Therefore, we strongly advise that you speak to your Breytenbachs consultant for advice in your unique circumstances. Your consultant will also advise you on the type of documentation you can provide to suffice as acceptable evidence.
Implications of providing acceptable reasons for absence
If you can provide sufficient evidence, the Home Office will treat your situation as if you have not broken your continuous qualifying period for residence in the UK. The absence exceeding 12 months will not count towards the continuous qualifying period of residence under the EUSS. The Home Office will pause the continuous qualifying period from the point the absence reached 12 months. This will then resume when the person returns to the UK.
Persons who hold pre-settled status, which is due to expire before they can complete the continuous qualify period of residence to be eligible for settled status, can apply for a further grant of pre-settled status.
How Breytenbachs can help you
Breytenbachs Immigration Consultant have a dedicated team of consultants dealing with the EU Settlement Scheme and related immigration matters. Please feel free to contact us or email us at [email protected]