New Home Office guidance on late applications to the EU Settlement Scheme

There has been over 250,000 applications to the EU Settlement Scheme from people living in Scotland. However, concern is growing that there are still a number of European nationals and their family members yet to make an application, with application numbers each month dwindling, and the deadline to apply fast approaching.

For most applicants living in the UK before 31 December 2020, the deadline to make an application to the EU Settlement Scheme is 30 June 2021. However, there will always be situations where a person misses a deadline. The Home Office has now updated their guidance to caseworkers to explain how they will deal with late applications.

The law allows for an application to be accepted after the deadline if the Home Office is satisfied, by information provided with the application, that there are reasonable grounds for the person’s failure to meet that deadline.

Reasonable grounds can include the following circumstances:

  • Children (including children in care and care leavers) where the child’s parent, guardian or local authority has not made an application before the deadline.
  • Physical or mental capacity and/or care or support needs where an applicant does not have the physical or mental capacity to make the application, or they have care or support needs
  • Serious medical condition or significant medical treatment in the months before, or around the time of, the application deadline (including Covid-19)
  • Victims of modern slavery (including trafficking)
  • Where a person has been a victim of domestic abuse or were in a controlling relationship or situation
  • Other compelling practical or compassionate circumstances, for example an applicant who was unaware of the requirement to apply by the deadline

This list is not exhaustive, and the Home Office will consider each application on a case by case basis. It will be for the Home Office decision-maker to decide what is reasonable in the circumstances.

Although the Home Office will accept late applications indefinitely, the guidance says that, generally, the more time that has passed since the deadline, the harder it will be for an applicant to satisfy the Home Office that there are reasonable grounds for the failure to make an application in time.

If you have not already sought advice on your circumstances, then it is very important that you do so now. Even though the Home Office allows for late applications, it should be a last resort. Our immigration team are happy to provide advice on applications to the EU Settlement Scheme.