EUSS is an EU Settlement Scheme is a UK immigration registration scheme for EU nationals and their families to remain legally in the UK post-Brexit.
Whether you submitted your application late after the deadline or looking to apply for settlement after 5 years of legal residence in the UK, you need to revisit the evidence rules that apply for your application to be successful.
Surprise! Surprise! EUSS evidence rules became even more stringent.
The initial idea was to allow as many people as possible to register for EUSS with the least possible hassle. Currently, however, the emphasis is on the right evidence.
Here are 5 tips for better evidence:
1. Make sure the sources are good and official
Yes. These are the official sources of information, which may include your employer, your bank, utility providers and your Council.
Kindly note that the Home Office by definition will not be keen to accept evidence from the lesser known companies and institutions.
Therefore, you are always better off with going for better known names, such as local banks and authorities.
Evidence submitted by the new-comers in the market simply do not have the same weight as they are yet to establish their brand credibility.
2. Make sure that your sources are based in the UK
The Home Office made it clear on several occasions that it will not accept bank statements from banks based overseas as evidence. You will need to look for a UK based source instead.
Sometimes it may be difficult to replicate as you need appropriate UK immigration status in order to be able to open a bank account on a high street.
3. Submit third-party evidence to justify any discrepancies due to COVID-19
As humans we understand why it was not safe to travel during COVID-19. However, as you submit your application with the Home Office, this is not sufficient to be successful.
Where do you turn for better evidence then?
You need to save any communications that told you not to travel, including the postings by the Home Office or UK foreign travel advice.
You are expected to have saved any flight cancellations and bookings records that build up your story of you not being able to travel during this challenging time.
It is also expected that you have saved your doctor’s advice not to travel and not simply declaring so yourself. You need to identify the third party source, which helps you to tell your story.
4. Watch out for the 6 months gap
Similar considerations apply for the 6 months gap. Although gaps (the significant amount of time spent overseas) may be allowed in limited circumstances, these need to be carefully recorded and explained.
Third party evidence is always a better source of information than self-declaring. And then there is the appropriate pecking order between the third party sources in accordance with their credibility.
Some sources of information are perceived as more credible than others.
The bottom line is that you do not leave a stone unturned. You need to be able to tell your story and back it up with reliable sources of information.
5. Beware of GDPR limitations
GDPR stands for General Data Protection Regulation. The Data Protection Act 2018 implements GDPR in the UK.
As a part of your application process, the Home Office case-worker is very likely to reach out to institutions to confirm that they are the source of information and they have issued the information or wrote a letter confirming the information.
Some of these institutions and officials are likely to refuse to confirm or deny such information citing GDPR grounds.
Therefore, you need to be proactive and advise the relevant authorities that they are likely to be contacted by the Home Office for verification purposes and they should not be withholding information to the Home Office on GDPR grounds.
For example, you were regularly staying at hotels while in the UK. The Home Office does not accept receipts or booking confirmations as evidence. Therefore, you ask the hotel to write a letter confirming your stay.
The Home Office upon receiving the letter, subsequently calls the hotel to confirm that it was them who released the information. You need to advise your hotel to cooperate with the Home Office and to not withhold information on GDPR grounds.
How do you make your evidence better?
You make sure that:
- Your sources of information are official, well-known, credible and are based in the UK;
- Submit any relevant information due to COVID-19 travel restrictions and explain any gaps and long-term absences;
- You are proactive with limitation on information as imposed by DGPR;
- You work with an experienced UK immigration adviser to avoid disappointment.
The stakes are simply too high to risk your and your family’s UK immigration application to be refused simply because the evidence you submitted to the Home Office is not good enough.
Therefore, I encourage you to take your best foot forward and take all the necessary steps for your application to be successful.
Want to make sure that you are applying for the right visa for you and your family and you want to increase your chances of success for UK visa applications, schedule a phone call with me.
Saule Voluckyte, M.A.E.S, LL.B, FAIA
I have been working exclusively with UHNWI in Mayfair, London since January 2008. I built specialist knowledge and expertise required to serve ultra high net worth individuals investing, operating and relocating to the UK or Switzerland.
Within the industry, I am the single adviser who is able to traverse the different areas of expertise and bring a comprehensive approach across: global structuring, UK immigration, international taxation and FOREX to develop their global wealth strategy, while they build, grow and expand their wealth worldwide.
Previous experience as one of the senior advisors for the government, made me a go-to person when delicate and uncomfortable scenarios involving heads of state need to be handled with care and preserve privacy.