Latest Development – Automatic Extension of Pre-Settled Status and Upgrade to Settled Status – What it Means to You?
Following a High Court judgment, UK Immigration Rules were amended to incorporate an automatic pre-settled status extension and automatic settled status upgrade.
Automatic Extension of Pre-Settled Status
From September 2023, if you have secured your pre-settled status under the EUSS, your status will be automatically extended for another 2 years, if you have not secured your settled status already.
The Home Office will automate this process and your extension will be reflected in your UKVI digital account. You will receive an email from the Home Office notifying you that your status was extended.
Once you receive your extension, your pre-settled status and rights will continue.
Automatic Upgrade from Pre-Settled Status to Settled Status
From 2024, the Home Office intends to automatically upgrade your pre-settled status. The continuity of your residence will be established through directly accessing your records as shared with HMRC and DWP.
However, if the Home Office is unable to make a decision on the data available, it will invite you to submit your application for settled status.
What does the Judgment Say?
The Court found that EUSS was operating unlawfully. Namely, the Court determined that individuals must not lose their residence rights because they failed to make a second application under the EUSS before their pre-settled status expired.
What are the practical implications to you?
The main caveat is that it remains unclear what will happen to you if you do not qualify for settled status during the extension because you broke your continuity of residence because of long absences.
The advice continues to be as follows:
- Apply for your settled status voluntarily as soon as you become eligible.
- You must not allow your pre-settled status to expire prior to receiving Home Office’s notification that your status was extended.
- Need to keep your digital status up-to-date, especially if you obtained a new passport or changed your email address after securing your pre-settled status.
- You are encouraged to continue to keep your own records to evidence your continuous residence in the UK.
EUSS: What Do You Need to Know?
The UK immigration status of the EU (EEA/Swiss) nationals and their family members has changed following Brexit.
It is no longer possible to arrive in the UK just holding an EU (EEA/Swiss) passport if the intention is to remain in the UK. For the new arrivals an ID card is no longer the accepted travel document and passport needs to be shown at the border.
If you have arrived and lived in the UK prior to the 31st December 2020, you may still be eligible to apply for the pre-settled or settled status (EUSS) in the UK.
However, if you are a new arrival and do not have family connections who could sponsor your visa in the UK, you will need to explore suitable UK immigration categories that may be suitable for your personal circumstances.
Who can apply for the EUSS?
EUSS is the abbreviation of the European Union Settlement Scheme. It is reserved for EU (EEA/Swiss) nationals and their family members.
The family members can be third country nationals as long as there is sufficient degree for a family connection.
The deadline to apply for EU (EEA/Swiss) nationals has now passed (30 June 2021). However, if there is a reasonable excuse a late application may be still accepted.
This immigration category remains open for the family members of EU (EEA/Swiss) nationals who have secured their own settled or pre-settled status under the EUSS.
However, the relationship between the family members must have started before 31 December 2020 to be eligible to apply for a family permit to join your family in the UK.
All new relationships fall under the requirements of a UK spouse visa. Previously, EU nationals and their spouses had different rules. Now all new relationships, which are formed after 31 December 2020 fall under UK spouse visa rules.
It is worth noting that if you are a partner of a British citizen and you have resided in an EU country prior to returning to live in the UK, the EUSS Family permit route for Surinder Singh and Zambrano applicants is now closed as of 8 August 2023.
The Duration of Pre-Settled Status
If you have secured a settled status, it means that you are free from UK immigration control and may be eligible to apply for British citizenship.
If you currently hold a pre-settled status, you may be able to upgrade your UK immigration to settled status in due course. You will need to demonstrate that you have been legally resident in the UK for 5 years and meet the rest of the mandatory requirements.
Always Stay on Top of Your UK Immigration Matters
Automatic pre-settled status extension and automatic settled status upgrade are very attractive options for a number of EU/EEA/Swiss citizens in the UK if you have not secured your settled status.
The ultimate advice is not to wait until you receive your extension from the Home Office, but apply as soon as you become eligible.
Circumstances change and with the changing personal circumstances your eligibility for successful application changes.
Although extension of your pre-settled status may appear automatic, it does not mean it is guaranteed. You are still responsible for complying with UK immigration rules and applying for the extension of your status before your current leave expires.
You need to keep your digital records up-to-date on your UKVI account. You need to make sure the information is current and you are able to access your UKVI digital account in order to monitor it.
Keep your own records. By being careful and keeping your own records, you are increasing your chances of a successful application. You will note that the evidence requirements for the application to be successful are becoming more stringent.
Perhaps, the most important recent change to EUSS is the abolition of the Administrative Review. You need to get your application right the first time round as it is no longer possible to apply for the Administrative Review. You still have the legal right of appeal, which is a legal (Court) process and not an administrative one.
Get Your Application Right the First Time Round!
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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.