From today EU citizens with a valid passport, as well as their non-EU citizen family members with a valid biometric residence card, can apply for settled status.
To apply during this stage of the roll-out of the scheme, applicants must use the EU Exit: ID Document Check app on an Android smartphone or tablet to check their passport or residence card. The app is not currently available on Apple devices and it is not possible to apply by post unless the applicant's biometric chip is damaged or defective.
This is a voluntary test phase before the scheme becomes fully open on 30 March 2019. At that stage, EU citizens will be able to rely upon their biometric national identity card to prove their identity, rather than only a passport, and will also have the option to post their identity document to the Home Office rather than using the app.
This stage follows several pilot application schemes in late 2018 for workers in the higher education, health and social care sectors. Feedback on that phase published here indicated that by 13 December 2018, 12,400 out of more than 15,500 applications received had been concluded (71% granted settled status; the remainder granted pre-settled status). A full report is due to be published later this month.
Under the terms of the settlement scheme, EU citizens will have until 30 June 2021 to apply for settled or pre-settled status. Click here to read our previous blog about the application process and implications of the new immigration status.
The government also announced today that the proposed £65 fee for making a settled status application will be waived when the scheme is launched on 30 March. Anyone who has, or will, apply during the pilot phase will have their fee reimbursed, with further detail to be announced shortly.