LONDON – Citizens from member states belonging to the European Union who are currently living in the United Kingdom and who wish to stay in the country after it leaves the bloc would, from Monday, be able to apply for a scheme allowing them to do so, according to the British government.
The Home Office has opened the process up to some 3.8 million EU citizens residing in the UK, who would be able to submit their applications online or through a phone app.
“If you’re an EU citizen, you and your family will be able to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme to continue living in the UK after 30 June 2021,” advice on the government’s website said.
The UK is set to leave the EU on March 29, but EU citizens have until June 30, 2021, to apply for the scheme, which costs applicants 65 pounds sterling ($83) for those aged 16 years and over and 32.50 pounds for under 16s.
EU citizens resident in the UK who already have a permanent residency document will need to apply for settled status and would not be required to pay the fee.
Irish citizens would not need to apply owing to an agreement known as the Common Travel Area, which was established between the Republic and Ireland and the UK back in 1923.
Citizens from beyond the EU who are married, in a civil union or partnership with an EU citizen, would have to apply for settled status.
EU citizens who are married to a British citizen but have not taken British citizenship would also have to apply.
The UK government has said it will give indefinite permanent residence to EU citizens and family members who have lived in the UK for five years until June 2021.
Those who do not meet the five-year threshold would be given “pre-settled” status until they have accumulated five years living in the UK to become “settled.”
There was uncertainty surrounding the terms of the UK’s withdrawal from the bloc on schedule after UK lawmakers roundly rejected the deal reached between the government of Prime Minister Theresa May and the EU on Jan. 15.