Despite Brexit being delayed until 31 October 2019, 29 March saw the full launch of the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS), as originally planned. For the most part, our experience with the EUSS has been positive, with applications processed promptly and without the need to submit extra documentation to UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI). The article looks at some of the practical tips we have learned through our experiences so far.
1. Document verification and upload is easiest if you have access to an Android device
For now at least, the system works best when using the online application form and accompanying Android app. Unfortunately, due to issues surrounding Apple security settings, it is not possible to verify or upload documents to the EUSS app via iPhone. We’ve found that using the Android app works well, allowing applicants to confirm their identity and upload necessary documents without the need for in-person appointments or postal submission.
Where problems have arisen – we have experienced total failure of the application form’s document upload service, for example – the application can still proceed. If any documents are unable to be uploaded, a UKVI caseworker will advise on submission by post. It is worth noting that documents cannot be provided via the online UKVCAS/Sopra Steria process used for non-EEA applications.
2. In some cases the online services are not available
Despite the UKVI website promising flexibility for identity documents, the Android app is more restrictive. EU nationals can proceed with either their passport or a National ID card, but only where these documents contain machine readable zone data. Non-EU nationals are not permitted to rely on their passports, and can only use the Android app for identity verification if they hold a UK Biometric Residence Permit.
Where the required identity documents are not held, applicants can proceed with an online EUSS application, but their identity and documents cannot be verified using the accompanying app. Those individuals are required to attend a separate identity appointment, arranged via the UKVCAS service applicable to other non-EEA applications.
3. Other categories of applicant cannot use the online form or Android app
Unfortunately, not every applicant is able to use the online application form, even if they have access to an Android device to link with the app. Family members of British nationals (under the Surinder Singh route) are an example of this, and they are required to arrange their application directly with UKVI, via the EU Settlement Resolution Centre.