Theresa May has suffered a crushing defeat in the House of Commons, with 432 MPs voting against her Brexit deal to leave the European Union.

As the worst defeat in House of Commons history, it leaves Britain and Brexit in deeper chaos, and perhaps no further forward than the vote to leave the EU over two years ago.

This means that EU citizens are still living in a state of limbo in the UK, with many concerned about what Brexit means for their life in the UK.

From the outset of negotiations, citizens’ rights have been one of the key things to be agreed in principle, with both the EU and UK stating that citizens resident in other member states should be able to confirm their status in a way that is no more expensive than a national of any given state being able to obtain a passport or ID card, and that the process should be as light-touch as possible.

The proposed plan is that EU citizens and their family members in the UK will have to apply for settled status (or pre-settled status) in order to confirm their rights in the UK. The timescale for this and who it affects will be different according to whether the UK leaves the EU with a deal or without.

What is settled status?

Settled status is a type of indefinite leave to remain for EU citizens and their family members who have been living in the UK for 5 years. If the individual has not yet been in the UK for 5 years, they would obtain pre-settled status allowing them to remain in the UK until they reach the 5 year point to apply for settled status.

What is the process for obtaining settled status?

Applications for settled or pre-settled status will be made using an online application form. The individual will need to upload proof of their identity, residence in the UK, and relationship to an EU family member in the UK if they are from outside the EU.

In most cases ID can be uploaded using an Android tablet or mobile or, if that’s not possible, sent by post. Online checks with HMRC and DWP will be made to quickly confirm the applicants time in the UK which should mean most applicants don’t need to send off further evidence. Finally, a criminal record check will be made.

The cost for applications will be £65 for over 16s, £32.50 for under-16s.

What are the timescales for applying?

The Withdrawal Agreement provides that EU citizens and their family members who are in the UK by midnight on 31 December 2020 will be able to apply for settled and pre-settled status, with the deadline for applying being 30 June 2021.

Close family members can join the citizen in the UK even after 31 December 2020 where the relationship existed prior to that date and is continuing thereafter.

What happens if there is no deal?

Timescales for applying would be different. Only those EU citizens and family members in the UK on 29 March 2019 would be able to apply for settled or pre-settled status and the deadline for doing so would be 31 December 2020. EU citizens here would be able to bring family members where the relationship had existed pre-29 March 2019 until 29 March 2022 or, where the relationship was entered into after 29 March 2019, until 31 December 2020.

To speak with a specialist in immigration law about your situation and the possible issues when the UK leaves the European Union, call Farleys Solicitors on 0845 287 0939 or submit your enquiry through our online form.