Help at hand for residents applying to the European Union Settlement Scheme

Support is being offered to EU, EEA or Swiss citizens applying for settled or pre-settled status in the UK.

From Monday (June 10) Oxfordshire County Council will assist residents completing the ID verification process to the European Union Settlement Scheme (EUSS).

Oxford Register Office and 16 libraries across the county will offer the document validation service as Britain prepares to leave the EU.

Settled or pre-settled status will enable European Union, European Economic Area or Swiss citizens to continue living in the UK beyond June 30, 2021.

Support offered by Oxfordshire County Council’s Cultural Services is all part of the council’s commitment to thriving communities – helping people live safe, healthy lives and play an active part in their community.

Protecting rights of EU, EEA or Swiss citizens living in the UK 

Should Britain leave the EU with no deal on October 31, residents will have until December 31, 2020, to apply to the European Union Settlement Scheme (EUSS). If there is a deal, residents will have until June 30, 2021, to apply.

If your application is successful, you’ll get either settled or pre-settled status. This means you’ll be able to:

  • work in the UK
  • use the NHS
  • enrol in education or continue studying
  • access public funds such as benefits and pensions, if you’re eligible for them
  • travel in and out of the UK

Identity verification 

To apply to the EUSS, residents will need a current valid EU, EEA or Swiss passport or a valid Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) for family members of an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen.

In addition to completing an online application, applicants are required to scan their identity documents using a compatible Android phone or tablet. This can be your own phone or tablet or someone else’s.

If your mobile phone or other device doesn’t have near field communication (NFC), you can drop into one of 16 libraries across the county, where you can make use of an Android device to complete the first part of the application process; scanning your documents. Once this is done, you will be able to complete the application yourself on any device or computer.

Libraries in Abingdon, Banbury, Bicester, Botley, Carterton, Cowley, Didcot, Headington, Henley, Kidlington, Oxfordshire County Library, Summertown, Thame, Wallingford, Wantage and Witney have android devices available for residents to use. Users will need to bring their own mobile phone to accept a pin verification code as part of the process.

Residents requiring assistance to scan their documents can drop into the Oxford Register Office, where staff can provide support. Users will need to bring their own mobile phone to accept a pin verification code for this service. There will be a £14 fee for non-Oxfordshire residents using this service at Oxford Register Office, so please bring along proof of residence.

Residents requiring support to complete the whole application can request this from the Home Office by contacting the Assisted Digital Service. Phone: 03333 445 675 Monday to Friday, 9am to 6pm, or Saturday, 9am to 4pm.

Cllr Lorraine Lindsay-Gale, Cabinet member for Cultural Services, said: “We’re delighted to be offering this service and hope that many people apply to the European Union Settlement Scheme and get that peace of mind.

“We’re such a diverse county and I’m sure our European citizens will welcome this support from our libraries and Oxford Register Office.”

‘Application process is incredibly simple’ 

Rikke Hansen, Head of Integration and Improvement in Community Operations at Oxfordshire County Council, has successfully completed the EUSS process.

She moved to Oxfordshire from Denmark in 2013 and explained: “I decided to apply to the scheme as early as possible because I knew I wanted to stay in this country and I wanted to get it out of the way and get peace of mind that it was sorted.

“For me, being able to participate in the democratic processes of the country I have made a home in is important and because of that I am also considering applying for citizenship, which you can do a year after being granted SS.

“The application process is incredibly simple. It literally takes about 10 minutes and I got a response about three weeks later.

“The only inconvenience is that it isn’t possible to scan your ID using an iPhone and won’t be until the end of this year. For the council to provide this service at Oxford Register Office and making Android phones available for use in the 16 libraries is a massive help.”

Information on who is required to apply for pre-settled or settled status can be found on the website.