As Home Secretary, I take immense pride that so many EU Citizens like you have made your home here.
Safeguarding the rights of EU citizens in the UK has always been our first priority and the agreement we reached with the EU earlier this year did just that. The rights that you and your family currently have are protected which include access to healthcare, benefits and pensions.
Away from the negotiations, my team in the Home Office have been working hard to develop the service that you’ll use to get your settled status. This work will continue as we make sure that the system and processes are rigorously tested and meet every requirement ahead of the launch.
Most importantly, the application process is designed to be simple. Most people will only need to complete three sections to prove their identity, show that they live here and declare that they have no serious criminal convictions. We will also check employment and benefits records we already hold in government which for many people will mean that their proof of living here is automatic. We hope therefore most people will not need to do anything beyond typing in personal details.
What’s more, settled status will cost less than the fee for a British passport - £65 and £32.50 for children under 16. For those who already have valid permanent residence or indefinite leave to remain documentation, they will be able to exchange it for free.
There will be support for the vulnerable and those without access to a computer, and we’re working with EU citizens’ representatives and embassies to ensure the system works for everyone.
I should stress that you do not need to do anything just yet. The scheme will open later this year and we are on track to open the scheme fully by 30 March 2019. The deadline for applications to the scheme will be 30 June 2021 so there will be plenty of time for you to apply and there are absolutely no quotas for applications.
I hope you will agree with me that this is an important step towards the commitment we made to you and your families so that you can continue your lives here.