What happens if you miss the deadline for your application for settled or pre-settled status
If you miss the deadline for your application for settled or pre-settled status and you have no right to remain in the UK under a different route, then you will lose your rights to enter, remain, work, study, claim benefits, have a bank account, or rent a house in the UK.
You should leave the country as soon as possible and on your own expense.
Your employer must not offer you work anymore, and your bank must close your account. Landlords are forbidden to rent their houses to illegal immigrants. HMRC and the Department for Work and Pensions will stop any benefit paid to you if you are not able to provide them with a code allowing them to check online your immigration status in the UK.
But (yes, there is a “but”), you may be able to make an application after the deadline, if you can satisfy the Home Office that, at the date of the late application, there are reasonable grounds for your failure to meet that deadline.
You must provide sufficient information as to the reasonable grounds for your failure to meet the deadline. If you fail to do this, the caseworker must attempt to engage with you and give you a reasonable opportunity to submit this information. The Home Office will exercise discretion in your favour where appropriate, to minimise administrative burdens.
What may amount to reasonable grounds on which the caseworker may be satisfied that you have reasonable grounds for missing the deadline? For example, if you were a child at the time of the deadline, and your parents have not been aware that a separate application must be made for you. Or if you lack the physical or mental capacity to apply, or you had a serious medical condition or were undergoing significant medical treatment in the months before, or around the time of, the deadline. Another example is where you were prevented from applying because you were a victim of modern slavery (which includes trafficking), or of domestic violence or abuse, or in a controlling relationship. Other compelling practical or compassionate reasons may also amount to reasonable grounds on which the Home Office may be satisfied that you have reasonable grounds for missing the deadline, for example where you did not apply before the deadline being unaware of the requirement to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme by the deadline, or where you had no internet access, or limited computer literacy, or limited English language skills, or had been living overseas.
The approach of the Home Office (as expressed in the official guidance for the caseworkers) is that they will give you the benefit of any doubt in considering whether, in light of information provided with the application, there are reasonable grounds for your failure to meet the deadline, unless this would not be reasonable in light of the particular circumstances of the case.
If you missed the deadline, you should apply as soon as possible and not wait any longer, because, as a matter of principle, the more time has elapsed since the deadline, the harder it will be for you to satisfy the caseworker that, at the date of application, there are reasonable grounds for your failure to meet that deadline.
If you want to apply for settled or pre-settled status and need specialist advice, feel free to contact me. Please note that I am an accredited immigration adviser, not an employee of the UK Visas and Immigration. I charge fees for the advice provided.