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Applying for EU settled status – part 1

  • French
Reading Time: 7 minutes

My 3rd attempt…

I’ve been in Scotland for 14 years now. No problem to settle in for me or my 3 kids. We’ve always felt welcome here, it’s been much easier than I thought. Never had any issue with paperwork…until Brexit.

It is designed to be as simple and straightforward as possible…

screenshot of the heading of the page of the EU Settlement website

Screenshot from the website

Wednesday morning: appointment to scan my passport

The 3rd attempt started in the morning. Last time I tried, I wasn’t given the correct status and I was asked to mail my passport. I can’t do that, it would prevent me from travelling if I needed (family emergency or else), plus the Home Office has a terrible track record of losing documents and the French authorities are terrible too if I needed to re-do it if lost (but that’s another story!).

There are places where you can book an appointment and they scan your passport for you. That’s what I did this time. It took the employee 6 attempts to scan my passport and 3 more to get the chip. But it worked in the end yeah!

So I started the rest of the application at home.

A queue and a time limit to make your application

Sounds like Wednesday is a busy night for people applying….The BBC seems to confirm that Wednesday is special though… damn I should have known not to try on that day.

screenshot of the page showing that you need to wait in a queue to access the website. Your estimated wait time is: less than a minute

Once it’s your turn, there is a little music … for a second, I thought they were going to play some elevator music

screenshot showing that it’s my turn, the time it started and that I have 25 min to do my application

25 minutes Go! Go! Go!

Here are all the steps you need to go through to access your current application space. And that evening, I’ve done these 5 times…

screenshot: what identity document did you use in your application?
screenshot asking for your passport details
screenshot: asking for your date of birth

screenshot where you can chose to receive an email or a text to confirm your identity

I chose email, so this screenshot tell me to check my email and enter the security code
screenshot asking if I want to do: either view my application or submit more evidence

And you have a few things to enter. In the Criminal convictions part, they also ask you if you have ever supported, encouraged or been involved in genocide, war crimes, terrorist activities, or an extremist organisation. I’m not sure what is considered as an extremist organisation. Is Extinction Rebellion extremist? (update 19/01/2020: looks like it is now …) would a ‘Like’ on Facebook constitute “support”?

screenshot of the page asking if you have supported, encouraged or been involved in terrorism, war crimes, or extremist org.
screenshot showing all the section I have completed: identity, application type, residence in the UK, criminal convictions

There are a few login issues

It took me 5 go at the login steps to manage to enter all that was needed. At one point, after checking some paper documents, I came back to a screen asking me to login again, which I did (all the steps) and got that screen:

screenshot saying I'm already logged in. there is nothing but this on screen, and at the top, a heading saying AUK

ok…. but what do I do now? tried the back button of my browser but no luck: they disable quite a few things: you can’t take screenshots while on your phone, you can’t select text to copy on screen, and well…you can’t use the back button. So I decided to try the mysterious AUK at the top.

screenshot saying I'm not authorised to access this location

ok….I guess I’ll never know what AUK is. Let’s open a new tab and start from scratch:

start page of the EU settlement application with green a Log In button

Clicked on Log in button and got this:

message on screen saves I've signed out … there is a back to sign in link

Great, I love the content consistency by the way: Do I sign in or Log in?

Fortunately, the Sign back in link took me back to the first step of the login screen so I was back on track.

A few bumps along the road

Once you’ve provided the info, including your NI number, they are supposed to check against your tax record. No luck for me.

screenshot saying there was a problem accessing my records

Tried again later:

screen asking me for more evidence

I’ve been here for 14 years, so it’s settled status I need.

Tried to view what years were missing for me:

screen with a "there is a problem" error message on the "provide evidence for the following years" heading

Ok…. tried again:

screen saying I need to provide evidence of residence for any 6 months of this year, for year 2019, 2018, 2017, .. up to 2013

Right … So I’m asked for 8 years …. even though you only need 5. Also note that for 2016, 2017 and 2018 I’ve worked for at least 6 months for the government as a permanent, so really, they should have a trace of this in their system.


Provide proof

You’re allowed maximum 10 documents to prove your presence for at least 6 months for each year. So they suggested things like Council Tax bill to show a date range. For 2019, the current one won’t do though as they don’t accept dates in the future.

screenshot with error message saying you can't enter a date in the future when providing a date range for the document upload

I’ve sent documents and hope it will do. I took the time to phone them beforehand.

Don’t you worry about that

It’s the 3rd time I phone the service and I have to say, they are really nice on the phone. I asked all my questions and got “Don’t you worry about that” a few times. She said 5 years was enough. And if what I provide is not good enough, they will get back to me, not just turn me down.

We will see in about 5 days according to her as this is the time it take for them to look at submissions at the moment.

I took me about 2 hours that evening. Answering, multiple login, phone call, tracking the best documents to send, making sense of it all. Venting included. A lot of venting.

What next?

Confirmation email received:

email of confirmation that my application is submitted

Just need to wait now. Once I get the correct status (hopefully!), I still need to apply for 2 of my children under 21. They need my application reference number to be able to proceed with their own application.

Your application will be deleted in 5 days

The following Tuesday, I see I have an email from them. As it’s been about 5 days, at first, I thought I was getting my answer. But then I saw the subject of the email:

email saying my application is not completed and that they will delete it in 5 days if I don't complete it before the 06/10

What??? OK so trying not to freak out and calling them. After 15 minutes on hold, I give them my reference number for the application, answer the security questions and then: “Which application are you calling for?”

The one I just gave you the reference for? the one from last week?

They still have the application from my 2nd attempt in the system, back in May. The one where I was supposed to mail my passport for no clear reason and for which at the time they said that the only alternative was to withdraw my application and start again. Which I did. After requesting this twice by phone and 3 times in writing .Yes, even withdrawing an application is not straightforward… According to them, after more than two months, they had finally done it:

confirmation email from August for my application withdrawal

I guess it’s still in the system then. And according to the person on the phone this is the one the email (about deleting my application) is referring to. I hope so! There is no reference number in the deletion warning email, so who knows…?

I asked if she knew when I might hear back from them as it’s been 5 days I’ve applied and she said, in fact, it can take weeks….Great!


  • May 2005: move from France to Scotland
  • June 2016: Brexit referendum
  • March 2017: Article 50 is triggered
  • January 2019: first attempt to apply for settled status, can’t pass the second scan of my passport step.
  • May 2019: second attempt, passport scans ok, but they only give me pre-settled status as they are missing some tax data, and want me to mail my passport. 2 calls and 3 emails to get them to withdraw the application. At the time, I was only to provide evidence for 4 years.
screenshot showing I need to provide evidence for 2019, 2016, 2014, 2013

For the Lols

This screenshot is from the first attempt in January, once you scan your passport successfully, they play back the data to you on screen ….check the dates

screenshot showing data displayed backward as YY-MM-DD
This is a photo of a mobile screen (you can’t take screenshots)

To read about the outcome, check part 2 or to see what it’s like to apply for a child check part 3