EU NATIONALS living in Dorset and the rest of Great Britain are being encouraged to sign up to stay in the UK or risk living in the country illegally.

Time is running out for EU, Economic European Area (EEA) or Swiss citizens and their families to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme to continue living in the UK after June 30, 2021.

Citizens from the EEA, which includes all EU countries plus Iceland, Norway and Lichtenstein, along with Swiss nationals, can apply online to the EU Settlement Scheme by following this link.

EUSS and Community Development Officer Christine Brienne said: “People from these countries need to do it in order to get a status, settled or pre-settled, giving them the right to continue to live and work in the UK after June 30.

“After 30 June, they could become illegal even if they have lived in the UK for many years – this includes children born in the UK but who are not British, and spouses and family members.

“However, it is a challenge for those who are not digitally literate or those who have issues proving their residency.”

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EU nationals are asked to download the ‘EU Exit: ID Document Check’ app on their mobile phone and complete a three-stage process.

This is done by proving your identity, showing that you live in the UK and that you arrived before December 31, 2020 and declaring any criminal convictions.

For those who struggle to use technology or are not fluent in English, help is available courtesy of the Dorset Race Equality Council and Citizens Advice BCP.

Christine added: “It also concerns family members and children, and it can be difficult for those who are not fluent in English.

“Spouses who are third country nationals (outside the EU) will also need to apply but it is a lot more complex for them.

“And individuals who are isolated, vulnerable and considered at risk will find it even more challenging. For all these reasons, our team is here to help.”

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A small team based across Dorset Race Equality Council and Citizens Advice BCP are able to provide EUSS help face to face or by phone, email and video call.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, the team have had to adapt their ways of engaging and helping individuals but have continued to provide face to face sessions at Bournemouth Central Library.

As soon as they are able to, face to face services in various parts of Dorset will be resumed, including home visits for the most vulnerable.

The EUSS services provided by Dorset Race Equality Council and Citizens Advice are free of charge as we are funded by the Home Office to deliver the project, however this funding is to come to an end soon.

“We are keen to reach out all those who have not applied yet, and those who have already applied but have queries about accessing their status online, or who have not received their status yet after several months,” said Christine.

“There are only three months left and whilst applying online can be straightforward for some, it is not the case for the more complex cases which can take a lot longer to submit.

“Hence the urgency to apply now and contact us for help.”

For more information and to arrange a consultation, contact 07743 370459 or visit