My baby still does not yet have (pre-)settled status. Can I travel abroad? Can I return to the UK?
The Gov.UK website says that “joining family members”, i.e. those who did not live in the UK by 31 December 2020, cannot travel to the UK (to live) without either EUSS status or an EUSS Family Permit having been granted. (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/entering-the-uk-under-the-eu-settlement-scheme-and-eu-settlement-scheme-family-permit).
This can cause problems for families with babies or children, born after 31 December 2020, who have not yet applied or have applied and are waiting on a decision, as these children will be ‘joining family members’. These families are therefore not allowed to go abroad and return to the UK, or allowed to come to the UK if the baby was born abroad.
This Government guidance for border procedures post 1 July 2021 (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/eea-nationals-at-the-border-post-grace-period) states in the last page on page 14 that ‘compelling circumstances’ must be taken into consideration. Page 60 of the same guidance then says:
“Children or vulnerable adults without EUSS applications
You may encounter children at the border, where their parent(s) or guardian have obtained EUSS for themselves or have a pending application, but they have not applied for the child.
In such cases, provided that you are satisfied as to the relationship between the adult and the child, you should treat the circumstances as sufficiently compelling (in light also of the s.55 duty) so as to warrant a grant of LOTR instead of refusing entry and granting bail.”
We have asked the Home Office for comment and clarification on the above.