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Saturday, June 12th, 2021, 3:11 pm

Ongoing Investigation: Does the UK Home Office ‘Force’ EU Citizens to Carry Around Tracking Devices?

To fire this off amicably and constructively, I am going to disclose what was already mentioned here last year and earlier this year (at the expense of my personal privacy). Technically, even though I’ve been in the UK for over 2 decades, I never swapped my German nationality for British. Seeing the aftermath of Brexit, I don’t regret it either. There’s that sense that people will never see you as “true British”, even if you get naturalised as one. What was supposed to be more of a routine application to settle became more like campaigning, not truly out of choice but due to circumstances. As it turns out, settlement after Brexit seems somewhat conditional, for all sorts of hidden obstacles and weird barriers seem to exist.

In this latest round of Brexit bizarro world, it seems virtually impossible for EU citizens who are in the UK to settle unless they carry a so-called ‘mobile’ ‘phone’ (tracking device). Landline? Not enough! They want to know where you are all the time.

Following a related challenge at a local (regional) level, I’ve decided to step it up a bit by challenging this at a more national level. With only a few weeks before the deadline, no excuses like “coming soon” will be acceptable. Most people aren’t going to tolerate it, even if the site still says “BETA”. They need to get their act together to disprove this supposedly ‘laughable’ idea that we’re ‘second-class’ citizens to our government.

As a starter, here’s an E-mail sent this afternoon, along with a bunch of screenshots that I’m including in-line. The E-mail is self-explanatory, I hope:

Dear Sir or Madam,

I am a resident of the UK and I’m based in Manchester. I need to apply for EU settlement but am unable to do so. The Town Hall does not offer the service anymore; I’ve exhausted my options there as they no longer offer identity verification and they blame COVID-19 for it (since over a year ago).

Looking at all the options online, I must have a mobile phone to use an “app” for it.



Alternatively, I can enter document details for documents to be sent to Home Office, but I cannot complete the process because this one too demands a mobile phone number.

Attached is proof that I cannot proceed with my landline entered. It must be a mobile phone number. I do not have that. In the screenshot I entered not my personal number (I tried the real one about 4 times already, from multiple computers in fact; my wife tried hers also) but a “4444444″ number, for the sake of protecting my number in this E-mail communication (it is not secured). It doesn’t matter what landline number is entered, it will always reject it.




So, looking at my options, when searching for my postcode, Salford, Trafford and Manchester aren’t applicable anymore. Halifax area is the nearest such service (to me), shown in the list from the official government site. Based on your Web site, you still offer this service.


I would like to book an appointment in which to settle this step. I do not intend to buy a mobile phone for this.

Your Web page at says:

“A mobile phone or other device that can receive text messages or email.”


I can bring one of my many laptops and, provided you have Wi-Fi, I will then connect to my E-mail account from my laptop and complete the process. You can see me in person, see all the original document etc. A lot better than “apps” that aren’t secure and not everyone can run (there are accessibility-related aspects as well).

I understand that this isn’t your ordinary kind of request (I am based far from you, but you are the nearest place that still offers this service, based on your site), but having spent a long time researching the matter it seems like all other options absolutely compel the applicant to have a mobile phone. Such a requirement would be in violation of a number of fundamental rights.

I look forward to your reply. The deadline for application is the end of this month (I have been trying for over a year, to the point of challenging the local municipality with a formal complaint) and it doesn’t look like any of the nearby municipalities entertains or facilitates this kind of service anymore.

I am actually rather shocked that less than 3 weeks before the deadline the site is still “BETA”. This means it will never be stabilised, it never actually reached maturity. I hope this isn’t meant to sent an discomforting message to EU citizens, who like myself lived and worked here in the UK for over 20 years.

Please get back to me as soon as possible,


I will follow up with their reply (if any). Failing that, I will speak to Home Office directly. They hide away the phone number, it’s hard to find a person to speak to, there’s no E-mail address, but there’s this generic number (not specific to this service):


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