Below you can find information about Brexit, how it may impact you as an EU citizen living in the UK, and what you may need to do next.
On 23 June 2016 the outcome of a United Kingdom (UK) referendum ended with the decision of the UK to leave the European Union (EU). This process of withdrawal is commonly referred to as Brexit. The decision means that on Brexit day European freedom of movement will end for EU citizens (including citizens of Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein), and their family members in the UK, and for British citizens living across the EU.
The EU and the UK has negotiated the terms of the UK's withdrawal from the EU, commonly referred to as the Withdrawal Agreement (the Brexit deal). According to this the UK is expected to leave the EU on 29 March 2019 and EU law in the main part would continue until the 31 December 2020. This means that free movement would also continue until this date. In case of no agreement ('no-deal' Brexit) free movement would end on 29 March 2019.
The end of free movement, whenever it happens, means that the residence status for EU citizens and their family members has to be protected under UK immigration law. The UK Government set up the EU Settlement Scheme which is in line with the Withdrawal Agreement and is designed for this purpose. The EU Settlement Scheme is a UK Home Office application process that nearly all EU citizens, and their family members, must complete to protect their future residence in the UK. Failure to apply under this scheme would mean that any future residence in the UK will be unauthorised and therefore unlawful. Therefore all EU citizens who arrive before Brexit and intend to stay in the UK after 31 December 2020 must take action and apply for this new UK immigration status.
The UK and the EU will continue to work on the Brexit deal which has to be ratified into law on both sides. To reassure EU citizens the the UK Government has confirmed that the EU Settlement Scheme – which is based on the Withdrawal Agreement – will be implemented whatever form Brexit takes. However, there will be some changes between the Scheme implemented under 'the Brexit deal' and in a 'no-deal' Brexit scenario.
This information aims to summarise the key aspects of the EU Settlement Scheme in both a 'deal' or in a 'no-deal' Brexit. It will also explain how a 'no-deal' Brexit would affect EU citizens coming to the UK after 29 March 2019.
In the event of the Brexit deal, the EU Settlement Scheme will be implemented in full and in accordance with the terms of the Withdrawal Agreement. This protects the future residence of EU citizens, and their family members, who are resident in the UK before 31 December 2020.
The requirements of the EU Settlement Scheme are predominantly residence based. A residence based application means that the Home Office will look at how long a person has been in the UK and not what they have been doing in the UK. Therefore, it is not dependent on a person's employment status, whether or not they are in receipt of benefits, or require possession of Comprehensive Sickness Health Insurance.
This means that for most EU citizens and their family members who have been continuallyin the UK for 5 years will be eligible to apply for a permanent status, called Settled Status. Those who have lived in the UK for less than 5 years will have to apply for a temporary permit called Pre-Settled Status. These people can apply for Settled Status once they achieve 5 years continuous residence.
Those applying must also prove their nationality and identity, and subject themselves to a criminality check, to acquire Pre-Settled or Settled Status.
Any EU citizen, or family members of an EU citizen, with documents issued by the Home Office under European free movement law - e.g. a Permanent Residence Document or a Residence Card – must also apply for either status under this scheme. Irish citizens are not required to apply, but can do so if they wish. Dual British/EU citizens are unable to apply by virtue of their British nationality but they do retain the protection of the Withdrawal Agreement.
The applications must be made by 30 June 2021 to secure EU citizens' right to live in the UK beyond this date. If an application is refused before 31 December 2020, the applicant has the option to independent immigration judge. If an application is refused after 31 December 2020 the applicant cannot reapply, and can only appeal the decision. Close family members (spouse, civil partner, and individuals in the ascending and descending lines of those persons plus related to the EU citizen on 31 December 2020 and future children born or adopted) who are not in the UK by this date will be able to join the EU citizen in the UK anytime in the future.to remedy the issue or appeal the decision to an
Pensions and associated rights will remain unchanged.
In the event of a 'no-deal' Brexit the practical aspects of the EU Settlement Scheme application process will remain unchanged, but there will be some changes to its requirements and the scope of its protections.
The Scheme will be only for EU citizens and family members resident in the UK before 29 March 2019 (instead of 31 December 2020 in a Brexit deal). They have to apply until 31 December 2020 (not 30 June 2021 as in a Brexit deal). All applications must be made by this date to secure the right to reside in the UK after this date.
The ability to challenge Home Office decisions is impacted by the removal of the right to appeal to an independent immigration judge. The only route for challenge will be a Home Officeor to challenge the decision by way of a
Family members of EU citizens will face a cut-off point to join their EU citizens in the UK. Close family members need to apply to join the EU citizen by 29 March 2022. New spouses and civil partners (i.e. related as such after 29 March 2019) and other dependent relatives, must apply by 31 December 2020. If family members do not apply by these dates, they will need to seek permission into the UK under the more restrictive UK immigration laws that will be in place at the time they seek to apply.
There may be changes to the pension protections.
The UK Government intends to implement a new immigration system by 1 January 2021. To bridge the time between 29 March 2019 and 1 January 2021, the UK Government will be implementing a temporary immigration system for EU citizens wishing to visit or come to reside in the UK from 30 March 2019.
EU citizens coming for short visits will be able to enter the UK as they can now, using their passport or national identity card visa-free, and stay for up to three months from each entry. EU citizens will be automatically granted leave to enterwith permission to work and study, which will mean they can start those activities on arrival.
EU citizens who wish to stay longer than three months will need to apply, before the end of this period, for the European Temporary Leave to Remain permit. This is a non-extendable 36-month permit, also with permission to work and study. The 36-month period starts from the date on which it is granted. Before this permit expires, and if the EU citizen wishes to stay in the UK longer, they will need to apply for any other of the permits that will become available in the new immigration system after 1 January 2021. If they cannot meet the requirements for any other available permit, they will need to leave the UK.
EU citizens may be accompanied by their close family members using the arrangements described above. Third-country close family members will need to apply in advance, before travelling, and will be subject to fees.