For you and your family

Brexit Information for European Nationals

On 29 March 2017, the government triggered Article 50, which began the formal process for the UK to leave the European Union (EU) on 29 March 2019.

In December 2017, the UK government reached an agreement with the European Commission to secure the status of UK nationals living in other member states and EU citizens living in the UK after we exit the EU.

The UK remains a full member until we exit the EU, and all rights and obligations of membership remain in place until then.

FAQ’s about Brexit

What agreements have been made for EU citizens in the UK?

The agreement reached for EU citizens and their families is:

  • People who, by 31 December 2020, have been continuously and lawfully living here for 5 years will be able to apply to stay indefinitely by getting ‘settled status’. That means they will be free to live here, have access to public funds and services and go on to apply for British citizenship.
  • People who arrive by 31 December 2020, but won’t have been living here lawfully for 5 years when we leave the EU, will be able to apply to stay until they have reached the 5-year threshold. They can then also apply for settled status.
  • Family members who are living with, or join, EU citizens in the UK by 31 December 2020 will also be able to apply for settled status, usually after 5 years in the UK.
  • Close family members (spouses, civil and unmarried partners, dependent children and grandchildren, and dependent parents and grandparents) will be able to join EU citizens after exit, where the relationship existed on 31 December 2020.

EU citizens with settled status or temporary permission to stay will have the same access as they currently do to healthcare, pensions and other benefits in the UK.

What if I wish to make an application to settle?

You’ll be able to apply for settled status if you’re a citizen, or the family member of a citizen, of an EU country. It has been agreed with the EU that the conditions for EU citizens and their family members to get settled status in the UK will be the same as, or more generous than, those set out in the existing Free Movement Directive. In most cases this means you will need 5 years of continuous residence in the UK.

If you meet the criteria and submit a valid application you will be granted status, unless:

  • You were not resident in the UK by 31 December 2020
  • You are refused on the grounds of your serious criminal convictions or for security reasons

The withdrawal agreement will become a part of UK law and so the Home Office will not be able to refuse an application for any reason not covered by the agreement.

How can I apply for settled status?

EU citizens and their family members in the UK will need to apply to get their status document. Getting this status will prove (for example, to employers or public service providers) that they have permission to continue living and working here in future.

The application fee will be no more than the cost charged to British citizens for a UK passport. If you already have a valid permanent residence document, it will be free.

As an EU citizen applying to the scheme, you will need to:

  • provide an identity document and a recent photograph to confirm your identity and nationality
  • declare any criminal convictions

You will not have to:

  • account for every trip you have taken out of the UK
  • show evidence that you held comprehensive sickness insurance
  • give your fingerprints

The Home office expects the online application form to go live in late 2018.

What about permanent residence status under EU law?

Before the end of the implementation period, you don’t need to apply for a document to prove you can live in the UK unless:

A permanent residence document confirms that you have rights under European law. In the future, EU law will no longer apply and the migration and status of EU nationals will be subject to UK law.

There will be a simple process for you to exchange this for a settled status document free of charge and we won’t repeat any assessment of residence.

You will need to:

  • provide an identity document and a recent photograph to confirm your identity and nationality
  • confirm you still live in the UK
  • declare any criminal convictions

I have indefinite leave to remain in the UK. Am I affected by Brexit?

Indefinite leave to remain status will not be affected by the UK leaving the EU.

Once the application scheme for settled status opens there will be a simple process for you to exchange your old indefinite leave to remain document for a settled status document free of charge, should you wish to prove you benefit from the withdrawal agreement.

You will need to:

  • provide an identity document and a recent photograph to confirm your identity
  • confirm you still live in the UK
  • declare any criminal convictions

Do UK employers and EU citizen employees need to do anything?

EU citizens working in the UK and UK businesses employing EU citizens don’t need to do anything now.

The Home Office are working closely with businesses and others to look at how they will be affected by the changes.

For further expert and professional advice and assistance in relation to the current climate of uncertainty for EU nationals, please do not hesitate to contact our immigration team who are ready and able to guide you through the process and secure your residence post-Brexit.