As the negotiations rumble on ahead of Britain’s official departure from the European Union (EU), one thing is certain – European Nationals are facing a lot of uncertainties!
One of the areas in which questions are being asked is the current and future status of EU nationals who live in the UK. The government has reassured EU citizens that until the UK leaves the EU next year on 19 March 2019, they will continue to enjoy the same status and rights to remain in the country. What happens after that is dependent on a number of conditions.
For pragmatic forward planning, there are a few scenarios for EU nationals to consider if they remain in the UK past December 31 2020, depending on their particular situation.
Living in the UK for more than five years
Those EU nationals who have been living in the UK for more than five years come 31 December 2020 will be free to apply for settled status, which means that they can stay indefinitely. They will be on the path to British citizenship if they wish to apply, and also have access to public services.
Living in the UK for less than five years
EU nationals who have arrived before 31 December 2020, but who have not reached the five-year mark, are able to apply for further stay up until they reach a five-year period. Once they have accumulated five years’ residence, they will have the chance to apply again, this time for settled status.
In the case of family members who come to live with EU nationals in the UK before 31 December 2020 – they will also be able to apply for settled status after living in the UK for five years. It may still be possible for close family members to join relatives living as EU nationals in the UK after Brexit, so long as they can prove that this relationship began before 31 December 2020.
How does the future look like?
It appears that the Home Office is keen to assure companies and organisations that they would keep the door open to some EU nationals, by enabling continued status for those already living here.
Nevertheless, it remains to be seen how high success rates for settled status applications will be!
What can we consider in the meantime?
From 2021 onwards, the Home Office will be introducing new visa categories for EU nationals.
Many EU nationals who have lived in the UK for over 5 years are already applying for Permanent Residence and naturalise as British citizen (the latter is optional) to avoid any future changes which may jeopardise their status.
Those who have been here less than 5 years may apply for the EEA Residence Card.
They may also look into qualifying under alternative UK visa routes such as:
QC Immigration has a high success rate in helping EU nationals and their family members to secure their statuses in the UK. Book a consultation with us to discuss how best to plan your future.