Brexit – Our advice to EU Nati

Brexit – Our advice to EU Nationals living in the UK

The situation for EU nationals currently living in the UK, following the Brexit vote, remains unclear. Indications also seem to be as if there will, unfortunately, not be a decision on the situation of EU nationals living in the UK soon.

Brexit – Our advice to EU Nati

All the different reports and speculations on what will happen are obviously causing distress and confusion for our EU clients, following the Brexit vote. According to the Daily Express, the Home Secretary Amber Rudd has previously admitted that the EU nationals living in the UK will need ‘some sort of documentation.’  What this documentation will be, only time will tell.

In the light of the current uncertainty, we recommend the following to our EU national clients;

  • EU nationals currently living in the UK who do not hold EEA Registration Certificates should apply for these cards without delay. This will serve as proof that the person held a Registration Certificate for the UK prior to the UK leaving the EU.
  • EU nationals who currently qualify to apply for UK Permanent Residence should apply without delay.

It is important to note that in the past, EU citizens who have been exercising the EU treaty rights in the UK for six years or longer could apply for UK citizenship straight away. However, since 12 November 2015, if a person with Permanent Residence in the UK (Indefinite Leave to Remain) wishes to apply for British Citizenship, he or she first have to apply for a Permanent Residence Card.

EEA Nationals and their family members, who have been living in the UK for the required period, are thus no longer able to apply for British Nationality straight away. They first have to apply for Permanent Residence. This change in the UK Immigration Rules was introduced by the British Nationality (General) (Amendment No. 3) Regulations 2015.

The application for Permanent Residence is similar to the Indefinite Leave to Remain application. Should the EU citizen be successful in his/her application, it will mean that there are no restrictions attached to the person’s leave in the UK.

To qualify to apply for Permanent Residence, the following criteria among other things have to be fulfilled;

You must normally have lived in the UK for a continuous period of five years as

  • an EEA national ‘qualified person’ (worker, self-employed, self-sufficient, student or job seeker),
  • an EEA national former worker or self-employed person who has ceased activity in the UK because you have retired, are permanently incapacitated, or you’re now working or self-employed in another EEA state but still retain your residence in the UK.

EU citizens are not required to undertake the Life in the UK test and English language requirement to apply for permanent residence. However, you will be required to undertake these when applying for British citizenship.

Once you have obtained permanent residence, you will be eligible to apply for British citizenship. You may not be required to wait an additional period before qualifying as the UK Home Office will provide the date of when you have been deemed to have received permanent residence. This means that 12 months from the date you were deemed a permanent resident you will be able to apply for citizenship.

The consultants at Breytenbachs understand the uncertainty and stress surrounding these applications. You are welcome to arrange a consultation with one of our OISC registered consultants, and allow us to ease the burden and assist you with the application.  We offer a professional, friendly and exemplary service that will put your mind at ease and ensure that the application process is smooth and efficient!

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