Immigration Options for EU & EEA Nationals After Brexit

Since the vote for Brexit permanent residence & citizenship applications have more than doubled in the UK. While Brexit doesn’t go into effect until sometime after March of 2019, many EU & EEA nationals are planning ahead & identifying alternate immigration options. Rights will not change prior to Brexit, current EEA residency will expire & be replaced with an alternative & yet to be determined path to citizenship. Below is a look at the current EEA visa options, which need to be maintained until Brexit goes into effect.

Registration Certificates For EU/EEA Nationals

Registration certificates confirm resident status in the UK. However, EEA & Swiss nationals with current certificates—will no longer be valid after the UK leaves the EU. A yet to be identified process will be made available. If you are in need of a certificate until then, you must not put off registration. You qualify for the current registration certificate if you are currently working, studying, are self-employed, or in-between jobs but looking for work.

Extended family members of the above-qualified members will still need to obtain a registration certificate. This includes siblings, cousins, aunts & uncles, relatives by marriage, unmarried partners, & next generation relatives. The extended family member must be financially dependent on the qualified person, living in the same house as their qualified person, or have a medical condition that requires their qualified family member to care for them.

EEA Residence Card

You only need to apply for a UK Residence Card if you are both from outside the EEA or Switzerland & are an extended family member of someone from the EEA or Switzerland. Residence cards are valid for 5 years, but will not be valid on the yet-to-be-determined date of Brexit. An alternate application process will replace the current residence card, but this has not yet been outlined. In the meantime, you must apply for a residence card. This will make re-entering the country easier, will allow you to work in the UK, & provide a variety of benefits & services.

EEA Permanent Residence

If you have lived in the UK on an EEA visa for 5 years, you can now apply for permanent residency. Permanent residency is not the same as citizenship, any permanent residency obtained prior to Brexit will not be valid after the UK leaves the EU. You will need to provide proof that you are qualified or the extended family member of the qualified person for the last 5 years. Qualification includes proof of employment , education, that you are self-sufficient, or looking for work.

EEA Family Permit

If you or an immediate or extended family member lives outside of the EEA or is a Swiss national, & wants to come to the UK they will need to apply for an EEA family permit. EEA family permits can also be extended to carers & carer’s children, if your qualified EEA national family member has passed away, or you are no longer married to or partners with your qualified EEA national. You may also qualify for Surinder Singh, if you have previously lived in an EEA country with a family member who is a British citizen. Permits obtained now will no longer be valid after Brexit.

Retained Rights Of Residence

You may be able to retain the right of your residence with an EEA family permit:
  • After a divorce , annulment, or dissolution of a marriage or civil partnership.
  • If your qualified resident has deceased; as long as you have lived in the UK for at least 12 months.
  • If you are the child of an EEA national who has deceased, moved from the UK; or you are the child of a former spouse or civil partner—& you are still in school.
  • You are a parent of a child who has an educational right of residency.
    Again, these EEA visas will no longer apply after Brexit.

The New Residency & Visa Alternatives

Brexit will go into effect sometime after March of 2019. While this is just over a year away, you must comply with the current paths to residency. When the new path to residency is announced, immigration offices are sure to be flooded with applications. As the top UK immigration solicitors in London, we strongly urge you to keep your eye on the news—& check back to our website soon to ensure you are apprised of the new path as soon as it is made available.

If you have any additional questions about the EEA visas above, how Brexit & the EEA affect your citizenship, or on how to apply for British citizenship —reach out to Gulbenkian Andonian Solicitors today.

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