Settled status for EU citizens and their families
The countdown to the UK’s historic EU breakaway has begun with negotiations well underway, but what will Brexit mean for the millions of EU citizens who currently live and work in the UK?
Whilst there will be no change to the status of EU citizens living in the UK while the UK remains in the EU, it is worth starting to think about applying for permanent UK residency in order to avoid immigration restrictions that may result when we exit on 29th March 2019.
The agreement that has been reached for EU citizens and their families is as follows:
- People who, by 31st December 2020, have been continuously and lawfully living in the UK for 5 years will be able to apply to stay indefinitely by obtaining ‘settled status’. That means they will be free to live in the UK, have access to public funds and services and go on to apply for British citizenship.
- People who arrive by 31st December 2020, but who won’t have been living here for 5 years when the UK leaves the EU, will be able to apply to stay, until they have reached the 5-year threshold. They can then, at that point, also apply for settled status.
- Family members who are living with, or join, EU citizens in the UK by 31st 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 31st December 2020.
Things to also note:
- There are discussions with Norway, Iceland, Lichtenstein and Switzerland about securing the status of their citizens who are resident in the UK, and UK nationals resident in those states.
- Irish citizens won’t need to apply for settled status and will continue to have the right to work, study and access public services in the UK.
EU citizens and their family members who have been living in the UK for 5 years will need to apply to get their “settled” status document. The application fee will be £65 and £32.50 for children under 16. If already in possession of a valid permanent residence document, it will be free. The promise is that the application process will be as streamlined, quick and user-friendly as possible. The registration scheme is expected to open before the end of 2018 and will remain open for applications until 30th June 2021. During this period, rights in the UK will be protected. Applications that do not receive a decision before the end of this period can continue living here until the decision is made. There are no quotas for applications.
For more information visit: www.gov.uk/settled-status-eu-citizens-families