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IBB’s Immigration Lawyers Write in ‘Law Plain and Simple’: The Options Available to European Citizens to Secure UK Residency

IBB’s Immigration Lawyers Write in ‘Law Plain and Simple’: The Options Available to European Citizens to Secure UK Residency

IBB’s Immigration lawyers discuss the potential options available to EU citizens resident in the UK following the Brexit decision.

The article was first published on ‘ Law Plain and Simple’ . Please click here for the link.

Re-published below:

Following the Brexit referendum and the UK’s vote to leave the European Union, over three million EU citizens living in the UK face uncertainty about whether they will be allowed to stay.

Below, we highlight the options available to European citizens to secure their residency status.

Currently, the main condition for the right to reside in the UK for EU citizens and their family members is by one of the following:

  • Employment
  • Self-employment
  • Student covered by comprehensive medical insurance
  • Self-sufficient covered by comprehensive medical insurance

It is advisable for EU citizens wishing to preserve their rights of residency to make an application to the UK Visa & Immigration Service for a document certifying residency.

Residency documents

There are categories of applications under the European regulations which can benefit the EU citizens and their non-EU family members living in the UK:

Rights to permanent residence

EU citizens who meet the above conditions, and who have been residing in the UK for a period of five years working (or as students, or self-sufficient) are considered to have acquired status of a Permanent Resident.

Permanent Resident status is a virtual one and doesn’t require a physical document to obtain the status. However, in view of the forthcoming exit from the EU, the document certifying permanent residence is crucial as proof of the right to remain in the UK without limit or restrictions.

Once acquired, it is highly unlikely that the Government would withdraw such rights post-Brexit. However, rights to permanent residence will expire if the individual is absent from the UK for a period of two years.

Simplified application process

The Government has been encouraging EU citizens to apply for residency documents and has recently introduced simplified processes such as online application forms and submission without passport service.

A local authority can photocopy EU citizens’ passports and forward a copy along with the application to UK Visas and Immigration, allowing applicants to keep their original passports while their applications are pending consideration. This is welcome news for those with busy travel schedules and who have been delaying their applications to avoid giving up their passports for up to six months.

The service isn’t currently available for non-EU family members, students or self-sufficient applicants.

British citizenship

After 12 months of receiving Permanent Residence status (providing that other requirements of the Nationality laws are met), you may apply to be naturalised as a British citizen. Similar rules apply to any non-EU family members, who can qualify for naturalisation following completion of 5 years residency as a family member of an EU citizen and 12 months under the permanent resident status.

Since November 2015, it is necessary to obtain the document certifying permanent residence before applying for British citizenship to the Nationality Department.

Contact our experienced immigration solicitors today

At IBB Solicitors, our experienced legal experts can provide advice on Tier 1, Tier 2 and Tier 5 visa applications, family and spouse visas, indefinite leave to remain, residency, and British citizenship matters. For more information please contact us today on immigrationteam@ibblaw.co.uk or call 03456 381381 to see how we can help you with your immigration matter. Alternatively please visit www.ibblaw.co.uk/service/immigration for more information.