29 March 2017 will go down in history as the day Britain officially announced its resignation from the European Union by triggering Article 50. But why is this date so significant?
29 March marks the beginning of the end of a 44-year long relationship with the European Union. 29 March marks the beginning of a new era of politics for both Britain and the EU.
While there are countless topics that Britain and the EU must discuss during divorce proceedings such as trade, policing and intelligence, an issue on the minds of all EU citizens is whether or not their residency rights will be guaranteed as part and parcel of UK-EU negotiations.
So with all this in mind, a minority government and a lack of clarity on negotiation strategy, what can EU citizens do to secure their right to live and work in the UK?
- Apply for a Registration Certificate
Those EU citizens who have not been in the UK exercising their treaty rights for a minimum of 5 years (i.e. working, studying or being self-sufficient) can apply for a Registration Certificate. Whilst a Registration Certificate is not a mandatory requirement to prove your residency status in the UK, it can assist with demonstrating that you were in the country prior to any official Brexit dates. Should any issues arise in the future, you will have an element of immunity and be able to prove that you have not entered the UK recently, thus, fortifying your case to stay in the country regardless of future events.
- Apply for Permanent Residence – EEA(PR)
If you are an EU national, you have been residing in the UK for a minimum of 5 years and you have been exercising your treaty rights (i.e. working, studying, being a registered job-seeker or a self-sufficient individual), then you may be eligible to appresidly for EEA(PR). There are a few caveats however, including the requirement to have held Comprehensive Sickness Insurance (CSI) if you were either a student or a self-sufficient person. This also includes those individuals who have not been a registered job seeker during periods of unemployment. Permanent Residence will secure your right to live and work in the UK in the event of a hard Brexit and will guarantee your right to remain in the country regardless of negotiation outcomes.
- Apply for Naturalisation as a British Citizen
Unless you are married to a British citizen, those EU citizens who have held Permanent Residence for at least 12 months can apply to naturalise as a British citizen. To naturalise, you must be a person of good character (i.e. not having a serious or recent criminal record) and in most circumstances, need to meet the English language requirement, complete the Life in the UK Test and must have lived in the UK for at least 5 years before the date of your application. You must have also not spent more than 450 days outside of those 5 consecutive years and no more than 90 days in the last 12 months. Becoming a British citizen would enable EU citizens to vote in all future UK elections and referendums as well as secure their right of abode in the country.
Currently, none of the above recommendations are mandatory but if like many other EU citizens, you do not feel at ease with the current lack of clarity and worry about your residency rights, we recommend that you consider looking into the above options.