Tips for EU nationals in the UK
In 1957, the Treaty of Rome introduced the right to free movement of workers based in the European Economic Community (EEC).
This was later adopted by the United Kingdom upon Joining the EEC in 1973. Since then, citizens of the European Union (EU) and the European Economic Area (EEA) as a whole have enjoyed the right to live and work in the United Kingdom free of restrictions, so long as they remain a qualified person.
On 31st January 2020, the UK ceased to be a member of the European Union and entered a transition period which lasted until 31 December 2020. During the transition period the UK continued to apply EU law and allowed the free movement of people. Free movement ended on 1 January 2021.
Migrate UK recommendations:
To qualify for a status under the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS) an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen must be habitally resident in the UK before 11pm on 31st December 2020.
EU, EEA and Swiss citizens who have been habitually resident in the UK by 11pm on 31 December 2020 must apply for a status under the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS) by 30 June 2021. Their family members who arrived to the UK after 31 December 2020, or have not arrived, may yet still be eligible for a status under the EUSS provided they meet certain requirements.
As of 24 August 2020 qualifying family members of the people of Northern Ireland are able to apply for an immigration status under the EUSS.
You can apply from inside or outside the UK by using the EU Exit: ID Document Check app. The application must include proof of identity and nationality (a biometric passport or a UK residence card with a biometric chip), as well as proof that you have not spent more than 6 months outside the UK in any 12-month rolling period.
If you have lived in the UK for a continuous 5-year period, known as continuous residence, you will usually get settled status. 5 years continuous residence means that for 5 years in a row you have been in the UK for at least 6 months in any 12 month period, except for one period of up to 12 months for an important reason (for example, childbirth, serious illness, study, vocational training or an overseas work posting), compulsory military service of any length time spent abroad as a Crown servant, or as the family member of a Crown servant, time spent abroad in the armed forces, or as the family member of someone in the armed forces.
If you do not have 5 years’ continuous residence when you apply you will get pre-settled status. You can then apply to change this to settled status once you have got 5 years’ continuous residence, but before your pre-settled status expires. You can stay in the UK for 5 years from the date you get pre-settled status. Pre-settled status cannot be extended.
From 24 August 2020, the period of residence an applicant can rely on for eligibility under the EUSS can be from past or current residence in the UK, it does not need to be a continuing residence at the date of the application. However, EU/EEA citizens and their family members must prove that they haven’t been outside of the UK for more than 5 years in a row (for Swiss citizens 4 years) when applying for settled status or they haven’t spent more than 2 years in a row outside the UK when applying for pre-settled status.
In relation to EU/EEA employees on UK payroll currently working overseas, employers should now assess the impact of Brexit on existing and planned assignments. Employees with settled/pre-settled status currently on short-time assignments or accepting new assignments need to ensure that they will not be spending more time on the assignment than their disqualifying period (not more than 5 years (4 years for Swiss citizens) with settled status , not more than 2 years for those with pre-settled status). Those who have lost their residency rights due to having been out of country for more than their disqualifying period can apply for a status under the EU Settlement Scheme by 30th June 2021.
Should you wish to naturalise as a British citizen in the future:
You will need to show that you have either permanent residency or settled status first. In addition, unless you are married to a British citizen, you will need to demonstrate that you have held permanent residency or settled status for at least 12 months before you apply
Before applying for British Citizenship, we advise that you check with the embassy of your current nationality first to ensure you are entitled to hold more than one nationality.
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