Brexit: Q&A for European Nationals Living in the UK

Written by Jerry Conlan, Egle Dunayev

In June 2016 the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union. The UK Government has indicated that it is keen to implement the people’s decision but how it is executed remains to be seen. Much has been discussed in the media about Article 50, access to the single market and the difference between “hard” and “soft” Brexit.  Right now we know very little about what will actually happen.

We do know that the rights of EEA nationals in this country are going to change. It’s unlikely that those already living in the UK will be asked to leave but it is less clear how EEA nationals and their families will be treated and what, if any, documentation they will be required to carry.  The Government has stated that this, along with the rights of British nationals living in Europe, will be one of their top priorities in negotiations.

What’s the current situation?

Any EEA national, along with their family, may live in the UK as long as they are working or otherwise exercising an “EEA Treaty Right”. After 5 years, they are considered to have permanent residence.

Do I need a residence card?

EEA nationals may obtain a registration certificate as a worker or a permanent residence card after 5 years. At the moment it is not compulsory.

How do I get a residence card?

Fill out a form and post it to the Home Office along with your passport or ID card and evidence that you are working (or exercising a Treaty Right). For permanent residence this must cover the full five years. You must pay a fee, which is currently £65.  Current waiting times are 3 – 6 months but you can get your passport back while waiting for a decision.

What is an “EEA Treaty Right”?

This means that you are in the UK as a current or recent employee, are self-employed or a business owner, studying, or are of “independent means” (for example, you rely on rental income, a pension or savings). In certain cases you will need to purchase private health insurance.

What about my family?

Your family will be able to apply for residence documents at the same time as you. Different documentation is issued if they are not EEA nationals.

Should I act now?

Once the UK Government announces its Brexit plan there is likely to be a surge in the number of applications for registration certificates, which is bound to result in long delays. We would advise that you apply for one now.

How can Gordon Dadds help?

The Immigration Team at Gordon Dadds has a wealth of experience in dealing with the UK Home Office and submitting applications under EEA rules. We will confirm what documentation is required, help you complete the application form and submit it, on your behalf, to the Home Office. We can then help you get your passport or ID document returned.

Please contact us by phone +44 (0) 20 7493 6151 or email if you wish discuss this further.

Contact the Author

Jerry Conlan

Egle Dunayev

Gordon Dadds