Free movement ended in the UK at the end of the Brexit transition period on 31 December 2020, although some provisions of EU law will continue to apply until 30 June 2021.
Under EU free movement, all EU citizens have the right to move freely within the European Union, and have the right to enter and reside in any EU Member State. In particular, the EEA Regulations 2016 covered the rights of European nationals to move and reside freely within the UK. Under the EEA Regulations, EEA citizens and their family members, who have been residing in the UK for five or more years could apply for permanent residence in the UK. Non-EEA family members could apply for UK residence cards and derivative residence cards.
As the grace period will come to an end on 30 June 2021, thereby ending the effect of the EEA regulations, EEA residence documents will no longer be valid and will no longer provide a valid residency status in the UK.
Therefore, any EEA nationals and their family members who wish to remain in the UK must apply to the EU Settlement Scheme prior to 30 June 2021. Residents who already hold permanent residence in the UK must exchange this for Settled Status under the EU Settlement Scheme. Those that hold a residence card, or derivative residence card, must also apply for status under the scheme before the deadline.
Please note that those who hold permanent residence and are eligible to apply for naturalisation as a British citizen may do so. However, it is recommended that anyone in this position applies for settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme before 30 June 2021, in the event that their naturalisation application is not processed before the deadline.
It is therefore imperative that those that hold EEA residence cards apply for status under the EU Settlement Scheme before 30 June 2021, as those who do not apply by the deadline risk becoming unlawful residents in the UK.
Gherson has a wealth of experience in all aspects of UK immigration law and has assisted many clients with their applications under the Home Office’s EU Settlement Scheme. If you have any specific questions or queries in respect of your particular circumstances or would like advice on your eligibility to apply for status under the scheme, please do not hesitate to contact us.
The information in this blog is for general information purposes only and does not purport to be comprehensive or to provide legal advice. Whilst every effort is made to ensure the information and law is current as of the date of publication it should be stressed that, due to the passage of time, this does not necessarily reflect the present legal position. Gherson accepts no responsibility for loss which may arise from accessing or reliance on information contained in this blog. For formal advice on the current law please don’t hesitate to contact Gherson. Legal advice is only provided pursuant to a written agreement, identified as such, and signed by the client and by or on behalf of Gherson.