As the Brexit process continues towards the UK exit from the EU, European nationals residing in the UK must look for the best way to protect their legal rights to remain in the country. If you are an EEA or Swiss national, or the family member of an EEA or Swiss nationals, you can enter and reside in the UK, free of any visa restrictions until the UK formally exits the EU.
If you have lived in the UK for many years as an EEA or Swiss national, or their family member, you may want to consider applying for permanent residency in order to secure your right to remain post-Brexit. This status shows that you are settled in the UK. Although EEA nationals are not currently required to have a document confirming their rights, such documents will be required once the UK exits the EU.
You can currently apply for a permanent residence document as an EEA or Swiss national, if you’ve lived in the UK for 5 years or more and have exercised your EU treaty rights. You can apply by either filling in the online form or the paper form and then posting it. The fee for such an application is the modest £65. Apart from the form, you will be required to provide a number of supporting documents confirming that you have resided and exercised your rights in the UK for the last 5 years. Once you have been issued with a document confirming permanent residence, and you have held this for over 12 months, you may be eligible to apply for British nationality.
If you have lived in the UK for 6 years or more, you may wish to apply on the basis of a historical period, as then you could apply for British nationality straightaway.
You may be eligible for permanent residence card as a family member of an EEA national if you have lived with your EEA family member in the UK for a continuous 5-year period and your EEA family member has exercised their EEA treaty rights for 5 years or has a permanent right of residence.
If you are the family member of an EEA or Swiss national, you can apply for permanent residence card either by being included in the online application form for permanent residence document submitted by your EEA family member, or by filling in and posting the permanent residence card application form. The fee for this application is again the modest £65. You must also provide a number of documents to evidence your right to reside in the UK permanently. Once you have held permanent residence card for 12 months, you may be eligible to apply for British nationality as well.
Once the UK exits the EU, all EEA and Swiss nationals and their family members will be required to apply for a document confirming their right to remain in the country. The Home Office currently states that there will be a streamlined process in place for EEA or Swiss nationals and their family members holding permanent residency, but a new fee will be payable.
Should you wish to make an enquiry about your legal right to reside in the UK, 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.