How To Prepare For Brexit If You Are A Bulgarian Or A Romanian National

19 Mar 2018, 38 mins ago

Gherson has recently participated in various networking events and has given presentation on Immigration Law for EU nationals living in the UK. As a general observation, it has been noted that many EU nationals meet the requirements to apply for Permanent Residence and British Nationality but they are unaware of the requirements or the process to do so, and therefore they have not submitted the relevant applications to the Home Office. With just one year left before UK officially leaves the EU, we recommend you take action to obtain you Permanent Residency or British nationality.

On 29 March 2019, United Kingdom is planning to leave the European Union. If you are a national of Bulgaria or Romania, which means you are also an EEA national, and you have spent 5 years lawfully in the UK, you might be eligible to apply for Permanent Residence. You might also qualify to apply for British Nationality if you have spent 6 years lawfully in the UK.

As we know, Bulgaria and Romania joined the EU on 1 January 2007 and they had work restrictions until 1 January 2014. This means both Bulgarian and Romanian nationals were required to apply for any of the following Registration Cards to allow them to work in the UK legally before 1 January 2014:

  • Yellow Registration Card which allowed them to undertake the following activities in the UK: be self-employed, study at an accredited educational establishment or live in the UK on a self-sufficient basis;
  • Blue Registration Card, which allowed them to work in the UK as employees.

Therefore, if you are a Bulgarian or Romanian national who has been in the UK exercising Treaty Rights in excess of 5 years, meaning that you had a Yellow or Blue Registration Certificate before 1 January 2014 and after this date you continued to be employed, self-employed, a student or self-sufficient person, you might qualify to receive your Permanent Residence and potentially British Nationality before UK leaves the EU.  

As the law currently stands, the path to British Nationality for EEA Nationals is the following: after 5 years lawfully spent in the UK you can apply for Permanent Residence; once Permanent Residence is acquired, you have to wait one year before you can apply for British Nationality. The total period of time spent in the UK leading to Nationality is 6 years, where 12 months is on Permanent Residence status.

The good news for a Bulgarian or Romanian national who has been lawfully living in the UK for a period of 6 years is that you can acquire British Nationality, provided you meet all the legal requirements, without having to wait one year after you receive the Permanent Residence status. Note that you are still need to receive confirmation of permanent Residence, but if at the time of your Permanent Residence application you attach evidence to prove you have been exercising Treaty Rights in the UK for a period of 6 years minimum, the Home Office will take into account that particular period in calculation. Therefore, in the approval letter confirming your Permanent Residence, the Home Office can state that your Permanent Residence was acquired a few months or a few years before you submitted your application, depending on your particular case. This gives you the right to apply for British Nationality straight away if your Permanent Residence was acquired one year before you received confirmation that your Permanent Residence application was approved. This option is ideal for Bulgarian and Romanian nationals because if they become British nationals, they will not be required to go through other mandatory Immigration applications once the UK leaves the EU.

Gherson has extensive experience with Permanent Residence and Nationality applications for EU nationals in the UK, and Bulgarian and Romanian speaking Solicitors and Paralegals who can assist you with your Immigration matters. Should you wish to discuss the options available to you, please 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.

©Gherson 2018