Citizens’ Rights Under New UK-EU Draft Withdrawal Agreement

28 Mar 2018, 21 mins ago

On 19 March 2018, EU and the UK negotiators reached a provisional agreement regarding the rights of EU citizens residing in the UK and UK nationals living in the EU. The draft Withdrawal Agreement (“the draft agreement”) also covers the implementation period, the terms of the financial settlement, and a considerable number of other articles. 

According to the draft agreement, EU citizens who have resided in the UK lawfully for a period of five years before 31 December 2020 will be entitled to a “settled status” as a means to secure their continued right to reside in the UK. In order to acquire settled status, these EU citizens (with or without permanent residence documents) will need to submit the relevant application to the Home Office. Those who have not been living in the UK for the required minimum period of five years before the specified date of 31 December 2020 will be allowed to apply for temporary status and, once they have acquired five years of residence, will be entitled to make a settled status application. Applications for settled or temporary status shall not be made from 31 December 2020. 

The draft agreement further confirms that family members of the concerned EU citizens will be able to apply for a status document if they were legally residing in the UK by 31 December 2020, and those wishing to join an EU citizen in the UK after that date will be allowed to so as long as the relationship existed before that date and evidence is provided to prove this. The deadline for applications by family members is three months after the date of arrival or no more than six months from 31 December 2020, whichever is later.

EU citizens and any family members, who do not apply before the specified deadlines without serious or good reason, will be residing in the UK without permission and will be subject to removal.

According to the draft agreement, applicants who acquire new criminal convictions or issues affecting their character from 31 December 2020 will be subject to assessments under UK immigration rules. There will be a lower threshold to justify revocation of residence documents and removal from the UK in comparison to the test that is currently in place under EU law which requires EU citizens to pose a genuine present and sufficiently serious threat in order for them to be removed.

Those EU citizens and their family members who are entitled to apply for a permanent residence document under the current rules are advised to apply now. Once the new legislation is in force, the acquired permanent residence document can be converted into a new settled status document free of charge, although criminality and security checks will still be carried out and the applicants will be required to produce evidence of their continuous residence in the UK. This route is still more beneficial than postponing the application submission date until 31 December 2020, when applications for settled status will be subject to a full assessment under the new regime and are likely to be decided with significant delays as a result of numerous applications being made by more than three million EU citizens and their family members.

Should you wish to discuss any of your immigration matters 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