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If you’ve got an EU passport, this is how you can settle in the UK post-Brexit

by Philip Gamble | Apr 18, 2018
  • If you’re an EU passport holder and you’re living in the UK, or even if you’re thinking about moving there, you will be pleased to know that the UK and the EU have reached an agreement about the terms on which EU nationals will be able to stay in the UK after Brexit. A transition period will take place, but there are some key steps you need to take to ensure that you secure your rights to live and work in the UK in a post-Brexit world.

    When is the implementation period?

    The UK will officially leave the EU in March 2019, this is when Brexit is scheduled to come into full force. However, the UK has decided to put an implementation period in place. During this period people, businesses and public services across the UK and EU will be given time to adjust to the change. This implementation period will be in effect from March 2019 to 31 December 2020.

    The effects of this implementation period

    During the implementation period, EU nationals and their family members currently residing in the UK will be free to live, work and study in the country as they do now. What’s more, EU nationals and some of their family members who arrive and become resident during the implementation period will be afforded the same rights. This is great news for any EU nationals thinking about moving to the UK in the next few years.

    Have a question about your rights?

    What you can and can’t do going forward

    If you currently live in the UK

    Those EU nationals and their family members who have five years of continuous residence in the UK will be able to apply for settled status. Once granted, those who hold settled status will probably be able to be absent from the UK for up to two years without losing their settled status.

    Those who have not yet been in the UK for five years will be able to remain in the UK to build five years’ continuous residence. The settled status scheme will be built by the UK government from scratch. The scheme will be launched for applications in late 2018 on a voluntary basis. The deadline for EU nationals to apply for settled status will be 30 June 2021.

    See also: Why EU nationals are suddenly scrambling for British citizenship

    If you wish to move to the UK

    If an EU national wishes to go to the UK and stay for longer than three months after March 2019, they will need to register with the UK government. During this time, a temporary visa can be sought, which will enable them to stay in the UK after the implementation period has ended. After five years of lawful residence, EU nationals will then be able to apply for indefinite leave to remain, which eventually leads to full British citizenship.

    EU nationals will be able to bring spouses and some other family members to the UK under rules similar to EU free movement rules during the implementation period. However, when the transition period has ended on 31 December 2020, any EU national wishing to bring a family member to the UK will have to abide by the rules that currently apply to British citizens who want to be joined by family members from outside of the UK, such as the minimum income requirement.

    Make your move sooner rather than later

    If you’re looking to move to the UK any time soon, the best course of action would be to make the move before March 2019. If you are an EU national who is currently living in the UK, then you should secure your rights as soon as possible by applying for permanent residence and British citizenship if you are eligible.

    Our immigration and British citizenship advisors can assist you should you have any questions about moving to the UK or acquiring British citizenship. Get in touch with us on or +44 (0) 20 7759 7581.

    We are a professional services company that specialises in cross-border financial and immigration advice and solutions.

    Our teams in the UK, South Africa and Australia can ensure that when you decide to move overseas, invest offshore or expand your business internationally, you’ll do so with the backing of experienced local experts.

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