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The EU settlement scheme

The UK government has made allowances for EU, EEA and Swiss citizens who are currently living in the UK so that they may remain, even though the UK is no longer a member of the EU.

Settled status

If you and your family have lived in the UK continuously for five years, you can apply for settled status, which allows you to live in the UK indefinitely. This status replaces permanent residence and you need to apply even if you have already been granted permanent residence.

Deadline to apply: 30 June 2021

Pre-settled status

If you and your family are living in the UK and do not qualify for settled status yet, you can apply for pre-settled status. This status is temporary and allows you to remain in the UK until you qualify for settled status.

Deadline to apply: 30 June 2021

Family of EU citizens

Non-EU close family members of EU citizens may also apply for settled and pre-settled status, so long as they are living in the UK with the EU citizen, before 31 December 2020. Close family members are: partners, dependant children and grandchildren (under 21, natural or adoptive), parents and grandparents. 

If the EU citizen you wish to join in the UK does not have settled or pre-settled status, you will have to apply for an EEA family permit to join them and then switch to pre-settled status once you are in the UK.

Deadline to move to the UK: 31 December 2020

Specialist immigration advice and assistance.

Children born in the UK to European nationals

From 1 January 1983, children born in the UK are not automatically British citizens and the status of the parent must be considered. Where the parents are European citizens, the rules have changed no less than three times in the last 15 years and so children born at different times will have different rights to British citizenship.

At one time, children born in the UK to European citizen parents acquired British citizenship simply where the parent was living in the UK at the time and without other residence documentation. A degree of care should therefore be exercised before attempting to apply for residence documents for children born in the UK because that child could be British already and could apply for a British passport instead.

As changes to British nationality law cannot be made retroactive, the rights of children born in the UK before Brexit are unaffected.

Specialist immigration advice and assistance.

Irish citizens in the UK

If you are from Ireland and want to live and work in the UK, you do not require a UK visa in order to do so. Irish citizens are afforded a special status in UK immigration and British nationality law that predates EU law. Irish citizens can travel freely into and out of the UK without restriction.

Irish citizens are:

  • Not required to exercise EU treaty rights (to be a student, work or be self-sufficient)
  • Considered “settled” upon entry in the UK
  • Not required to obtain a residence card before qualifying for naturalisation

After five years of continuous residence in the UK, and if you meet the other set criteria (including the good character requirement), an Irish citizen can apply for naturalisation as a British citizen. Both Ireland and the UK allow dual nationality.

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