News & Insights

Remaining in the UK as an EU National

Imelda Reddington considers the steps EU Nationals need to take to ensure they can remain in the UK post-Brexit.

The UK has left the EU and the ‘transition’ period will end at 11pm on Thursday 31 December 2020.  This date denotes the end freedom of movement for EU, EEA and Swiss nationals to enter and remain in the UK.  Those nationals together with their family members already in the UK by 31 December 2020 are eligible to register under the EU Settlement Scheme – (Scheme).  Therefore, all EU, EEA and Swiss nationals living, working or studying in the UK who do not hold status under the Scheme must consider applying to register now.  Please note that Irish citizens are not required to register under the Scheme.

Successful registration will grant applicants ‘settled’ or ‘pre-settled status’, depending on the period of residence in the UK.  Holding either settled or pre settled status will enable applicants to continue living, working, studying, using NHS services, accessing public funds and travelling in and out of the UK without restrictions.

In order to qualify for the Scheme, applicants must be resident in the UK by the end of the transition period.  Those who can show a ‘continuous period’ of residence of at least five years in the UK, will be eligible for ‘settled status’, whereas, those who have less than five years residence will be granted ‘pre settled status’.  The pre-settled status will be granted for a period of five years until the applicant becomes eligible for settled status.  All applicants will be required to prove their identity, provide evidence of their residence and declare any criminal convictions.

Registration to the Scheme is free and many applications are decided in a matter of days with some complicated cases taking much longer.

There have been over 4 million applications to the Scheme with relatively few rejections.  Although applicants have until 30 June 2021 to apply, it is crucial that applicants seek to regularise their stay as soon as possible if they want to remain in the UK.

Although there is a plethora of guidance available online, some aspects may be tricky to navigate.  If you would like our assistance with registration, please contact [email protected] who would be pleased to assist.