An EEA national’s right to enter and remain in the United Kingdom is not governed by the UK Immigration Rules. Instead, it is determined by EU legislation.
The regulation provides that nationals of EEA member states and Swiss Nationals have an automatic right to enter the UK and remain here for an initial period of 3 months providing valid identity is shown. In order to remain in the UK for a period exceeding those 3 months, the EEA national must be a ‘Qualified Person’. This means either a “worker”, “self-employed person”, “self-sufficient person” or a “student”. You may also be considered a qualified person if you are a worker or self-employed person who has ceased activity due to illness or involuntary termination, for example.
After 5 years as a ‘qualified person’, you are entitled to reside permanently in the UK (whether or not you continue to be a worker, student or job seeker). There is no need for an EEA National to possess documentation confirming their status in the United Kingdom in order to be legally present here. However, many individuals find that the process of finding work is much simpler when they have official documentation to prove their right to reside here.
The Family Members of EEA Nationals
If you are the family member of an EEA or Swiss national, but you are neither British nor European, you derive rights to move to the UK with your family member. You are able to apply for an EEA residence card if you are the spouse, civil partner or extended family member of an EEA national, and the card will usually be valid for an initial period of 5 years. After the initial period, you will be able to apply for a residence card signifying your entitlement to permanent residence in line with your family member.
Danielle and her team of Immigration Solicitors in London deal with EEA applications on a daily basis and will be able to help you to collate the relevant evidence of residency and complete the lengthy application form with ease. This way you will be able to obtain your documentation as quickly and efficiently as possible. If you would like assistance with your application please call us on 020 7267 4133.
What about Brexit?
There are 3.8 million EU citizens living in the UK.
The right of EEA or Swiss nationals to enter the UK may be affected by the UK’s exit from the European Union. This may happen in 2019, or there may be a transition period, which may have its own rules. Britain and Brussels have agreed EU nationals can continue arriving, working and settling in the UK until 31 December 2020, although details can always change.
No one knows what the UK’s policy on EEA nationals will be after Brexit. Consequently, this can be a very stressful time for European nationals living in the UK. It is possible that the UK will remain a member of the EEU even after it leaves the EU. It is also possible that EEA nationals will be required to leave the UK eventually.
The Government have been criticised for using EU nationals’ rights as a bargaining chip in negotiations with the EU. There now seems to be a consensus that EU citizens will be able to stay after Brexit. The EU Settlement Scheme is the scheme that EU nationals will need to use to stay in the UK after Brexit. The Home Secretary, Sajid Javid, has said, “we will be looking to grant, not for reasons to refuse.”
You can read more about Brexit and how it may affect Immigration Law on our Brexit blog:
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