BREXIT: Options for EEA Nationals & Family Members in UK

Following last week’s shocking EU Referendum results, there has been much speculation in the media about how EEA nationals living in the UK will be affected by BREXIT. Our London immigration lawyers have received a substantial number of inquiries from EEA nationals and their non-EEA national family members who are concerned about their immigration status in the UK following BREXIT.

EU leaders expect the UK to formally notify them of the decision to leave the EU “as soon as possible” but for now EEA nationals and their non-EEA family members should continue making applications for an EEA Permanent Residence Card or Family Permits/Residence Cards,  respectively.

EEA Family Permit

Following the shocking news of last week’s decision, EEA family members outside of the UK have been concerned whether they can continue to apply for an EEA family permit to enter the UK in order to join their EEA national family members, for now the answer is yes. Family members may continue to apply for an EEA Family Permit  which is granted for 6 months and allows a non-EEA National to enter the UK so they can join their EU family member who is exercising their Treaty Rights in the UK.

EEA Registration Certificate

EEA nationals may wish to  apply for an EEA Registration Certificate, which is a document certifying permanent residence in the UK under European law. This is available if you have lived in the UK for a continuous period of five years. Following BREXIT, EEA nationals who meet the above requirement may wish to obtain a registration certificate to confirm that they are currently in the UK exercising their EU Treaty rights.

EEA Residence Card

The EEA Residence Card is available for family members of EEA nationals who are currently in the UK. This is a document which confirms your right of residence under European law. Your residence card may take the form of an endorsement in your passport (also called a ‘vignette’), or it may be a separate document called an ‘immigration status document’. A residence card is normally valid for 5 years from the date when it is issued.

EEA Permanent Residence & Naturalisation

In the UK, the current immigration rules governing a right of permanent residence fall under Regulation 15 of the Immigration (European Economic Area) Regulations 2006 (EEA Regulations). Regulation 18 of the EEA Regulations governs the documents which can be held as evidence of a right of permanent residence. In the case of EEA citizens, this is known as a “document certifying permanent residence”, for non-EEA family member; this is  known as a “permanent residence card”.

EEA nationals and their non-EEA family members who have been residing and exercising their treaty rights in the UK for lengthy periods of time who wish to acquire British Citizenship after obtaining permanent residency will need to hold the residence card for a year before they can apply for naturalisation.

EEA nationals who wish to apply for naturalise must demonstrate their right of permanent residence through the forms of documents mentioned under the EEA 2006 Regulations. The 2006 EEA Regulation itself has not changed nor have the provisions governing acquisition of citizenship by children.

EEA nationals concerned that they do not meet any of the above requirements in order to obtain a document certifying their status in the UK should contact solicitors to discuss their options.

Legal Advice for EEA Nationals Following BREXIT

If you wish to consider your options following Brexit or are concerned about your current position in the UK, please call our Immigration Team so we can assess your matter and if necessary advise you of the next steps you should take in a consultation.

We are based in the legal epicentre of London, just across the road from the Royal Courts of Justice in order to ensure we get the best results for our clients.  We are minutes away from the Immigration and Asylum Tribunal, the Royal Courts of Justice and other central London courts.

If you need professional legal advice please contact us for a case assessment on ☎ 02071830570. You can also reach us via our WebChat facility or via our contact form. Please note that we are not able to provide any free legal advice.

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