Brexit FAQs

The UK is due to leave the EU on 30 March 2019. Rights of residence that EEA nationals currently have in the UK under the free movement and citizens’ directives are likely to end at that point. The Government has said that EEA nationals and their families will have to apply for leave to remain in the UK under the domestic Immigration Rules after this point. There will be a “transition period” until June 2021 when you can apply for leave to remain if you need to.

The relevant Home Office web pages for the time being are:

This page will be updated regularly to cover questions about the residence rights of EEA nationals and their family members after that date. If you have a question, please send it to me using the contacts form and I will add it to the list.

I have lived in the UK for over 30 years: do I still have to apply for “settled status”?

After 30 March 2019, domestic immigration law will be applied to all European nationals and their families in the UK. This means you will need permission to stay in the UK, instead of having a right to be here.

I already have a document that says I have “indefinite leave to remain”.

If you came to the UK before about 2002, you might already have been granted indefinite leave to remain(“ILR”) under domestic law. This is because European nationals could still apply for ILR before European law made provision for a right of permanent residence. You might have a stamp in your passport or a registration certificate in the form of a card which confirms that there are no restrictions on your stay in the UK, or that you have been granted indefinite leave.

If this applies to you then you might not have to apply again for a “settled status” document. However, you might still need to get up to date documents to prove you have ILR, because the Government’s “Hostile Environment” policy means that employers, landlords, banks and the NHS can only accept certain documents. For some people, applying under the “settled status” scheme will be cheaper than getting a new ILR document.

What is the “settled status” scheme?

The Government has introduced new immigration rules to apply to European nationals and their families applying for permission to live in the UK. Broadly speaking, if you have acquired a right of permanent residence in the UK, then you will be eligible for ILR (called “settled status” by the Government in this context). If you have not yet acquired permanent residence (for example, if you have been in the UK for less than 5 years) then you will be eligible for “pre-settled status”. People with pre-settled status should be able to apply for ILR once they have completed 5 years of residence.

When do I have to apply?

The Government is running a pilot scheme for limited numbers of applicants at the moment. The scheme is projected to be open to all from 30 March 2019.

You will not have to apply immediately but the Government says that you must apply by 30 June 2021.

This could mean that if you expect to complete 5 years of UK residence between 30 March 2019 and 30 June 2021, you could wait until you are eligible for settled status before you apply.

I don’t have documents for some of my time in the UK

The Government says that caseworkers should refer automatically to internal documents like your work and tax records as evidence of your UK residence. However, they might still ask you for proof that you were in the UK at a particular time, especially if you were not working for some of your 5-year period. It is probably a good idea to gather things like medical records, children’s school records etc. to show when you were in the UK, at least in the last 5 years.

If you came to the UK before the 1980s, you might be able to use the “Windrush scheme” to apply for confirmation that you have ILR. This scheme is free, and caseworkers are instructed to deal with applicants in a constructive and helpful way, aimed at proving your residence rights.

Last updated 12 October 2018