Permanent Residence and British Citizenship for EEA Nationals in the UK after Brexit
The result of the EU referendum on 23 June 2016 has taken many by surprise with a majority voting in favour of British exit from the EU (‘Brexit’). Whilst the referendum result has not yet resulted in the UK formally triggering its departure from the EU by invoking the procedure under Article 50 of the Treaty of the European Union, there is now a great question mark hanging over the rights of EEA nationals currently living and working in the UK under European free movement laws.
EEA nationals in the UK have until now largely been able to live and work in the UK with only their national passport or identity document as evidence of their entitlement to remain here. In the event of the UK’s exit from the EU however, domestic rules will have to be introduced to deal with a ‘conversion’ to a form of leave to remain issued under domestic law. In such a scenario, holding as much official evidence of immigration status can only be of benefit to you.
We would therefore recommend that all EEA nationals wishing to remain in the UK in the long-term take urgent steps to obtain Registration Certificates and Permanent Residence documents to evidence their lawful residence in the UK. Whilst these documents issued under the UK’s EEA Regulations are based on European free movement rights, they may be of assistance in the future in the event of the UK’s departure from the EU. Any EEA nationals who already hold a Permanent Residence document and have done so for at least one year may be eligible to apply for British citizenship.
Any Irish citizens or those with Irish ancestry should also read our recent blog post on Brexit, the UK and Ireland.
A Registration Certificate provides evidence of the right to work in the UK. You can apply for this if you are a qualified person (someone who is working, studying and in possession of comprehensive sickness insurance, self-employed, self-sufficient or looking for work), if you have a family member who is a qualified person, or if you have a retained right of residence.
An application for a registration certificate is made on Form EEA(QP).
Permanent Residence Document
Any EEA nationals who have resided as qualified persons in the UK for a continuous period of 5 years should consider applying for a Permanent Residence document. This type of document confirms the acquisition of a right to permanently reside in the UK and is a necessary precursor to an application for British citizenship.
An application for a Permanent Residence document is made on Form EEA(PR) and requires full evidence of being a qualified person over the 5 year period. Family members who have resided in the UK for 5 years may also be eligible to apply.
Application Checking Service for EEA Nationals
The team at McGill & Co have a wealth of experience in dealing with matters of EEA law and have had a number of reported cases that have shaped EEA law in the UK (see for example the reported decision in Boodhoo and another (EEA Regs: relevant evidence)  UKUT 00346 (IAC)).
If you would like assistance in making an application for a Registration Certificate, Permanent Residence document, or as an EEA national making an application for British citizenship, we offer a fixed-fee professional checking service to assess your application.
This service includes:
- Expert review of your completed application form;
- Examination of all of your supporting evidence;
- Detailed advice on any evidence or documentation that is lacking from your application.
The cost of this service is £600 plus VAT per application. If, after your application has been checked, you require follow-up advice or assistance in making your application a fee can be quoted separately depending on your requirements.
Full Application Service for EEA Nationals
If you are uncertain about the process and would like advice, assistance and guidance throughout the process of making your application for a Registration Certificate or Permanent Residence document, McGill & Co can offer a full application service consisting of:
- Initial consultation meeting or telephone call to assess your requirements;
- Provision of a detailed list of evidence necessary for the application tailored to your individual requirements;
- Examination of all of your supporting evidence;
- Meeting with you to complete all necessary paperwork;
- Submission of your application.
The fee for this is £1800 - £2500 plus VAT plus the Home Office processing fee of £65. Separate fees apply for additional family members and can be discussed with our team.
Naturalisation is the name of the process by which a person can apply to become a British citizen. EEA nationals who are already in possession of a Permanent Residence document should consider applying for British citizenship if they have resided in the UK for a full year since acquiring permanent residence.
An application for naturalisation as a British citizen can be made on Form AN and currently carries a Home Office processing fee of £1282 per application. McGill & Co are happy to offer the same application checking service or full application service rates for any EEA nationals applying for British citizenship.
Unsure about your eligibility for any of the above? We offer face-to-face, telephone, or Skype consultation of up to 30 minutes with one of our experienced solicitors for £195 plus VAT in which we can provide you with advice as to your eligibility and whether or not you would be deemed to be a ‘qualified person’ under the EEA Regulations. Contact us using the form below providing us with as much detail as possible about your circumstances in order to arrange this.
If these services are of interest to you please contact us using the form below and we will aim to respond as soon as possible, alternatively see our general enquiry page for all other types of enquiry