Status of EU citizens in the UK: What you need to know

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The UK and the EU have now reached an agreement on what happens during the period immediately after Brexit, known as the implementation period. This is important as it will give citizens and businesses on both sides time to adjust before a new relationship with the EU is agreed. 

EU citizens currently in the UK

The agreement on citizens’ rights reached in December has now been formalised into a draft Treaty text, meaning it is in the right form to be written into law.

The agreement means that EU citizens living in the UK before the UK leaves the EU on 29 March 2019 will be able to continue to live and work in the UK.  It also covers family members. More information is available here: Status of EU citizens in the UK: what you need to know.

Last week the government launched its digital advertising campaign for EU citizens, pointing towards official sources of information on GOV.UK on how the UK’s withdrawal from the EU affects EU citizens.

Settlement scheme

To secure their rights, EU citizens will need to go through a simple digital application process which will confirm their status in the UK for as long as they want to stay. The scheme will open later this year and applications can be made up until 30 June 2021.

Implementation period

The agreement reached with the EU extends the citizen's rights protections to include EU citizens and their families arriving in the UK during the implementation period (30 June 2019 - 31 December 2020). This ensures that those planning to come to the UK after March 2019 know what the arrangements will be. During this time, new arrivals will need to register through a new Home Office registration scheme after three months in the UK. 

More detail on applying for settled status

The government is making the application process as quick and user-friendly as possible. Existing government data will be used to reduce the amount of evidence EU citizens will need to provide.

The application process will check three basic principles – identity, UK residence and criminal convictions.

EU citizens will need to:

  • Prove identity and nationality with an EU passport or National ID card and provide a recent photograph.
  • Declare any criminal convictions. Only serious or persistent criminality will affect eligibility for the scheme.

EU citizens will not have to:

  • Account for every trip taken out of the UK
  • Show evidence of holding comprehensive sickness insurance
  • Provide fingerprints

The application fee will be no more than the cost charged to British citizens for a UK passport. For people who already have a valid permanent residence document, it will be free.

More details will be provided on the scheme in the coming months. Meanwhile, EU citizens can sign up to receive email updates from the government.

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