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The UK Government has reached an agreement with the European Union (EU) on citizens’ rights, ahead of the UK leaving the EU on 29 March 2019.

An ‘implementation period’ is to run from 29 March 2019 to 31 December 2020. The rights of EU citizens and their families living in the UK will not change until 1 January 2021. Until this date, EU citizens will continue to be able to come and live in the UK and access public funds and services as they do at the moment without hindrance.

People who are living in the UK by 31 December 2020 will have until 30 June 2021 to make an application for status under the scheme. If an EEA citizen is not resident in the UK by 31 December 2020, they will not be eligible for the scheme. From 1 July 2021, EU citizens and their family members in the UK must hold or have applied for UK immigration status to remain here legally.

Obtaining status under the scheme means EU nationals can continue to live and work in the UK as they are now. It will mean they continue to be eligible for public services, such as healthcare and schools, public funds and pensions and British citizenship.

In most cases, eligibility for settled status will be based on whether an EU citizen has lived in the UK for 5 years. If an EU citizen does not qualify for settled status because they have not lived in the UK for 5 years, they can be granted pre-settled status. Pre-settled status will allow an EU citizen to stay in the UK for a further 5 years and be free to live and work here and have the same access to public funds and services as they do now. EU citizens can go on to apply for settled status once they have lived in the UK for 5 years.

The scheme will open fully by 30 March 2019. Close family members (a spouse, civil partner, unmarried partner, dependent child or grandchild, and dependent parent or grandparent) living in the UK or overseas are also eligible for the scheme. Parents will need to apply on behalf of their children.

To evidence residence in the UK prior to 31 December 2020, we recommend that EU citizens currently in the UK apply for a registration certificate. Whilst this document is not required to confirm residence in the UK, it is documentary evidence of a person’s residence in the UK prior to the 31 December 2020. Once the scheme takes effect, those that apply may then use their registration certificate to meet the residency requirement.

Should you be an EU citizen who is thinking about migrating to the UK and are concerned about your status post-Brexit and require any assistance with securing your status in the UK or applying for a registration certificate, please contact Dhruti Thakrar – Head of Immigration or any member of the Edwin Coe Immigration team.

Edwin Coe LLP is a Limited Liability Partnership, registered in England & Wales (No.OC326366). The Firm is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority. A list of members of the LLP is available for inspection at our registered office address: 2 Stone Buildings, Lincoln’s Inn, London, WC2A 3TH. “Partner” denotes a member of the LLP or an employee or consultant with the equivalent standing.

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