TAYLOR & SMITH provides assistance and support to EEA and Switzerland citizens in confirming their residence status and getting settled in the UK and helps their family members to apply for a visa as well. Our licensed immigration lawyers will provide full support in preparing the necessary documents and submit an application on your behalf.

Now, with the UK leaving the European Union on January 31, 2020 and the transitional period going until the end of 2020 (if the exit agreement is signed), all Europeans in Britain should get settled status. Those who have already obtained the UK permanent residence but under the old rules, must also apply under the new ones.

Staying in the UK after Brexit

You and your family can apply for a UK settlement until June 30, 2021 if the exit agreement is signed (you must enter the country before December 31, 2020) or until December 31, 2020 if the agreement is not signed (you must be in the country at the moment of Brexit).

The settlement application is free. You will not be offered the choice of a residence status; your application is automatically submitted under the Settlement Scheme. But depending on your circumstances you’ll be given either – settled status or pre-settled status.

If you live in the UK and can prove that you have spent in the country at least 5 consecutive years, you will be eligible for settled status. Please note that these five years do not have to precede the application date. For example, if you spent 5 or more years in the United Kingdom sometime in the past, then you left for 1-2 years and came back, you can still be eligible to settled status.

During these 5 years you should not have left the country for prolonged time periods, unless there is a valid reason, for example, you left due to illness or work.

This status provides you with almost identical rights and freedoms of the British nationals, though you cannot vote in a national election. You can live in the UK as much as you want and eventually get UK citizenship.

If you have not lived in the UK for 5 years or cannot prove it to the Home Office, you will automatically be assigned pre-settled status. It is given for a 5-year period and can be changed to settled status as soon as you meet all the criteria.

Settled status gives the right to work in the UK, to study for free and receive public funds.

How to bring your family to the UK

Europeans can bring their family to the UK both before and after Brexit, but this is a tricky issue and each case must be processed individually. It all goes down to the country you are from, on the length of your relationship and the Brexit agreement. Therefore, we strongly recommend consulting immigration lawyers on the matter.

Applications under the old rules

EEA and Switzerland citizens have time until January 31, 2020 to obtain the UK permanent residence under the existing old rules and stay in the country. This could be beneficial for those who have lived in Great Britain for more than 6 years and want to immediately apply for UK citizenship and not to wait another year, or for those who have complex immigration cases and there are high risks of refusal (you can appeal under the old rules).

To settle in the UK, EEA and Switzerland citizens must show their compliance with one of the following conditions:

Work in the UK

Full-time and part-time jobs, as well as temporary loss of working capacity are accepted.

Be self-employed

You are required to register with the UK HM Revenue Service, to pay income tax and social security charges, as well as filing tax returns.


You are allowed to study in an accredited private or public educational provider. It is also required to provide evidence of financial independence and full medical insurance.

Financial independence

Sufficient supporting funds and full health insurance are required.

Job hunting

It is necessary to register with private or state employment agencies and to provide evidence of active job hunting.

UK Registration Certificate for EEA and Switzerland citizens

At the moment EEA and Switzerland citizens do not have to prove their right to reside and work in the UK. However, we recommend obtaining such a certificate because of upcoming Brexit.

Non-EEA family members

Family members include spouses, same-sex partners, children under 21 and first-degree relatives in the direct ascending line (grandparents) if they are financially dependent on the main applicant.

To live with applicants who are EEA citizens in the UK, family members who are not EEA citizens must obtain a specific permit. To do this, they must provide evidence of family relationships.

The type of permit depends on the country they lived in before applying.

UK indefinite leave to remain for EEA citizens and their families

After 5 years of residence in the UK, EEA and Switzerland citizens, as well as members of their families (non-citizens of EEA and Switzerland), can get indefinite leave to remain, provided that they fulfilled the above requirements throughout all these years.

Preserving settlement rights by family members of EEA citizens

If an EEA citizen (main applicant) ceases to fulfill the established requirements in the UK, his family members who are not EEA citizens generally lose their right to obtain indefinite leave to remain. There are exceptions in some cases, for example, in the event of the main applicant’s death or divorce.

UK citizenship for EEA citizens

EEA and Switzerland Citizens can get British citizenship one year after settling in the UK if they have lived in the UK for 5 years before getting ILR (indefinite leave to remain) or immediately after settling in the UK if they have lived in the UK for 6 years before getting ILR.

UK citizenship for family members of EEA citizens

Dependent family members of an EEA citizen can apply for UK citizenship with the main applicant if they all have lived in the country for at least five years and got ILR. If the main applicant becomes the UK citizen before his relatives obtain ILR, more stringent British immigration laws will apply to them.

Therefore, EEA citizens who wish to obtain UK citizenship should consider the consequences for their family members.


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