News for Permanent Residents
The first bit of solid information for EEA nationals present in the UK has finally come in. As expected, it has been confirmed that EEA nationals with permanent residency will be permitted to stay in the UK. This was confirmed yesterday in the Home Affairs Select Committee by senior civil servant Mark Sedwill.
No mention was made of any need to naturalise, and no mention was made of having to apply for a card to show that you have permanent residence. All EEA nationals in the UK who have been exercising their treaty rights in the UK for a period of five years are considered to be permanent residence under the EEA regulations, but we strongly advise that you apply for you card so that you can prove you have a right to remain here. As we get closer to Brexit, it is likely that employers will want to make sure you are eligible to remain long term, and it still may turn out that getting these cards will be a requirement at some point.
Please get in touch if you’d like more info or assistance with the application for your Permanent Residency card.
There has been some confusion over naturalisation for EEA nationals which needs to be clarified.
It is a requirement to be a permanent resident to apply to naturalise. Until November 2015, it wasn’t necessary to have a PR card in order to apply to naturalise, but the regulations were changed. So since November, EEA nationals (and their dependents) have had to get the PR card, which takes around 6 months, and only once they have their PR card can they look to apply to naturalise, which then takes around two months further.
At the time, many legal professionals thought this measure was contrary to the EEA Regulations, and the Home Office briefly altered the form to make it seems as though the card wasn’t needed. However, as yet, the regulations have not changed!
We advise that applicants still get their PR card first. If you want to apply straight away to naturalise, you still have to send the same documents, the process still takes 6 months minimum, but you may have to be without your passport for most of this time. Also, if the process takes longer than six months you have no redress to SOLVIT as you would if your PR card application takes longer than six months.
Getting the PR card first should make the naturalisation process far more straight forward and hopefully much quicker. Do please contact MediVisas if you would like help with either you PR or your naturalisation application.
Do I qualify for naturalisation? Five years or six?
This is the other issue which is causing confusion. How many years do you have to be in the UK to apply for British citizenship?
If you are NOT married or Civil Partnered to a UK national, then in order to naturalise you need to have Permanent Residency and have held that PR for a clear 12 months before you apply. This means that you need to have either got your PR card and then waited 12 months, or you need to have been exercising your treaty rights for a 5 year period and then waited 12 months.
So, if you have been in the UK from June 2009, and was working until July 2014, and have remained resident since, you can apply for naturalisation regardless of when you were issued with your PR card and regardless as to your work status at the end of the five year period. This is because you have been a permanent resident since July 2014.
If you are only now applying for your PR and have been working for more than five years, our advice is to only send five years evidence but not the most recent five years. For example, if working from June 2009, only send the five years from then when you apply for PR. This means that when you get the card you can naturalise immediately, and can say to the nationality team at the Home Office that the EEA department have already recognised that you have been working for 5 years and have had one year free of conditions since then.
If you sent the evidence for 2009 – 2016, if you apply for citizenship immediately it could be refused as there is no indication of which five year period the EEA team have looked at, and therefore no guarantee that you have had the 12 months free from conditions!
This is complicated, so if in doubt contact us for a consultation and assessment of the documents.
If you ARE married or Civil Partnered to a UK national, then you do not need to wait 12 months after acquiring PR to apply to naturalise. This is regardless of whether you have a card or not. You do need to have PR though. The nationality regulations state that the applicant needs to be in the UK free from conditions and have been in the UK for at least three years but this doesn’t mean that three years is the minimum. As EEA nationals can’t meet the criteria to be free from conditions until the have PR, which takes five years, then you still need to have been exercising your treaty rights for 5 years before you can apply.
We’re able to help with these applications and provide further professional assistance.
Comprehensive Health Insurance
We are seeing a lot of confusion over the need for health insurance, so here we offer some clarification.
If you are relying on time spent as self-sufficient or as a student towards your five years of residence to apply for PR, then you will have needed comprehensive health insurance for yourself and your whole family during this time.
If you were working for five years and then became self sufficient then as long as you didn’t leave the UK for two years or more you are a permanent resident on the strength of the five years of employment, and won’t need insurance to cover the time that came after.
If you are studying and working part-time, or have a part-time job only, then you could be classed as a worker and so won’t need the insurance.
Having the right to use the NHS doesn’t mean that you are exempt from the need for health insurance.
Having an EHIC issued from within the UK doesn’t help you, but having a valid EHIC issued from your country of origin might.
If you are an EEA national married to a UK national and financially dependent on them, that means you are self sufficient and need the insurance.
If you are an EEA national married to another EEA national and they are working and you are not, then you could apply for PR as their dependent, which would mean you don’t need health insurance.
If you’d like any clarification on any of these points, please contact us and we’ll do all we can to help.