A brief guide
Now the UK has voted to leave the EU, this means that once they actually do, EEA nationals in the UK will no long have the same rights of free movement of labour that they do now.
It is important to note two things: First, that no changes are imminent, and that the UK is likely to be in the EU for around two years until the exit is negotiated. Second, that when there is a new Prime Minister and new government, some time in October, it is likely that they will lay down plans to help EEA nationals in the UK, which may involve a transitional work permit arrangement or a fast tracking of permanent residency.
Until then, it is best to take precautions and safeguards where possible. This guide is designed to provide the basic information for you, but if you would like further assistance with an application, or any more advice, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
1) I am an EEA national who has been living in the UK for five years or more
Under EEA regulations, you are considered to be a Permanent Resident of the UK once you have been living in the UK and exercising treaty rights for five years or more. Most people exercise their treaty rights by working or being self employed. If this applies to you then you should apply for a stamp in your passport which recognises this.
If you have been employed for five years then the important documents are pay slips, bank statements and employment contracts, ideally covering the whole time. Periods of unemployment and job hunting are fine, so don’t worry if the employment is not continuous, you may well still qualify.
This is trickier and more documentation is needed, which is why we recommend getting some assistance with this or having a chat with an advisor.
Documents needed to prove self employment are bank statements, self assessment tax returns, SA301/SA302, documents from accountants… think about the sort of documents that would be needed to obtain a loan or a mortgage.
Studying or not working
If you have been a student or not working, for example being supported by family or caring for children, then you may not be considered to have been exercising your treaty rights. This will be dependent on whether or not you had health insurance or an EHIC issued from your home country. For applications like this, it is best to contact an immigration advisor.
Important things to note: You can combine any of the different methods, so if you have spent three years as an employee and two as self employed, that’s fine.
Also, you can pick any five years since you came here, it doesn’t have to be the first five years or the most recent five years, it can be whichever five years for which you have the best documents.
2) I am an EEA national who has been living in the UK for less than five years
At the moment it is unclear what is going to happen to EEA nationals who have been living in the UK for less than five years. It is likely to be between one and two years before the UK actually leaves the EU so if you achieve your five years before then you can apply for the PR card as above.
If you won’t achieve PR before the UK leaves the EU, then don’t panic. There is a strong likelihood that negotiations between the UK and the EU will involve provision to protect you and allow you to remain in the UK, and more information should be available once there is a new Prime Minister and new government some time in October.
In the meantime, it is a good idea to apply for your residence card.
You will need to send with this application the evidence that you are exercising your treaty rights as an employee, self employed, a student, a job seeker or a self sufficient person. If you are self sufficient or a student you need to prove that you can afford to support yourself in the UK and that you have health insurance. You will be granted a five year residence card.
3) I am here under the ‘Surinder Singh’ regulations
If you are here under the ‘Surinder Singh’ requirements all the above still applies to you. However, you may find that you qualify under the UK regulations, and may feel more secure by switching category. This may require a trip back to your home country to apply. If you feel this may be the case, please contact our advisors on email us.
If you’d like updates, please send us an email and we’ll send you updates (nothing else) as things unfold.
We hope you have not been the victim of any racist incidents recently, or otherwise, but if you have, please tell the police about it: