EEA Nationals concerned with Brexit are applying for British citizenship
WM Immigration have been contacted by many EEA Nationals regarding applications for Permanent Residence and British Citizenship. Many are concerned with the possibility the UK could leave the EU and cause untold possible problems for them and their families. As it stands now the outcome is unknown in the future referendum and polls swing back and forward often. We can’t predict what may happen in a referendum and how this may affect you, but we can advise on how to best prepare for the worst and ensure you obtain the permissions you are entitled to.
I’m an EEA national and have been living in the UK for over 5 years
Like many EEA nationals such as those from France, Poland, Spain and all other EEA countries, many of their citizens have been living and working in the UK for a long time. Most never considered applying for Permanent Residence or British Citizenship as they had no need to and the benefits didn’t outweigh the costs and effort required to obtain the permission. Now with the possibility of the UK leaving the EU and their immigration status up in the air, many EEA nationals are concerned about their and their families future. The first step to do is to check if you qualify for Permanent Residence. This means you have to have been exercising your treaty rights in the UK for all of at least 5 years and be able to obtain evidence of exercising your treaty rights. Once you obtain Permanent Residence you can apply for British citizenship 1 year later.
How do EEA nationals exercise treaty rights?
There are four main categories that highlight how an EEA national can exercise their treaty rights which is required as evidence for an application under EEA PR.
- Working, at least part-time which can include self-employment
- Self-sufficient – meaning you have enough funds to maintain yourself without assistance from the government
- Studying a course at college or university
- Seeking employment – If you are a job seeker you will qualify as exercising treaty rights
For points 2 and 3, those that are self-sufficient and those that are studying must show evidence of having comprehensive health insurance during these periods. An example of this is BUPA coverage. Many EEA nationals have their EEA PR applications refused due to not knowing about the requirement to have comprehensive Health Insurance during these periods of exercising treaty rights.
I’ve been here for 6 years, why can’t I apply straight for British citizenship?
The Home Office removed the option for EEA Nationals to apply direct for naturalisation as a British citizen in 2015. All applicants now for British citizenship must first obtain Indefinite Leave to Remain (non-eea nationals typically) or Permanent Residence (EEA-nationals and their family members). Once you obtain PR you must wait at least 12 months and meet all the other criteria such as the Life in the UK test and residence requirements.
What are the benefits of applying for Permanent Residence and then Britsh Citizenship?
- Easier entry into the UK
- Dual citizenship if your country permits it
- Extra passport so if one is lost or sent for an application, you have more ID and can still travel
- If the UK leaves the EU, then you don’t have to worry about any visa repercussions for you and your family
- Consolidates all your time in the UK and ensures you obtain the right benefits and entitlements
I’m an EEA national concerned about the impact of the UK leaving the EU, what can I do?
If you need immigration advice then contact WM Immigration and we will do a free assessment to determine how we can help you. We can also offer general advice on your options and the benefits to your particular situation. If you are preparing to apply for Permanent Residence or naturalise as a British citizen then contact us for professional Immigration Advice and a free eligibility check.
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