Brexit: Answers to Frequently Asked Questions

Further to my previous Article about Brexit and the Possible Effect on UK immigration and European Migrants, I have complied a list of questions that I have been frequently asked and hope to answer them here for the sake of those who might be wondering the same

i.Are we part of the EU?

The UK is still part of the EU, and no formal legal process of leaving the EU will start until the UK decides to invoke Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, which can only be done by either David Cameron or his successor. This means that the UK is still bound by EU Treaties and Laws, and will continue to be so up to two years from the formal notice to the EU.

ii.  Am I going to be deported?

It is important to make a distinction between deportation and removal from the UK:

  1. Deportation orders are those issued on persons who have been convicted in the UK of a serious offence, regardless if they hold a valid visa.
  2. Removal notices are issued on persons that do not have the right to leave to remain in the UK e.g. over stayers.

As it stands, it is unknown whether EU nationals already in the UK would need to switch their visa to a new one to maintain their leave to remain in the UK, and it will depend on the UK negotiations with the EU. It is likely that the UK will remain within the single market, as Switzerland and Norway are, and therefore the continuation of free movement will still apply, allowing both EU residents to stay in the UK, and UK residents to stay in EU member states.

Either way, even with the unlikely event we leave Free Movement completely, it is still unlikely that there will be mass removal of those EU nationalities and family already here int he UK (as we would not want the same treatment for our British expatriates abroad), is more likely that there will be a transition law that would allow those here and wishing to stay to do so by switching to a visa that falls under the national law.

iii.Do I qualified for an EEA Permanent Residence Card?

Only those EU nationals who have been in the UK for more than 5 years exercising their treaty rights as a worker, self-employed, job seeker, self-sufficient person, or as a student are eligible to apply for a permanent residence card. This means that an EU national who has been living in the UK for 15 years but has not been exercising his treaty rights, would not qualify for a permanent residence. Also note that for you to rely on being here as a self-sufficient person, or as a student you must have held comprehensive sickness insurance (not just normal NHS).

It is important to note that the acquisition of Permanent Residence occurs Automatically by EU law , regardless of whether you apply for a Permanent Residence Card or not; once you have been exercising your treaty rights in the UK for 5 continuous years, you still retain your rights as a  Permanent residence and would not loose this unless you leave the country for a continuous period of  two years.

iv. Should I apply for a EEA Residence Card?

There two type of EEA Residence card you can apply for:

Normal EEA Residence Card : any EU national or EU national family member can apply for one to prove they are living here in accordance with EU law. Normally EU citizens don’t bother as they can use their passport to prove this.

Permanent Residence Card: If you have been exercising your treaty rights in the UK for at least 5 years, you are entitled to apply for a Permanent Residence Card.

However, if you do not intend to apply for British Nationality, it is pointless to apply for a residence as you won’t hold “more” rights because of holding the residence card. A residence card is not a visa but just an official document that confirms your rights under EU law. Thus, whereas an EU national does not need to have a residence card, a residence card, especially a Permanent Residence Card only becomes essential when you want to  apply for British Nationality. For more information, see my previous post.

v. Can I apply for British Nationality?

To apply for British Nationality, you must apply for a Permanent Residence Card beforehand, and to have been a permanent residence in the UK for at least one year, as introduced by the British Nationality (General) (Amendment No. 3) Regulation 2015. To qualify for British Nationality, you must also pass the life in the UK test and an English test and be of good character.

vi. Is my child British?

If you are a permanent resident  when your child was born in the UK, your child would be automatically British. If your child is born before you acquire permanent resident, your child might be able to apply for British nationality.

Other Questions….Please Call a UK Immigration Solicitor !!

I know these are just a few of the numerous questions EU Migrants are asking themselves and of course the answers are over simplified, so please make sure you seek legal help from a UK immigration Solicitor if you need any help to sort out your Immigration matter. It will not hurt you to find out what are you current options are as we wait for our politicians to get their act together and give people direction on the way forward.


If you have been affected by this issue or any other UK immigration matter, please contact Tito, a UK Immigration and Human Rights Solicitor, for a Free Initial Consultation about your legal options – it’s free! Call 07544 669131 / 01163800744 Or on Skype: tito.mbariti.