Although there is no ultimate solution to the Brexit problem, on a personal level there are steps that we all can take to mitigate its impact.
If you are an EEA national and have lived and worked in the UK for five years, or have lived in the UK for five years and have been economically self-sufficient and were covered by a comprehensive medical insurance, you have acquired permanent right right of residence and you need a document confirming this status.
We strongly advise EU nationals who have acquired permanent right of residence to apply for this document and to make sure that the document confirms the date when you became settled (it may be earlier than when the document was issued). For example, if you have worked in the UK for 10 years and acquired permanent residence, say, in 2012, it may be worth getting a document confirming this date.
You would normally qualify to apply for naturalisation as a British citizen 12 months after your have acquired settled status (or permanent right of residence). If you are married to a British citizen, you can apply for British citizenship immediately after acquiring settled status – you do not have to wait for 12 months.
Your children born in the UK after you have acquired settled status are British citizens, even if at the time of their birth you did not have the document confirming your permanent right of residence (remember, this document can be issued some years after your became settled and would confirm the relevant date retrospectively). You can apply for a document confirming their British nationality, or you can apply immediately for their British passport even if you do not have one.
Children born in the UK before you became settled are entitled to be registered as British citizens when you acquire permanent right of residence, provided they are still under 18. If they are over 18, they have to apply for naturalisation and can do so only 12 months after they acquire settled status, even if they acquire settled status as your dependants.
Case study: Maria, a Portuguese citizen, has been working in the UK as a nurse since January 2001. She has three children, Norberto, born in Portugal in April 2000, Michelle born in the UK in 2004, and Fernando born in the UK in 2007. Maria became settled in the UK having worked continuously for five years, that is in January 2006. She only applied for the document confirming her settled status in 2017. Nevertheless, the document should state the date when she became settled as January 2006. Her younger son, Fernando, is British by birth and she can apply for his British passport any time. Michelle, born in 2004, had to be registered as a British citizen before applying for a passport. He could be registered any time after January 2006. Norberto could be registered as a British citizen at the discretion of the Secretary of State any time between 2006 and 2018, when he turns 18. After he turns 18, he has to apply for naturalisation and follow the same procedure as his mother. He does not have to wait for 12 months after his 18th birthday, because he has been settled in the UK for some years. But he will need proof of the date he acquired permanent residence and his mother’s documents are not sufficient to prove this.
Why it is worth investing in legal help when applying for permanent residence and citizenship
Applications for confirmation of permanent right of residence are relatively straightforward if you have worked for the same employer continuously for five years. It may be more complex with application involving children and other family members. If there were gaps between employments of the main applicant, or if you were self-employed at any period of time it may be worth getting legal assistance.
“Hostile environment” sometimes leads to refusal of applications which would otherwise succeed. With first-hand knowledge of potential pitfalls and understanding of the way to navigate around them, we are best placed to ensure a positive outcome of your application.
If it is important for you to feel confident that no time will be wasted with trial and error and that your application will be duly approved in the shortest possible time, you can trust Kadmos to handle your permanent residence and British citizenship.
Contact us to see how we can help