Guide to the Brexit

1 The result of the referendum: now what?

2 What will be the consequences for staff members of EU citizens?

3 What will change when the UK formally leaves the EU?

4 What measures can EU citizens take to ensure their status in the UK?

5 What are the advantages of becoming a citizen of the United Kingdom?

6 What possibilities do family members of EU citizens have?

1 The result of the referendum: now what?

It is important to remember that nothing is going to change immediately and that the UK is still a member of the EU.
The result of the referendum is informative but not binding for the Government. Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union sets out the mechanism for withdrawal from the EU and requires the United Kingdom to formally notify its intention to leave the Union. From that moment the Government will have a period of two years to negotiate the conditions of disconnection. We must bear in mind that this is the first time that Article 50 has been delivered to the EU and we will not know how the negotiations that will arise from now on will be addressed.

2 What will be the consequences for EU citizens?

At present, EU citizens continue to enjoy the advantages of freedom of movement, in particular the right to establish themselves and to work in another member country. EU citizens working in the UK can continue to live and work here until the UK has formally left the EU. This can be from 2019 where formally the UK is no longer part of the EU. In any case it is still to be determined in the negotiation the cut-off point where the immigration will begin to regulate.

3 What will change when the UK formally leaves the EU?

The Government has issued a statement confirming that it has full confidence that the legal situation of EU citizens living in the UK will be adequately protected when we leave the Union.
Although the Bill Brexit has failed to guarantee these rights, they will be a primary part of the negotiating table and one of the first points to be discussed.

3.1 Residents who have been here for more than five years

EU citizens who have lived in the UK continuously and legally for five years automatically have the permanent right to reside in the United Kingdom. This right comes from a European directive and is enforced by national regulations. It is highly unlikely that rights already acquired under existing legislation will be withdrawn by future legislation since, although it is not binding on the Parliament of the United Kingdom, both the constitutional convention and international legal obligations and the Convention That any attempt to do so could be challenged and would lead to political difficulties. However, The UK Parliament is sovereign and after Brexit could legislate with a view to repealing the right of permanent residence for EU citizens (albeit very unlikely). In view of the complexity of the issue, it is possible for EU citizens with permanent residency rights to still consider taking additional measures to protect their immigration status in the long term.
3.2. EU citizens

3.2. EU citizens
In general terms, once the United Kingdom has left the EU, the right to free movement currently enjoyed by workers in the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland will cease to be automatic. It is envisaged that provisional measures will be provided to grant EU citizens already residing in the United Kingdom the right to remain in accordance with the UK immigration regulations. It is not clear whether this permit will be granted on a temporary or permanent basis or to whom these provisional measures will apply (for example, those in the United Kingdom the date of the referendum, or those in the United Kingdom before the EU formally abandons itself or those who have already obtained permanent residence in the United Kingdom).

In general terms, once the United Kingdom has left the EU, the right to free movement currently enjoyed by workers in the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland will cease to be automatic. It is envisaged that provisional measures will be provided to grant EU citizens already residing in the United Kingdom the right to remain in accordance with the UK immigration regulations. It is not clear whether this permit will be granted on a temporary or permanent basis or to whom these provisional measures will apply (for example, those in the United Kingdom the date of the referendum, or those in the United Kingdom before the EU formally abandons itself or those who have already obtained permanent residence in the United Kingdom).

But we have to insist that the Westminster Parliament has NOT asked any EU citizen to officially require the residence, i.e. there is no legal request for it.

4 What measures can EU citizens take to ensure their status in the UK?

In view of the uncertainties surrounding the direction the status of EU citizens in the UK post Brexit, EU citizens wishing to stay in the U may want to take measures to firm up their status. .EU citizens working in the Kingdom who wish to take measures to guarantee their immigration status have several options depending on how long the staff member has remained in the UK.

4.1 Permanent residence

Permanent residence (also known as indefinite residence) provides the right to live in the United Kingdom indefinitely.

Permanent residence (also known as indefinite residence) provides the right to live in the United Kingdom indefinitely.
Persons who have been living in the UK for at least five years and have been “qualified persons” throughout that period (for example, have been employed, have been self-employed, sought work or have studied) may have acquired Permanent residence in the United Kingdom (or permanent residence). To be considered, they have not been absent from the United Kingdom for more than six months for each twelve-month period.
Those who meet the qualification criteria are accepted for permanent residence without any application process being contemplated. However, it is possible to request a document certifying permanent residence which is recommended to all EU citizens and in particular to those who may consider applying for British citizenship in the future.

4.2 British citizenship

British citizenship guarantees the right to live in the United Kingdom indefinitely and to have a UK passport.

When an EU citizen has lived in the UK for five years and has maintained permanent resident status for at least 12 months, an application for British citizenship by naturalization can be made.. There are several eligibility and admissions criteria established for those who wish to become British citizens.
These criteria include the ability to demonstrate the following:

  • Good conduct
  • English proficiency
  • Understanding the standard of living in the UK
  • Intention to stay in the UK
  • Posting of a certificate or card (that can be requested) of permanent residence

Naturalization is the greatest guarantee for those who consider staying in the UK. However, those concerned should be aware that certain countries do not consent to dual citizenship. For staff members from these countries, becoming a British citizen would mean that they would be forced to renounce the citizenship of their country of origin. This could lead to consequences in terms of taxes and pensions, so that expert advice must be taken into account.
Spain by law does not guarantee double nationality, which may cause a legal limbo (about a couple of years) however after this time you would have to choose nationality and citizenship. This can present problems for people with children born in the UK who have the British passport.

4.3 Certificate of registration – for persons with less than 5 years in the United Kingdom.

Extended family in the UK for less than five yearsmay wish to apply for an EEA registration certificate This document does not guarantee the rights of the EU citizens but can serve as proof of the status reached in the event that restrictions on freedom of movement are set in the future. It may also be helpful to have proof of residency for those who wish to apply for the document certifying permanent residence after having stayed in the country for five years.

5 What are the advantages of becoming a citizen of the United Kingdom?

Many of the advantages of naturalizing as a UK citizen are already enjoyed by EU citizens with permanent residence in the UK. However, there are a couple of significant differences that should considered prior to applying for citizenship. Namely:

  • Residence requirements – permanent residence is revoked if an EU citizen is absent from the UK for two years or more. Citizenship is permanent and there are no restrictions as to the amount of time that can be spent outside the UK.
  • British Passport – Only British citizens are entitled to a British passport.
  • Ability to revoke status – There are very few circumstances in which the Home Office can revoke British citizenship or permanent residence of a person in the United Kingdom. Certainly the criteria that allow permanent residency revocation are broader and the threshold is lower.

(1) Citizenship is only revoked if it is in the “public interest” to do so, since the person has behaved in a manner that “seriously prejudices” the vital interests of the United Kingdom, or has obtained citizenship through Fraud or counterfeiting. Likewise, the possibility of the person being stateless should be considered in the event that the decision is taken to revoke citizenship.
(2) Permanent residence may be revoked because of state policies, for public safety or health reasons, or if the EU citizen is absent from the UK for two years or more.

6 What possibilities do family members of EU citizens have?

6.1 Family members of an EU citizen (or family members of whom are EU citizens) will understandably want to take steps to ensure the right of their family to remain in the UK. The range of options available will depend on the relative’s nationality, the relationship they have with the applicant and how long they will be in the UK.

6.2 For the purposes of United Kingdom immigration law, the term “family member” means:

  • Spouse or domestic partner
  • Child or grandchild under age 21 or dependent
  • Child or grandchild of the spouse or domestic partner under the age of 21 or dependent
  • Parents or dependent grandparents (of the particular person or their spouse or domestic partner)

6.3 Family members of an EU citizen person shall be granted permanent residence in most cases whether or not they are citizens of the EEA if:

  • Have been living in the UK;
  • Have lived with their relative, an EEA citizen, during this period;
  • The relative has been a “qualified person” (for example, has been employed, has been self-employed, has sought work or studied) during this period.

6.4 Other family members (including unmarried couples, aunts, uncles, brothers or sisters) who have lived in the United Kingdom for five years may also obtain permanent residence if they have been in possession of a residence card of Family of a Union citizen during this period.

6.5 As soon as a relative or other member of the family has been a permanent resident of the United Kingdom for at least 12 months, he or she may apply for naturalization as a British citizen. It will be necessary to present a document certifying permanent residence at the time of making this request.


Disclaimer: This document is for information only and is not intended as legal advice for particular cases or circumstances.
If you wish to obtain legal advice for particular cases or circumstances you can consult with the Legal Counsel of this Precarious Office.
The Edinburgh Precarious Office cannot predict the outcome of negotiations on legislation, jurisprudence and legal rights, however any new legislation that is related to the Brexit our Legal Counsel can inform, and advise on this within our legal capacity.


Source: University of Edinburgh.
Edition: Precarious Office of Edinburgh

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