As one of the key participating member within the European Union, the United Kingdom is part of a consort of countries that intertwine with each other in terms of economics and politics. Currently, there are 28 member states with many more countries, such as Albania, Iceland and Turkey seeking to join the EU in the near future.
The focus of this short article is to highlight some of the ways EU nationals can come to the UK to live, work, settle and perhaps even to acquire British Citizenship.
One of the key Articles under European law is the Right to Free Movement. EU nationals are permitted to enter the UK without having to apply for “entry clearance” or a visa. In order for the time spent in the UK to count towards permanent residence or a British passport, EU nationals need to demonstrate to the UK Home Office that they are exercising their EU treaty rights. It should be noted that simply living or studying in the UK does not constitute as exercising EU Rights.
In order to qualify for a British passport, EU nationals must first have acquired Permanent Residence status for at least one year. Permanent residence itself takes five years of exercising EU treaty rights before it can be obtained. Here are the ways which an EU national can exercise their EU treaty rights in the UK:
1) Working as a self-employed person;
2) Working as an employee;
3) Studying in the UK (with private medical insurance);
4) Economically self-sufficient (with private medical insurance).
An EU national will need to be doing one or a combination of the above for five continuous years in order to qualify for permanent residence in the UK. Do note that if there is a significant gap in the five years, the applicant may need to start their five years again.
Sometimes, EU nationals will find it more convenient to carry an identity card in the form of a Registration Certificate instead of their passport. Employers often ask for evidence of their new hire’s identity and their right to work in the UK, therefore EU nationals can make an application to the Home Office for the purpose of confirming their right to live and work in the UK.
Often, EU nationals may have family members who are non-EU nationals, such as their husbands or wives for example. Although family members of EU nationals automatically have the right to reside and work in the UK, in practice, non-EU family members are often questioned about their immigration status by potential employers etc.
As such, family members of EU nationals who are not European themselves would apply for a residence card as confirmation of their status. This may eventually lead to permanent residence in the UK after five years. A further year after that, the non-EU national may even be eligible to apply for UK Naturalisation.
For further information on how we can assist you confirm your status in the UK, please do not hesitate to contact one of our expert UK immigration lawyers.
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