EU Residence Permits
The Maastricht Treaty of 1992 heralded a new chapter in the history of the UK and served to define the relationship between the UK and some of its neighbours in Europe. The Maastricht Treaty and developments since then have created a single space of mobility for EU citizens to live, travel, work and invest freely within EU borders.
Before the 1st of May 2004, EU nationals included nationals of Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Finland, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and of course the UK. Since the 1st of May, nationals of 10 further countries can now also be considered EU nationals. They are called the ‘Accession Countries’ and include Cyprus, Malta, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia. Nationals of Switzerland, Iceland, Lichtenstein and Norway are, by a special provision, also able to enjoy free movement rights, although they are not a part of the European Union.
EU nationals may travel and stay in the UK if they are exercising a treaty right; for example, if they have a job in the UK or are looking for a job or are self-employed or establishing a business in the UK. Additionally, certain self-employed people who have stopped being economically active, self-sufficient persons, persons who wish to enter to provide or receive services or retired persons can also stay in the UK. Most EU nationals exercise their free movement rights without necessarily having any ‘visa’ in their passport.
EU residence permits
The EU Registration Certificate, when issued in the UK, is formal recognition of the right of free movement that the EU national enjoys in the UK. Although there is no formal requirement for EU nationals to obtain a Registration Certificate, there are a number of circumstances under which this may be beneficial. For example, it will serve as proof of your right to live and work in the UK if required by employers, or it may be helpful in other circumstances where you may be required to prove your right of residence in the UK (e.g. if trying to obtain inheritance from overseas), or if you have non-EEA family members who require a family permit or residence permit.
Where the EU national’s dependents are non-EU nationals, the dependents must have a permit, in the form of a Family Permit or Residence Card, to enter or remain in the UK in this capacity.
When and whether an EU national can apply for a residence permit is determined by how long they have been in the UK and whether they are an ‘Accession Country’ national or not.
Worker Registration Scheme
Between 1st May 2004 and 30th April 2011, Nationals of the Accession Countries (except Cyprus and Malta) were normally required to register under the Worker Registration Scheme (WRS). However, as of the 1st May 2011, the Worker Registration scheme is no longer in operation and nationals of A8 countries are no longer required to register.
An EU national also has the right to have their non-EEA family members join them in the UK. ‘Family members’ can include spouses, children, grandchildren or great-grandchildren aged under 21. If the children, grandchildren or great-grandchildren are aged 21 or over, dependency on the EU national must be established. This right can also relate to dependent parents, grand parents or great-grandparents. Other family members (e.g. siblings) can also be admitted to the UK but this is on a discretionary basis.
An EU national or their family member needs to spend a minimum of 5 years’ continuous residence in the UK, whilst exercising free-movement rights to be eligible for Permanent Residence in the UK. An EEA residence permit is normally issued for a period of 5 years.
How we can help:
We are able to help and advise on any one of the above applications. If you are interested in making one of the above applications, please contact us for initial advice on the strength of your case and the requirements.