What will be the impact of Brexit if I have legally been residing in the U.K. for less than five years?
Until 31 October 2019
The current situation is maintained. As long as you meet the conditions under European law, you preserve your right of residence. After five years of legal uninterrupted residence, you can benefit from a permanent residency status (see question 1).
From 1 November 2019
(unless negotiations are extended)
If the withdrawal agreement is ratified:
- Until the 31 December 2020 (longer if there is an extended transition period): the current situation is maintained
- Thereafter: If you reside in the United Kingdom before the expiration of the transition period, you may continue to live in the U.K. with your family members, as long as you meet the conditions under EU law.
Furthermore, you will be able to leave and enter the U.K. simply by being in possession of a valid Identity card or passport. An EEA family permit (https://www.gov.uk/family-permit) makes it easier and quicker to enter the UK for your non-EEA family members.
After five years of uninterrupted legal residency in the U.K., you will benefit (as will your family) of a permanent right to stay in the country (see question 1). To calculate these five years, the period during which you lived in the U.K. before the end of the transition period will be taken into account (which means that neither the U.K. leaving, nor the end of the transition period brings the meters back to zero)
From the end of the transition period, the U.K. will have the right to demand a residency document. The British authorities will allow you, according to their current position, to register by the 30 June 2021. This procedure would be simple, quick and free. The registration results in a document stating the existence of your permanent right of residence, without the discretion of the British authorities as soon as you fulfil the applicable conditions.
In order to do so, British authorities have decided to implement a system called the “pre-settled status” for those who have been residing in the U.K. for less than five years upon expiration of the transition period, until they have legally and permanently lived in the U.K. for five years and can then acquire the “settled status”. Once these five years have been accumulated, you must introduce a demand under the “settled status” system in order to obtain the permanent residency status and continue to live in the United Kingdom (see question 1).To sum up, if you have started living in the U.K. before the end of the transition period (31/12/2020), but without having lived 5 years of prior continuous legal stay, you will need to ask for a “pre-settled status” before the 30th of June 2021 in order to continue to live in the United Kingdom.
In the case of a no-deal:
The United Kingdom will leave the EU from 1 November 2019 and EU law will then cease to apply. Your situation will depend on the British authorities. At this stage, the British government has agreed to maintain unilaterally your rights in terms of stay, but nothing can be guaranteed with absolute certitude. The European Institutions and the Belgian authorities are fully involved in defending your interests.