What will be the impact of Brexit if I have legally been residing in the United Kingdom for less than 5 years?

 
Until 31 January 2020

The current situation is maintained. As long as you meet the conditions set out under European law, you retain your right of residence. After five years of continuous legal residence, you can benefit from permanent residency status. Once these five years have been accumulated, you must nonetheless, after Brexit, apply under the 'settled status' system in order to obtain permanent residence status and continue to live in the United Kingdom (see question 1​).

 
From 1 February 2020

When the withdrawal agreement is ratified:

  1. Until 31 December 2020 (longer if the transition period is extended): the current situation is maintained.
     
  2. Thereafter: If you were living in the United Kingdom before the end of the transition period, you can continue to live in the United Kingdom with your family members, as long as you meet the conditions set out under EU law.

    Furthermore, you may enter and leave the United Kingdom on simple presentation of a valid passport or identity card. Obtaining an "EEA family permit" makes it easier and quicker to enter the United Kingdom for your non-EEA family members.
     
  3. After 5 years of continuous legal residency in the United Kingdom, you will benefit (as will your family) from a right to permanent residence in the country (see question 1). To calculate these 5 years, the period during which you lived in the United Kingdom before the end of the transition period will be taken into account (which means that neither the UK withdrawal nor the end of the transition period will reset the counter to zero).
     
    From the expiry of the transition period, the United Kingdom will have the right to demand a residency document. According to their current position, the British authorities will allow you to register by 30 June 2021. In fact, a grace period of 6 months is added to the transition period in the event that you arrive in the United Kingdom before 31 December 2020.  This procedure will be simple, quick and free. This is a document stating the existence of your right of permanent residence, without the discretion of the British authorities, as soon as you fulfil the applicable conditions.
     
    To this end, the British authorities have decided to implement a system called the 'pre-settled status' for those who have been residing in the United Kingdom for less than 5 years at the end of the transition period, until they have legally and permanently lived in the United Kingdom for 5 years and can then claim 'settled status'. Once these 5 years have been accumulated, they must apply under the 'settled status' system in order to obtain permanent residence status and continue to live in the United Kingdom (see question 1).

    To summarise, if you settled in the United Kingdom before the end of the transition period (31/12/2020), but have not yet accumulated 5 years of continuous legal residence, you will need to apply for 'pre-settled status' before 30 June 2021 in order to continue to live in the United Kingdom.

 

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