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Minister of Foreign Affairs

Linas Linkevičius

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Information for EU citizens

Created: 2019.02.04

In December 2017, an agreement on the protection of the rights of EU citizens and their family members was reached in the EU-UK negotiations. Relevant provisions were included in the draft withdrawal agreement. The EU citizens living in the UK today (including Lithuanian citizens) have no reason to worry – their status will not change until the UK remains an EU member state.

According to the draft withdrawal agreement In case of UK’s withdrawal without agreement (no-deal)
EU citizens who have been continuously legal residents in the UK for five years before the end of the transitional period (31 December 2020) will be eligible to apply for settled status, enabling them to stay indefinitely; After 2019 March 29 EU citizens would be considered as third-country nationals, but the UK will continue to unilaterally run the EU Settlement Scheme for those resident in the UK by 29 March 2019 in a ‘no deal’ scenario. The basis for qualifying for “settled status” under the scheme will remain the same as proposed in a ‘deal’ scenario and will be focused on residence in the UK. This means that any EU citizen living in the UK by 29 March 2019 will be eligible to apply to this scheme, securing their status in UK law.
EU citizens who arrive in the UK by 2020 but are not legally residing in the country for five years, will be able to apply for temporary status and stay in the UK until they reach the five year point. Then, they will be able to apply for settled status; EU citizens and their family members resident in the UK by 29 March 2019 would have until 31 December 2020 to apply for a status under the EU Settlement Scheme, but with no six-month ‘grace period’ beyond this.  The new UK immigration system would be implemented from 1 January 2021. Until this time, EU citizens will continue to be able to rely on their passport or national identity card if they are asked to evidence their right to reside in the UK.
Family members, who by 2020 December 31 will live or join EU citizens in the UK, will also be able to apply for settled status after five years of continuous residence in the UK; The right to return - the UK will continue to honour the right of those who obtain “settled status” under the scheme to be able to leave the country for up to five consecutive years without losing their right to return.
Close family members (spouses, partners, children and grandchildren, parents and grandparents) will be able to join EU citizens after Brexit, provided their relationship existed on 31 December 2020; Family members – EU citizens with settled status would be able to be joined in the UK, by 29 March 2022, by existing close family members, such as children, spouses and partners, parents and grandparents living overseas at exit, where the relationship existed by 29 March 2019 (or where a child was born overseas after this date) and continued to exist when the family member applied. After 29 March 2022, such family members will be able to join EU citizens in the UK by applying through the applicable UK Immigration Rules. EU citizens with “settled status” will be able to be joined by future spouses and partners (where the relationship was established after exit) and other dependent relatives until 31 December 2020, after which point the UK Immigration Rules would apply to suchfamily reunion.
An application for the UK permanent resident status (”settled status”) will be available online. The UK Home Office expects to launch the online application system before the end of 2018; Remedies – EU citizens would have the right to challenge a refusal of UK “settled status” under The EU Settlement Scheme by way of administrative review and judicial review, in line with the remedies generally available to non-EEA nationals refused leave to remain in the UK. There wouldbe no preliminary reference procedure to the Court of Justice of the European Union, as it would not have any jurisdiction in the UK.
There is also expected to be a “grace period” for obtaining documents for gaining settled status in the UK. It will last 6 months after the end of the transitional period for EU citizens currently living in the UK and 3 months for those who will join later as family members; Deportation - the EU deportation threshold would continue to apply to crimes committed before exit. However, UK would apply the UK deportation threshold to crimes committed after 29 March 2019.
In case the application is rejected, EU citizens will have a second opportunity to apply. The fact that an application has been rejected will not have any effect on their ability to remain in the UK until the end of the grace period; Frontier workers - would be covered by the EU Settlement Scheme.
Important: EU citizens who already have a permanent residence document will have to change it for settled status. The new document will be issued free of charge. The application will have to be submitted online; Services and benefits – in a ‘no deal’scenario, EU citizens and their family members lawfully residing in the UK by 29 March 2019 will be able to continue to access in country benefits and services on broadly the same terms as now. This means that they will retain their entitlement to healthcare, education, benefits and social housing, including supported housing and homelessness assistance, on the same basis as now. These entitlements will be subject to any future domestic policy changes which apply to UK nationals. EU citizens will also continue to have their professional qualifications recognised in the UK post-exit, where they have applied for or received a recognition decision by 29 March 2019.
The rights of the EU citizens who have a permanent residence document or a temporary residence document will continue to be protected by the EU law. (For example, UK healthcare, pensions, social benefits, etc.). On 6 December 2018 UK published Policy paper “Citizens’ Rights - EU citizens in the UK and UK nationals in the EU”.

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