Whether you are planning to come to the UK long or short term after Brexit, it is important that you have an idea of how you might need to prepare if you are from the European Economic Area, or the EEA.
Because no one knows exactly how Brexit is going to play out over the next couple of weeks, there is no definite answer for what you can do to prepare for your visit to the UK. The advice below covers how you can prepare for a short visit, but there is also some important immigration advice that you should take note of if you are planning to move to the UK.
Your current position
Currently, if you are an EEA national then your free movement rights still apply if you plan to enter the UK. This means that you are able to come to the UK without a visa, and that you would simply need to be carrying your passport or national identification card to show at the border.
This will likely change after Brexit, but how it will change depends on how the UK leaves the European Union. If the UK leaves with a deal, the restrictions on EEA nationals and their travel to the UK will differ than if the UK leaves without a deal.
If a deal is reached
Should the UK leave the EU with a deal, your rights as an EEA national to enter the UK, either short or long term will be the same as they are now. This will be the case until 31st December 2020. This means that if you’re from the EEA, you can visit the UK without a visa. You can stay as long as you like, so can come to work and build a life or just take a holiday.
How your rights will change, and whether a visa system will be introduced for EEA nationals will depend entirely on the type of deal that is agreed upon. At the moment, Theresa May’s deal has been rejected many times and an agreement has not been reached.
If the UK leaves without a deal
Even if the UK leaves the EU without a deal, EEA nationals will be able to enter the UK as usual. This will be the case until any further provisions are put in place by the UK government. At present, the government intends to end free movement, which would mean you wouldn’t be able to simply enter with your EEA country passport or identity card. However, this has not been approved or finalised yet.
If this were to happen, you’d still be able to travel to the UK and stay for three months. But, if you plan to stay in the UK for more than three months, you would have to apply for what is called ‘European Temporary Leave to Remain in the UK’. Again, immigration advisors state that this all depends on what kind of deal the UK leaves the EU with.
What to do going forward
So, currently the outlook for EEA nationals looking to come to the UK is unclear and could change in the coming months. This is something to be prepared for. If you’re from the EEA and planning a short visit to the UK, don’t let Brexit put you off. Whatever happens, you will still be able to visit the UK on holiday.
If you are planning to move to the UK permanently and are an EEA national, it is important that you keep your eye on what you should do to prepare and whether you need to apply for any sort of leave to remain or other residence application.