Those in Europe live in uncertainty as to what the effects of Brexit will be on both Europeans permanently residing in the United Kingdom, and for UK nationals permanently residing in the EU.
There was once a united Europe, but as one of its most influential and powerful members gives up its membership, a shift is being felt in European politics.
And now that the exit of the United Kingdom is official (although still in the process of transition) it is important to think of how European citizens living on British territory and British citizens living on European territory will go ahead.
Will those who have so far been welcome become foreigners to the host country? Or is there a way to deal with the inevitable change without suffering backlash, having things in order by the time runs out?
Not just words
As long as it remained an EU country, the United Kingdom retained all the rights and obligations of being an EU member. Currently, however, there is confusion, uncertainty and a lot of bureaucracy.
The rights of European citizens in the UK will be maintained, and they will be able to apply for residency status. But how? And until when?
Italians in the UK
Communications from London have stated that the last day for “Permanent Residency” will be December 31st 2020 and that those who hold a PR certificate will be able to convert it into “Settled Status”, a new initiative by the home office.
The procedure for obtaining permanent residency are dictated by a European law which, inevitably, will be replaced by a local directive. However, European law will reign supreme until the end of the transition period.
This means that European tourists will be able to continue visiting the UK as they have done in the past until the end of the transition period (December 31st 2020), but will have to conform to the new directives laid out by the British government afterward.
So far, it has been made clear that a type of Electronic Visa will be required for EU citizens who wish to travel to the UK (a similar system to that which is required for EU nationals visiting the United States or Canada) in addition to possessing a valid passport (as an identity card will no longer be sufficient to travel to the UK).
The process of obtaining “Settled Status” consists of verifying one’s identity (by inspection of personal documentation), eligibility (through assessment of residence) and suitability (criminal record check).
Settled status will allow non-British European Nationals the right to stay in the UK if they have been residing in the country for a minimum of 5 years by December 31st 2020.
Applications for Settled Status will be open until June 30th, 2021. This date also represents the final day in which the rights and status of EU, EEA and Swiss citizens living in the United Kingdom will remain unchanged.
The indefinite residence permit is also commonly referred to as “permanent residence”.
European citizens are considered to be “continuously resident” in the United Kingdom if they have stayed in the country for 6 out of 12 months, and if they have resided there for less than 5 years.
There are also some exceptions, thus there is a tendency to allow a longer than allowed absence for reasons of illness or pregnancy, study or military service.
In the case of long-term residents, i.e. a resident in the UK for more than 5 years, to be considered continuously resident, they must not have been absent for more than 5 consecutive years.
UK and EU Agreements
The December 2017 agreement between the United Kingdom and the European Commission, which specifies how requirements (based on time and manner of residence in the country) will change the determination of the right to stay for European Citizens.
- Those who, as of January 31st, 2020, have been in Great Britain permanently for a minimum of five years will have the right to request Settled Statusin order to continue living in the United Kingdom, to access public services and be eligible for British Citizenship.
- Those who, as of January 31st, 2020, have not had a period of residence equal to 5 years in Great Britain, may request the “temporary residence permit”, which may be replaced with the Settled Status permit once five years of residency has been completed.
- Family members of European citizens who joined relatives before January 31st, 2020, will be applicable for Settled Status once 5 years residency has been completed.
- Children of European citizens born in the United Kingdom after January 31st, 2020, will have the right to remain in the UK if the child’s parents have already obtained Settled Statusprior to the birth of the child.
- Those who wish to join a relative in Britain(including spouses), who is a European citizen legally residing in the United Kingdom, will continue to be able to do so after Brexit, provided that the application for Settled Status is fulfilled before January 31st, 2020.
Brits in Italy
In Italy, every citizen of the European Union (which currently include British citizens) can request a certificate of permanent residence, as per the EU legislative decree n. 30 of 2007 which regulates the “stay for all citizens and family members of the member countries of the European Union”.
It is advisable, as future restrictions on British citizens within the EU are not yet known, to obtain residency in Italy before Brexit is finalized.
Recently our country has equipped itself with an additional legislative decree, the Brexit Decree (Dl n. 22) of March 25th 2019, which regulates the issue of European residency permits. More information is available in our Guide How to live in Italy as a British Citizen after Brexit.
- Residence in an Italian municipality
- Possession of European citizenship
- Continuous stay in Italy for at least five years.
- Continuous stay in Italy for at least three years in the case of:
- An employed or self-employed person who, when he/she ceases work, has reached the age for retirement pension.
- A subordinate worker who ceases working, followed by early retirement, if Italy was the place of work in the last twelve months.
- A subordinate or self-employed worker who can no longer work due to permanent incapacity to work. The self-employed work must have been in Italy for at least two years. If the incident which rendered the worker incapacitated (such as a work-related incident/accident) took place in Italy, then the worker is automatically applicable for residency regardless of the amount of time spent in the country.
- A subordinate or self-employed worker who moves to work in another State belonging to the European Union after having carried out their business in Italy for at least three consecutive years and who continues to reside in Italian territory.
Family members with non-EU citizenship can visit their local Police and apply for the “Permanent residence card for family members of European citizens”.
The right to permanent residency is abandoned if one leaves the country for more than two consecutive years, or if they are deported.
The document certifying the right to permanent residence is advised to be acquired as soon as possible. The request to demonstrate proof of employment in Italy, the availability of sufficient resources for one’s own livelihood, and other documentation may be requested in order to obtain PR status.
It is a good practice to keep all the documents certifying presence in Italy, from employment contracts to income tax returns, as they may be useful when submitting an application.
Our International Law Firm has successfully assisted British citizens during the process of obtaining Permanent Residency in Italy.
For detailed and personalized advice, do not hesitate to contact the Immigration Department of the Boccadutri International Law Firm.