Brexit Advice For EU Citizens

On 23 June 2016, the Unitited Kingdom voted to leave the European Union.

The so-called 'Brexit' process is very complex, with many important factors to consider, but there's one particularly pressing question on the minds of EU nationals who currently live in the UK...

Can I stay in the UK after brexit?

Before we attempt to answer that question, it's important to note that nothing is certain right now. Brexit negotiations are still ongoing, so please bear in mind that the advice offered on this page is subject to change and should by no means be taken as definitive.

With that in mind, let's take a look at the current guidelines for EU citizens who wish to remain in the UK after Brexit.

What we know

On 18 March 2018, an agreement was reached concerning a number of key areas:
  • There will be a 21-month transition period lasting from 29th March 2019 to 31st December 2020
  • During this period, free movement will continue as before - that is, EU citizens will still be able to enter and leave the UK as they please.
  • After 31 December 2020, EU citizens who are lawfully resident in the UK may apply for residence documentaion.
  • EU citizens who apply for residence documentation will be on the path to permanent UK residence

Documents you can apply for

EU citizens can apply for two different types of document - these are as follows:

Registration Certificate

If you have been living in the UK for less than 5 years, you may apply for a temporary residence permit. This will allow you to stay in the UK after Brexit (though not indefinitely).
Apply Now>

Permanent Residence (PR) Document

If you have lived in the UK legally for at least 5 continuous years, you may apply for a PR document. This will grant you ‘settled status’, giving you indefinite leave to remain in the UK even after Brexit.
Apply Now>

What to do

EU citizens who wish to remain in the UK post-Brexit have several options:

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Option 1 - Wait & see

If you have not yet lived in the UK for 5 continuous years, you may choose to wait until you reach the 5-year mark, then apply for permanent residence.

However, processing times are likely to increase once the UK has left the EU and the 21-month transition period is underway. The cost is also expected to rise once applications are being processed under UK law instead of EU law.
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Option 2 - Apply for a registration certificate

Alternatively, you can apply for a temporary residence permit now – this will still be valid after the UK has left the EU, and may make it easier to demonstrate that you lived in the UK prior to Brexit (since you’ll already be in the Home Office’s system). This is useful if you intend to apply for settled status after 5 years

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Option 3 - Apply for permanent residence

Of course, if you’ve already lived in the UK for 5 continuous years, you can exercise your treaty rights as a ‘qualified person’ and apply for settled status without having to meet any other requirements. After that, you’ll be able to apply for full British citizenship if you wish.

Hiring EU Workers

So what does all of this mean for companies that are looking to hire EU nationals? Well, it depends on when the workers’ date of arrival...

Arriving before 29th March 2019

UK Still in the EU – Until 29 March 2019, the UK is still a fully paid-up member of the European Union. Free movement will continue, and there is no requirement to apply for a residence document at the moment. Workers who have already lived in the UK for 5 continuous years may apply for settled status under the EU’s Permanent Residence law.

Arriving between 29th March 2019 & 31st December 2020

ITransition Period – During this 21-month transition period, free movement will continue and EU nationals who have lived in the UK for 5 continuous years will still be able to apply for settled status under the UK’s own Indefinite Leave to Remain law.

Arriving after 31st December 2020

New Immigration System – We do not yet know what the UK’s immigration system will look like from 2021 onwards. This page may be updated as Brexit negotiations progress and additional agreements are reached.


If you’re currently looking to hire new talent from within the science and technology sectors, be sure to take a look at the recruitment services we offer here at Hyper Recruitment Solutions!

Please note that HRS are not immigration specialists, and we cannot advise you on your specific situation. This page is for informational purposes only, and its content comes from consulting with immigration experts on a generic, non-advisory basis.