In the past year Brexit has seemed never-ending, and an endless sea of extension requests and changing leave dates. The constant uncertainty can make it easy for someone to lose track of the ever-changing deadlines, however for EEA Nationals wishing to remain in the UK post-Brexit, it is imperative that they remain updated and aware.

The latest agreed deadline for the UK to leave the EU is 31 January 2020, replacing the previous deadline of 31 October 2019. If the UK leaves the EU without a deal, EEA Nationals will need to be living in the UK before leaving day in order to apply under the scheme. Therefore, with a no deal currently being a real possibility, EEA Nationals should seek to become resident in the UK before 31 January 2020 to secure their future in the UK.

What of the status of Irish Nationals?

Irish Nationals have long been afforded special status and do not need to apply under the Settlement Scheme to remain in the UK. Further, Irish Nationals have never needed to obtain settled status or permanent residence as a result of holding special status. The fact that Irish Nationals have no need for status to remain in the UK has created confusion, especially in their recent efforts to apply for British passports.

The uncertainty around Brexit has led to an influx of British citizenship applications. Despite their special status, many Irish Nationals, including those that have lived in the UK for decades, have sought to obtain British passports to secure their future in the UK. Many do not appreciate however that they may not automatically be considered British citizens and must first apply for and obtain British citizenship.

The confusion mostly stems from the fact that the vast majority of Irish Nationals have never needed to make any type of immigration application for the UK and therefore have not had to concern themselves regarding UK immigration policies. Many have lived in the UK their entire lives and consider themselves British citizens. Therefore there is often shock and confusion when their applications have been refused as they have not made appropriate applications or followed the correct procedure. It is imperative that those Irish Nationals who want to obtain a British passport should apply for British citizenship and should do so with a complete understanding of the requirements. Failing to do so can come at the expense of exorbitant Home Office fees and up to 6 months or more of wasted time waiting for applications to be processed.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.