What will the status of EU nationals in the UK be after Brexit?
The immigration status of EU nationals in the UK after the UK leaves the EU will depend on the outcome of the Brexit negotiations and the terms of the future relationship agreed between the UK and the EU.
If the UK leaves the EU under the terms of the Withdrawal Agreement, the UK will enter a transition period (sometimes referred to as the implementation period) which will run up to 31 December 2020. During the transition period EU nationals will essentially enjoy the same rights as they do now. Free movement will effectively continue during the transition period. EU nationals who are resident in the UK by 31 December 2020 will need to make an application under the Settlement Scheme by no later than 30 June 2021. EU nationals who have been continuously resident in the UK for five years will be eligible to apply for settled status, enabling them to stay indefinitely. EU nationals who have not been continuously resident for five years will be eligible for pre-settled status, enabling them to remain in the UK until they reach the five year threshold. They can then apply for settled status where they have remained continuously resident in the UK for a five year period.
The Settlement Scheme will also be run in a 'no-deal' scenario for EU nationals who are resident in the UK on or before the date the UK leaves the EU. In this scenario the deadline for applications under the Settlement Scheme will be 31 December 2020.
Further information regarding the EU Settlement Scheme is available on the Government's pages.
In the event that the UK leaves the EU without a deal, EU nationals arriving in the UK between the date the UK leaves the EU and 31 December 2020 will need to apply for European Temporary Leave to Remain (ETLR) if they wish to remain in the UK for more than three months (no such application is required for a stay of less than three months). ETLR will be granted for a three year period and cannot be extended. Following the expiry of ETLR, EU nationals will need to apply under the UK immigration rules in order to remain in the UK. Full details of the rules that will apply are not yet known.
Information is also available on what will happen to EU nationals in a no-deal scenario in the Government's policy paper.