Brexit and the rights of EU Citizens

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Girlings Europe is a member of the Belgian-Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce (BLCC) and would like to share with you an interesting article written by BLCC Chairman, Michel Vanhoonacker.

One Brexit topic on which progress has been made recently, is securing the rights of EU citizens. This matters as many members either employ or are an expat themselves.

BLCC recently invited a representative of the British Government to come and explain what Belux expats can expect. In December, the Government delivered on this commitment through an agreement with the European Union, which guarantees the rights of EU citizens’ and their family members living in the UK, and will enable them to continue to live as now.

The Government has since published further details about how EU citizens and their families can obtain settled status in the UK.

Most EU citizens will only need to prove their identity, evidence their residence in the UK and declare any serious criminal convictions. Applications will be made via a short online process, and an application will cost £65 and £32.50 for children under 16. It will be free for those with valid permanent residence or indefinite leave to remain documentation.

A straightforward and streamlined application process

EU citizens and their family members do not need to do anything immediately: there will be no change to their current rights until the end of the implementation period on 31 December 2020; and the deadline for applications to the scheme for those resident here by the end of 2020 will be 30 June 2021.

To obtain settled status EU citizens and their family members generally need simply to have lived continuously in the UK for five years. Those with less than five years residence will be granted pre-settled status until they accumulate their five years, and can then apply for settled status.

The online application form will be accessible through phones, tablets and computers and support will be provided for those who need it. Identity can be verified remotely via an app, or via a postal route.

What next?

The scheme will be phased in this year, before it opens more widely.  It will be fully open by the end of March 2019. So people have enough time to apply, the scheme will remain open for applications for at least two years after the UK leaves the EU.

EU citizens can stay informed by signing up to receive email updates directly from the Government.

For further information about the EU Settlement Scheme, please visit the ‘Status of EU citizens in the UK: what you need to know’ page on (