Paragon Law have, since the Brexit referendum, been providing in-house seminars to clients and their EU/EEA staff members on the requirements of regularising immigration status before the UK invokes Article 50.
From these seminars we list the frequently asked questions and our answers in turn.
Should you require specific advice then contact the Paragon Law team at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0115 9644 123.
Q: What is the benefit of obtaining a Registration Certificate?
Answer: A Registration Certificate is evidence that an EEA national is present in the UK as a qualified person at the date of application. In certain immigration contexts, it may leave you in a more advantageous position at a later date, if you make an application for a registration certificate now. One example of this is that for students who obtained a registration certificate as a student before the 20th June 2011, transitional provisions are in place which mean that they do not need to evidence that they have held comprehensive sickness insurance when applying for a document certifying permanent residence. Another advantage is that it may provide you with evidence of your status if you require that at a later date.
Q: For a registration certificate, if the same day premium service at Croydon is used, is there a guarantee it will be done the same day?
Answer: There is never any guarantee but it is highly likely.
Q: How strict is the home office in regards to the travel history?
Answer: In terms of your application it is in your best interest to be as accurate as possible. Only full days outside of the UK need to be included on the form (so if you travel on a Saturday and return on a Sunday there is no need to record your travel). If it is not possible to provide the exact dates, then as accurate an estimate as possible should be provided.
For a permanent residence application, It is permissible to limit providing your travel history to the period where you are claiming to have established your right to permanent residence and after that point up until the date of application. However, you should make it clear that you are only providing your travel history from that point, and advise that earlier travel history can be provided upon request.
Q: Is it possible to lose permanent residency?
Answer: You can only lose a right of permanent residence in the UK under EU law where you have been absent from the UK for more than two years, or where you are excluded from the UK on public policy/public security grounds.
Q: Do I still need to apply for permanent residence if my spouse is a UK citizen?
Answer: Although being married to a British citizen has certain immigration advantages in particular contexts, it is not sufficient on its own to establish a right to be in the UK. Therefore it is still advisable to make an application for a permanent residence card to be able to evidence a permanent right of residence in the UK.
Q: I am trying to establish a right of permanent residence. I have been continuously residence for a period of 5 years in the past, but have been abroad for more than one year (but less than two years) since then. Can I still qualify for permanent residence documentation?
Answer: Yes. If you are able to establish that you have acquired a right of permanent residence through a period of 5 years continuous qualified status, then you will only lose that right of permanent residence either through an absence from the UK of more than two years, or through being excluded on public policy/public security grounds.
Q: If I have been in the UK for less than 5 years, what options do I have?
Answer: EEA nationals can apply for a Registration Certificate. Family Members can apply for a residence card. At a later date, it may still be possible to apply for permanent residence documentation if you accrue 5 years continuous qualified residence before the UK leaves the EU. It is recommended that in the meantime good records of qualified status (eg wageslips/bank statements) are kept, and records of travel history are retained.
Q: If you provide evidence for more than 5 years continuous residence, does this make for a stronger application?
Answer: It is better to provide evidence of a longer period of qualified status where possible. If the Home Office do not accept that you are a qualified person during certain periods, they may still accept the application if they can rely upon other periods of 5 years qualified status.
Q: Can dependents be included on the permanent residence application?
Answer: Yes, dependents can be included on the EEA (PR) form.
Q: If you are overseas for more than 6 months in 1 year for business purposes, would this prevent my residence being considered ‘continuous’ for acquiring a right of permanent residence?
Answer: A single absence of more than 6 months (but not more than 12 months), is permitted for good reasons. If the absence is in connection with an overseas posting then this is likely to be considered a good reason, although evidence of the necessity of the trip should be provided.
Q: Does travel history include work?
Answer: Yes all travel history must be included, whether for work or personal travel.
Q: What is the difference between a document certifying permanent residence and a permanent residence card.
Answer: The Document Certifying Permanent Residence is for EEA nationals who have acquired a right of permanent residence. The permanent residence card is issued to family members of EEA nationals who have acquired a right of permanent residence
Q: Is it possible to apply for permanent residence documentation 1-2 months before a continuous period of 5 years?
Answer: Whilst with many type of immigration applications it is possible to apply up to 28 days before reaching the residence requirement, in the context of EEA applications this is dangerous as it would mean that at the point of application you could not prove your continuous qualified status for a period of 5 years. I would advise that you wait until having evidence to cover a full 5 year period before making an application.
Q: In order for a husband and wife to both get permanent residency do they both need to be in the UK for 5 years?
Answer: Yes – each applicant must establish they have been present in the UK for 5 years under the regulations.
Q: If I apply for UK citizenship, can I still have other citizenships?
Answer: UK allows dual citizenship but other countries have their own set of rules. It is therefore important that you check the rules of your country of nationality to see what impact obtaining British Citizenship may have.
Q: My partner has a residence card which she will need to hold for another 4 years. Should I apply for citizenship?
Answer: Your partner may lose her status as being a dependant of an EEA national if the main applicant becomes a British Citizen.
Q: When I acquire a right of permanent residence how long do I have to wait to apply for naturalisation?
Answer: In most circumstances, you need to have held permanent residence for 1 year. However, you can apply without waiting 1 year if a) you are married to a British citizen; or 2) an Irish citizen.
Q: Do I need to wait for 1 year after being issued a Document Certifying Permanent Residence/Permanent Residence Card before applying for naturalisation?
Answer: Although you must have held a right of permanent residence for 1 year (unless married to a British citizen/an Irish citizen) you do not need to have held the permanent residence documents for 1 year. If you can evidence you acquired your right of permanent residence more than 1 year previously, you can apply for naturalisation immediately after acquiring your permanent residence documents.
Q: What happens if original documents get lost by the home office?
Answer: The Home Office have improved processes over the last few years which mean that we are seeing fewer original documents being lost, however the loss of original documents is always a risk. Take a copy for your records as a precautionary measure. You are entitled to financial compensation for any financial loss incurred as a result of the Home Office losing your original documents, and could pursue the formal complaints procedure if this were to occur (https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/uk-visas-and-immigration/about/complaints-procedure).
Q: Would you recommend sending a National ID card for the application?
Answer: In order to evidence the nationality of the EEA national it is a requirement that you send in their original valid passport or valid national ID Card. If the passport is required for travel purposes it is acceptable to submit the National ID card for this purpose. You may also in some circumstances be able to request the passport of the EEA national back for travel purposes, however the Home Office may decide to treat the application as withdrawn.
Q: Is comprehensive sickness insurance needed?
Answer: For those who are attempting to establish that they are qualified as a student or a self-sufficient person, it is necessary to hold comprehensive sickness insurance. Access to the NHS does not satisfy this requirement.
The principle way of establishing this would be through holding a private medical insurance policy which covers the majority of threats. However, where you are staying in the UK on a temporary basis, an EHIC card (issued in a member state outside of the UK) may be relied upon although it must be valid during the relevant periods.
It may also be possible in limited circumstances to establish that through a reciprocal healthcare agreement between your country of nationality and the UK, that you satisfy this requirement.
Q: If you are the family member of an EEA national but were married outside of the UK, can you still rely upon the marriage?
Answer: As long as the marriage is valid according to the laws and customs in the place that the marriage took place, then you can rely upon that marriage to establish a family member relationship.
Q: Does 16 hours of work per week class as genuine and effective to establish a right of residence as a worker?
Answer: Whilst 16 hours could arguably constitute ‘genuine and effective’ work, it would be preferable if 20 hours per week or greater were involved. There is no set definition of ‘genuine and effective’ for this purpose.
Q: Can you send in a passport about to expire?
Answer: It must be a valid passport at the date of application. If the passport expires shortly afterwards, that should not affect the application.
Q: I am trying to evidence my qualified status as a worker. If I do not have all of my wage slips, are bank statements acceptable?
Answer: It is ideal to have wage slips but if this is not possible then the application should be supported by other corroborative evidence including bank statements, employer’s letters, an employers contract, P60s etc.
Q: Can I rely upon online bank statements?
Answer: Online Bank Statements should preferably be stamped on each page by the issuing bank, or be accompanied by a covering letter from them on letterhead paper confirming the statements are genuine and accurate.
Q: Are copies of documents accepted?
Answer: For passports, national IDs and marriage certificates originals must be sent. For pay slips and other evidence, original documents should be provided unless there are good reasons that the original documents are not available.
Q: What happens if my EEA application is rejected?
Answer: If an EEA application is rejected, in most circumstances the Applicant will have a right of appeal to the Tribunal. However, current listing times can be 12 months or more for a hearing. It may therefore be preferable to make a fresh application depending on the grounds provided for the refusal.
Q: Is it better for a family member to obtain a residence card or if they qualify in their own right in a different category to go for this?
Answer: This will depend upon the particular circumstances of the individual and the costs involved. An application under the immigration rules is likely to be more expensive. If there is an application that can made under EEA regulations then this may still be preferable as it may lead to settlement earlier and involve less cost in the long run.
Q: I have indefinite leave to remain but the country that I am from has since
joined the EU will my rights as someone who holds a indefinite leave to remain in
the UK remain in place ?
Answer: Yes your rights as an individual who holds indefinite leave to remain will remain in place.
Q: If I have already provided certain documents to establish something for example permanent residence, does these documents have to be submitted again for another application?
Answer: Yes, it is generally required and advisable to provide evidence of the matter again.
Q: What happens if you don’t do anything?
Answer: Potentially nothing will happen and there will be no negative consequences. However, there is uncertainty for the future so applying now may result in your acquiring a better status in the future. It may also potentially save you money in the long run. There is a possibility that Home Office practice may become tougher going forward.
If you do obtain documents establishing a right of permanent residence, the expectation is that those people will be treated in the future in the same way that those with indefinite leave to remain are currently treated in the UK.
Should you require specific advice then contact the Paragon Law team at email@example.com or call 0115 9644 123.