Immigration alert: the position of EEA citizens if the UK leaves the EU without a deal on 31 October 2019

23 August 2019

Following recent reports that the government plans to abruptly end freedom of movement for European Economic Area citizens if the UK leaves the EU without a deal on 31 October 2019, we set out below a reminder of the current position.

It has been reported that the Home Secretary, Priti Patel, intends to impose new border restrictions overnight should the UK leave without a deal on 31 October 2019. The Home Office has published a media factsheet in response to these reports. This has created some uncertainty for EU citizens.

EU citizens and their family members already living in the UK by 31 October 2019

Despite the uncertainty generated by the new reports, as things currently stand, in the event of a no-deal Brexit, all EU citizens (and their family members) living in the UK by 31 October 2019 will have until 31 December 2020 to apply under the EU Settlement Scheme. A grant of settled status or pre-settled status will preserve their right to reside in the UK.

The Home Office also sent out an alert on 21 August to this effect. The alert also sought to assure people that those already residing in the UK but who are not in the UK on 31 October 2019, will still be free to enter and those who have not applied under the scheme will continue to be able to prove their rights.

In the last few days, it has been reported that there has been such an increase in people making applications under the EU Settlement Scheme that the system is struggling to cope. However, we would still encourage all those eligible to apply under the scheme to apply as soon as possible. The application process is quick and simple.

British citizenship

EU nationals who have been resident in the UK for 5 years or more (or 3 years or more if married to a British citizen) may also wish to consider applying for British citizenship. Citizenship is one route which will provide complete security of the right to reside in the UK.

Some EU countries do not allow for dual citizenship so those who are concerned that they would lose their current citizenship would be advised to check the effect of obtaining a second nationality.

EU and EEA citizens coming to the UK after 31 October 2019

The position for those arriving from 1 November 2019 in the event of no-deal Brexit is now less clear.

The previous government had indicated that in the event of a no deal Brexit there would be a transition period covering the period until the planned future immigration system was in place (previously anticipated for 2021). During this time, EU nationals arriving after the Brexit date would be allowed to enter for up to 3 months and those who wished to remain beyond that would be able to apply for European Temporary Leave to Remain for up to 3 years.

However, the recent reports suggest this may now change. The Home Office media factsheet states:

what will change is the arrangements for people coming to the UK for longer periods of time and for work and study. Details of other changes immediately after 31 October and improvements to the previous government’s plans for a new immigration system are being developed.”

We will continue to monitor the situation and will issue new alerts when more information becomes available.

Brexit Bulletin Board

Brexit Bulletin Board

Flying visits? Challenges for UK lawyers working in the EU post Brexit

In this webinar series, Ilda de Sousa, Partner in our Immigration Team discusses the challenges that a post no deal Brexit will have on UK based lawyers working in France, Italy, Ireland, Netherlands, Belgium, Spain and Luxembourg.

Watch the webinar series

The European Immigration Webinar Series

Marcia Longdon, Partner in our Immigration Team, speaks to immigration experts from France, Spain, Germany and Italy about the changes in immigration law for UK nationals.

Watch the webinar series

The UK left the EU on Friday 31 January 2020

After leaving the EU on 31 January 2020, the UK is now in a transition period. We discuss what this means for people moving to and from the UK, and what the UK's immigration system may look like after the transition period. 31 January 2020


As the UK leaves the EU, what happens next from an immigration perspective?

As the UK will leave the EU tonight at 11pm when we'll move into a transition period, Kim Vowden discusses what happens next for EU citizens arriving in the UK or those thinking of moving here. 31 January 2020


Brexit and EU citizens in the UK

A simple chart showing what will happen to EU citizens living in the UK if there's a deal or if there's no deal.

Brexit - What EU citizens living in the UK need to know

Read More

No-deal Brexit policy update provides some relief for employers and EU citizens

5 September 2019


The EU Settlement Scheme - a guide for EU citizens living in the UK

Click here to play video

Brexit: business anxiety over freedom of movement U-turn

20 August 2019


Handle with care: why it’s time to treat EU nationals responsibly

30 August 2019


Glitches in the EU Settlement Scheme

5 August 2019

Read more

The suspension of parliament increases legal scrutiny of Brexit – and possibly a public inquiry?

29 August 2019

Read more

Kingsley Napley's immigration team sponsors Financial and Professional Services Post-Brexit Immigration Briefing

9 May 2019


Post-Brexit data sharing with EU regulators is key for FCA policing market abuse

1 February 2019

Read News Item

No-deal Brexit: transitional arrangements for EEA nationals arriving after 29 March 2019

29 January 2019


No deal Brexit: what this would mean for extradition?

23 January 2019

Rebecca Niblock blogs

Mutual trust remains until we leave: notification of intention to leave the EU not an exceptional circumstance

19 September 2018

Read the blog

No-deal Brexit and the impact on patient safety

20 September 2018


Divorced, beheaded, scrutinised? SIs and Henry VIII powers under review

31 August 2018

Read the blog

Brexit: "It was not this that I promised to do"

14 August 2018

Read the blog

Brexit and the European Arrest Warrant (EAW): at least now we know what we don’t know

9 August 2018

Read the blog

Could Brexit send Geraint Thomas into a spin?

30 July 2018 - Hanging over this year’s Tour de France, at least for this British cycling fan, was the realisation that this is probably the last Tour pre-Brexit, and so there is an additional level of uncertainty about what the 2019 post-Brexit edition will look like.

Read the blog

Holiday home/Retirement planning: will Brexit wreck it?

16 July 2018 - A question you may ponder as you relax on that sunlounger in the weeks ahead is whether you need to review your arrangements for any EU based property in light of Brexit.

Read the blog

Brexit and practising rights for lawyers

9 July 2018 - Two Solicitor friends of mine recently asked me to sign their applications to register with the Law Society of Ireland. I asked them if they were thinking of moving.

Read Blog Post

#Brexit: Further clarification on the rights of EU citizens living in the UK

18 June 2018

View Tweet

Blackberries, Baking and Brexit

11 July 2018

Read Blog Post

A change of course? Pondering the future of golf in Brexit Britain

29 March 2018 - As avid golfers focus their attention on the US Masters in Augusta Georgia next month, many at the 19th Hole will be pondering the impact of Brexit on their beloved game.

Read the blog

Post-Brexit language testing for EEA qualified healthcare professionals

22 March 2018 - The House of Commons Library published a Briefing Paper on 7 March 2018 outlining the language testing requirements imposed upon healthcare professionals who qualified outside of the UK.

Read Blog Post

Brexit & Horse Racing

5 March 2018 - The UK is home to a myriad of sports employing foreign nationals and receiving investments from overseas companies. Learn how Brexit will impact horse racing and all who are part of it.

Read Blog Post

Brexit & Motor Racing

21 March 2018 - The UK is home to a myriad of sports employing foreign nationals and receiving investments from overseas companies. Learn how Brexit will impact motor racing and all who are part of it.

Read Blog Post

UK-EU security cooperation post #Brexit - ringing the alarm bell! | Part II of a two-part guest blog by EU Criminal Law expert Dr Debbie Sayers | #CriminalLaw

17 April 2018

View Tweet

Kim provides the facts! #stayorgo

19 March 2018

View Tweet

Beyond #Brexit: new anti-money laundering regime agreed

10 July 2018 - No sooner are we one year into the new regime under the Money Laundering Regulations 2017 than a further EU instrument has been adopted.

Read Blog Post

What Brexit means for EU employees living in the UK and their families

27 June 2016

View on YouTube

Share insightLinkedIn Twitter Facebook Email to a friend Print

Email this page to a friend

Skip to content Home About Us Insights Services Contact Accessibility