Bishop & Sewell

In another article for leading immigration news site Free Movement, Karma Hickman in our Immigration team discusses the post-Brexit situation for EEA citizens married to Brits, now that the situation is clear.

EEA citizens

What is the position of EU spouses of British citizens following Brexit?

The 2016 referendum sent shock waves through the European community in the UK, but now that the dust has settled, the picture is far less alarming than appeared at first.

Various groups who seemed particularly vulnerable in the wake of the vote, including European spouses of British citizens, no longer need to worry. Following a prolonged period of uncertainty, most will now find they can now secure their right to reside in the UK without too much difficulty.

The legal position of EU citizens before Brexit

For years, most EU citizens lived peacefully in the UK without ever giving any thought to the legal position underlying their residence. That ended with the referendum, which forced many to confront the realities of their immigration status for the first time.

Legally, EU nationals were meant to be working, self-employed, students or financially “self-sufficient” in order to reside here long-term. Alternatively, they had to be the family member of someone in one of those categories. Controversially, students and the self-sufficient also needed either private medical insurance or a foreign European Health Insurance Card, as discussed in Colin’s previous version of this article.

But the reality was that people only ever became aware of these requirements if applying for optional residence documentation confirming their right to stay here — which most never bothered to do. That all changed with the EU referendum, as people rushed to protect their status and discovered the strict legal position.

The full article can be found here.

For advice on making a visa, immigration or nationality application or immigration matters more widely, please contact Karma or another member of our expert Immigration Team on 020 7631 4141 or email

Category: Blog | Date: 22nd May 2019

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