The agreement reached for EU citizens and their family members is:
People who arrive by 29 March 2019 and have been continuously and lawfully living here for 5 years will be able to apply to stay indefinitely by getting ‘settled status’. That means these citizens will be free to live here, have access to public funds and services and go on to apply for British citizenship.
People who arrive by 29 March 2019, but won’t have been here lawfully for 5 years when we leave the EU, will be able to apply to stay until they have reached the 5-year threshold. They can then also apply for settled status.
Family members who are living with, or join, EU citizens in the UK by 29 March 2019 will also be able to apply for settled status after 5 years in the UK.
Close family members (spouses, civil partners and unmarried partners, dependent children and grandchildren, and dependent parents and grandparents) will be able to join EU citizens after exit under these rules, where the relationship existed on 29 March 2019 and continues to exist when they wish to come to the UK.
EU citizens with settled status and temporary permission to stay will continue to have the same access as they currently do to healthcare, pensions and other benefits.
For EU citizens who arrive in the UK after the UK’s withdrawal on 29 March 2019, the proposed implementation period (announced by the Prime Minister in her Florence speech in September) will mean they can still live, work and study here after we have left the EU. How long this period lasts is subject to negotiations, however it is likely to be around 2 years.
Details of the immigration rules for EU citizens who arrive after the cut-off date and during the implementation period are yet to be agreed.
If you’re an EU citizen working in the UK or a UK business that employs an EU citizen, you don’t need to do anything now. There will be no change to the rights and status of EU citizens living in the UK before we leave the EU.
After we leave, EU citizens will need to apply for a document to prove they have permission to legally work in the UK. There will be plenty of time for them to do this (at least 2 years), and we will work closely with businesses and others to look at how they will be affected by these changes.