Posted On / 01.02.2019

To travel is to live

Even if there is no Brexit deal, the EU has just agreed that UK citizens will have the right to travel to the European Union for up to 90 days in any 6 month period. 

The area that the rule applies to is known as the Schengen Zone which opens borders between agreeing countries. That means you can drive off the ferry in France, stop for steak and chips at a roadside restaurant, stay in a Formula Uno cheap hotel or something fabulous and expensive for the night and then cross the border into Italy if you're going South, or Belgium if you're going North, without needing to think about visas. 

It's all good as long as you go home within three months.  Perhaps that is what the Brexit vote was all about - home.   The main difference for Brits in Europe then is, as this stands and despite some assurance from some of the EU countries, we will have to go home.  Before Brexit we could stay as long as we liked in Europe provided we contributed to the country we were in.

The same has been true for Europeans here of course.  Since 1973, economically active or self sufficient citizens of the EU have been able to stay in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland without limit.  Approximately 3 million have done so and for them, and British citizens that settled in Europe, the concept of home is trickier.  It is here and there - where one is born and has parents, aunts, nephews and where one lives and has spouse, children, job.  For these people to travel, between the two countries or more that are home to them, is to live.

EU citizens that arrive in the UK before 29th March 2019 are protected by the Settlement Scheme.  That is now launched and working, albeit with some teething difficulties.  It comes out of its testing phase at the end of March so should only improve.  Many have also opted to apply for Permanent Residence and some to go on to become British citizens.  A guiding principle is always to try to have the same passports as your children.

The Settlement Scheme can be accessed through the Government's website https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/eu-settlement-scheme-applicant-information  There are still reasons to apply for Permanent Residence rather than just using the Settlement Scheme.  We at Battens can advise on both as well as on citizenship.  We offer consultations for £250 plus VAT to discuss your circumstances.  For more informtaion and advice please contact immigration@battens.co.uk or give us a call on 01225 321639.