Brexit has created uncertainty for many EU nationals living in Devon. In late August this year the Home Office issued new guidance on what EU nationals living in the UK need to do. Exeter-based immigration solicitor Lisa Mulholland has helped hundreds of people navigate the complicated Home Office application process. Here she answers some common questions.

I am an EU national living in Devon. Do I need to make an application to the Home Office to remain living here?

Although there have been no changes to the rights of EU nationals in the UK at present, the Home Office has made it clear that all EU nationals living in the UK at the end of the Brexit transition period will be required to make applications to the Home Office to confirm their status in the UK.

Does it matter that I am married to a British Citizen?

Unfortunately you will still need to make an application irrespective of whether you are married to a British Citizen or not. This is the case even if you have never previously relied on a visa to remain in the UK on this basis.

When do I need to make an application to the Home Office by and how do I go about it?

EU nationals who have been living in the UK for at least five years prior to 31 December 2020 will need to make applications to the Home Office for settled status. Those who have spent less time living here will be required to apply for pre-settled status, with a view to becoming settled in due course.

The new online application system is likely to be fully in force by 30 March 2019, leaving a period of two years for you to submit your application. You will still need to apply even if you currently have a registration certificate or a permanent residence document.

My children are also EU nationals living with me in the UK. What do I need to do for them?

It is advisable to include your EU national children as dependants in any applications that you make to the Home Office regarding your status. You will be required to provide evidence that they are your children and living with you at the time of the application.

What will happen if I don’t make an application to the Home Office before the cut off date?

You may become an overstayer in the UK and be subjected to the Home Office’s ‘hostile environment policy’. If this is the case you are likely to experience difficulties re-entering the UK after holidays, working, accessing health care (or being liable for hospital fees), opening up bank accounts, renting property and obtaining a driving licence.

Lisa Mulholland is a solicitor in the immigration team at Stephens Scown LLP in Exeter. The team is unique in the region as it advises both individuals and businesses on all aspects of UK immigration law.