Staying in Scotland as a European Economic Area (EEA) National

On 23 June 2016 the UK voted to leave the European Union (widely known as Brexit). Since the vote there has been much discussion about what this means for European nationals currently living in the UK.

French passport

The Scottish Government continues to welcome EEA nationals in Scotland as the status of Europeans living and working in Scotland has not changed. There has been no change to the rights and status of EU nationals living and working in the UK. The UK Government has published details on the settlement scheme for EEA nationals and advises that this will open fully by March 2019.

In the meantime, it remains open to EEA nationals and their family members living in Scotland to apply for documentation from the UK Home Office that certifies their right to live and work in the UK. This can be done by applying for an EEA Registration Certificate (commonly referred to as an EEA Residence Card) a, Permanent Residence Card, or even British nationality depending upon your specific circumstances.

EEA Registration Certificate/EEA Residence Card
Although most EEA nationals and their family members are not formally obliged to apply for a registration certificate or residence card to live and work in Scotland / the UK, it might help you re-enter the country more quickly and easily if you travel abroad, as well as show employers you are allowed to work in the UK.

EEA Permanent Residence Card
Some EEA nationals will also be eligible to apply for a Permanent Residence Card. This will certify an individual's right to live in Scotland / the UK on a permanent basis.

British Nationality
In various circumstances, it is possible for EEA nationals to acquire British nationality in addition to their own nationality. Any EEA national seeking to apply for British nationality will usually be required to provide a Permanent Residence card.

There are various other criteria to be met and it usually requires the applicant to have been resident in the UK for at least 6 years prior to applying.

From 1 October 2016, some EEA nationals making an application to the Home Office for a Registration Certificate or a Permanent Residence Card can do so online, instead of completing the paper form. This will enable use of the new European passport return service, meaning that an original passport does not need to be posted with the application.