• Greyfriars Solicitors

The Impact of Brexit on International Families



The uncertainty surrounding Brexit is affecting a number of areas of people's lives. One of the main areas affected will be the ability of EU citizens to reside in the UK, and vice versa. This article will look at the potential impact Brexit may have on families with relationships crossing the European borders.


Currently, the UK and EU benefit from free movement. This allows citizens to cross each others' borders freely. However, following Brexit, this free movement will no longer exist.


The UK government's draft Withdrawal Agreement is a proposed agreement between the UK and the EU, and deals with issues arising between 29th March 2019 and 31 December 2020.


The proposals in the draft Withdrawal Agreement are (amongst other things):

  • UK and EU citizens who are living in the UK or EU on 31 December 2020 will have the option to apply for settled status, following five years' of continuous residence. The five years may be completed before or after 31 December 2020. The effect of this is that a UK citizen with an EU partner will have a right to remain in the UK, of their own accord, regardless of marital status.

  • UK citizens with a spouse, civil partner, parent, or child not currently residing in the UK may have a right to bring that person to the UK. This will also apply to UK citizens living in other EU countries.

  • There will be no automatic right for cohabitants to join their cohabitee partner. This is because the definition of "family member" refers only to spouse or registered civil partner, parent, or child. A cohabitant may still join their partner, but they will have to prove a lasting relationship which existed before the transition period.


If you think you or your family members may be affected by Brexit, contact us for an initial consultation. We can put measures in place to ensure that when the time comes, things run as smoothly as possible.


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