Moving back to UK: Brits in France with EU partners warned of immigration problems

Moving back to UK: Brits in France with EU partners warned of immigration problems
Photo: Eric Piermont/AFP
Brits living in EU countries have been warned of complicated and lengthy administrative processes if they want to move back to the UK with a European partner before the deadline of March 2022.

Brits who are living in the EU with an EU spouse or partner may have no imminent plans to move back to the UK, but new post-Brexit requirements mean that the process is already more complicated, and is set to get more difficult still from next year.

After British media highlighted a series of stories of Brits left stranded when their EU partners could not get the necessary paperwork, campaign groups are urging UK nationals to plan ahead.

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Jane Golding, chair of the campaign group British in Europe, said: “Families considering a move now need to be aware that the process is time-consuming and complex, and that non-UK family members will first need to apply for a EU Settled Status family permit from outside the UK before the end of March 2022 and only when they have that and move to the UK will they be able to apply for EU pre-settled status.”

Pre-Brexit, Brits who had moved abroad, fallen in love and got married to a European could move back to the UK with their partner with minimal paperwork, but that has changed.

Although UK nationals can move back at any time, their EU spouses or partners now face a raft of extra paperwork to be allowed to live in the UK.

March 2022 deadline

From March 31st, 2022, the EU spouses of UK nationals will be subject to the full visa process if they wish to move to the UK, which includes fulfilling qualifications around language, skills and sufficient financial resources. Those who don’t meet the criteria may not be allowed to enter, despite being married to a Brit.

Extra permits needed

But even those who move before the March deadline need more paperwork than they used to – the EU partner needs to first apply for an EU Settled Status family permit before they enter the UK, and then once in the UK apply for EU pre-settled status.

You can read full details on how the process works HERE.

This might seem like a fairly simple administrative process, but UK media has reported on many cases where the process has taken months, or was rejected for seemingly spurious reasons, leaving families divided and in limbo.

Those considering moving to the UK are therefore advised to leave plenty of time for this, and not rely on a last-minute permit before the March deadline.

Jane Golding said: “We are worried that there are many families across the EU who do not understand the implications of stringent immigration rules now applying to UK citizens in the EU.

“Many of us have older relatives in the UK who may need our care, or we had always planned to retire to the UK to be near family.

“The grace period given until the end of March 2022 is simply not long enough for families to make decisions to uproot and then arrange to return to the UK. We continue to lobby for a longer grace period.”

Children who have dual nationality through their parents should not have any problems moving countries, but those without British citizenship will also need to go through the immigration process once they reach 18.

Have the new requirements changed your plans on staying in France or returning to the UK? Let us know about your experiences at [email protected]

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