Immigration status of family members of UK citizens exercising EU Treaty Rights in Ireland after the 31st of December 2020 and their family members
After the 31st December 2020, the UK will fully leave the European Union when the Brexit transition period formally comes to an end.
There will be no change to the status of UK nationals who are living in the Republic of Ireland as enshrined under the Common Travel Area. UK citizens who are living in Ireland can continue to live here, travel to and from without difficulty, work, study, access healthcare services and social assistance. This will also apply to Irish citizens who are residing in the United Kingdom.
For family members of UK nationals living in Ireland the situation is slightly different. To date family members of EU nationals who are exercising EU Treaty Rights in Ireland pursuant to the EU Free Movement Directive have been granted a residence card as the family member of a UK/EU citizen exercising EU Treaty Rights.
The Department of Justice have confirmed that from the 31st December 2020, non-EEA family members of UK citizens will retain the same residence rights to live, work and study in Ireland that they currently have.
Non-EEA nationals who are the family members of UK citizens exercising EU treaty rights in Ireland and who currently hold a valid residence card, will be required to exchange their current IRP card (Irish residence permit) for a new card which will state that their rights of residence are acquired through the EU Free Movement Directive pursuant to the Withdrawal Agreement.
The Immigration Service Delivery will begin to exchange the IRP cards from the 1st January 2021. Family members of UK citizens should submit their application to exchange the IRP card using the online application process set out here. This process is applicable to Applicants living in the 26 counties of the Republic of Ireland.
When making the application to exchange the Irish residence permit, individuals will be asked to confirm that their family member has been exercising EU Treaty Rights to reside in the State on or before 31 December 2020 and continue to do so. They will also be asked to submit their current valid Irish residence permit following which a new one will issue.
Family members of UK citizens exercising EU Treaty Rights in Ireland will have until 31 December 2021 to apply for the exchange of their Irish residence permit.
The Department of Justice have confirmed that they will continue to process applications which are received before the 31st December 2020 from non-EEA nationals of UK citizens who are exercising their EU Treaty Rights in Ireland, even if a decision does not issue until well into 2021. It is therefore vital that applications are submitted and received by the EU Treaty Rights Unit before the 31st December 2020 in order for the application to be processed under the Free Movement Directive.
With respect to UK nationals and their family members moving to Ireland after the 31st of December 2020, there will be no change for UK nationals themselves. We understand that a new scheme will be introduced for non-EEA national family members of UK citizens who wish to live in Ireland after 31 December 2020 and further information is awaited from the Department of Justice in this regard.
Sinnott Solicitors Analysis
Our team of immigration consultants located in Cork and Dublin welcome this update from the Department of Justice which has finally provided some clarity to non-EEA national family members of UK citizens who are exercising EU treaty rights in the Republic of Ireland in circumstances where the uncertainty of their situation has been the cause of great stress and anxiety to many non-EEA national family members residing here.
We would hope that the Department of Justice will urgently provide clear information with respect to non-EEA national family members of UK nationals seeking to move to Ireland post 31st December 2020. We are aware of many non-EEA nationals who are family members of UK citizens whose plans to relocate to Ireland have been delayed due to COVID-19 however are hoping to move in early 2021 and under these circumstances it is very important that they are provided with clear information on the new application process and what the requirements will be as soon as possible.
With offices in Dublin and Cork, Sinnott Solicitors have a specialist team of Immigration Solicitors and Immigration Consultants who are experts on EU treaty rights and all Irish immigration matters. Should you have any queries with respect to any of the information contained in this article or any other immigration matters, do not hesitate to contact our immigration department in Cork or Dublin today on +353 1 406 2862 or firstname.lastname@example.org.