Family members of UK citizens seeking to exercise EU Treaty Rights in Ireland

With life and news being dominated by the COVID-19 pandemic in recent months, the previous top news story of Brexit had somewhat been side lined in recent times.

However, in the past number of weeks it has once again been dominating news headlines with the end of the transition period fast approaching.

The United Kingdom left the European Union  on the 31st of January 2020, however under the terms of the Withdrawal Agreement, EU rules still apply to UK and its citizens up until the 31st of December 2020.  In the context of immigration, this has meant that UK nationals have retained their right to free movement around the EU and their rights of residence in other EU member states along their non-EEA national family members. Much uncertainty has however remained regarding the rights of British citizens and their non-EEA national family members to reside in EU member states including the Republic of Ireland after the 31st of December 2020.

Irish Immigration Service Delivery Update and Preclearance Scheme

The Immigration Service Delivery updated  their Information Notice for non-EEA Family Members of British citizens who are residing in Ireland on the 17th of September 2020.

The update states that:

“From the end of the transition period, non-EEA family members of British citizens that are newly resident in Ireland will not come within the scope of the EU Free Movement Directive. A separate preclearance scheme will apply to such persons seeking to reside in the State, and they should be in possession of a valid travel document and, if required, an Irish entry visa or transit visa for the State.

Details of the preclearance scheme will be announced in the near future and made available on the Immigration Service Delivery website.”

The full notice is available on the following link:

http://www.inis.gov.ie/…/information-notice-for-non-EEA… 

Impact of this announcement

This is an extremely important update for non-EEA national family members of UK nationals planning a move to the Republic of Ireland. The Immigration Service Delivery have made it clear that Free Movement Rights of British citizens and their non-EEA national family members will end on the 31st of December 2020. No information has been provided regarding the criteria to be satisfied by UK citizens and their non-EEA national family members in order to qualify for residence under this preclearance scheme, so the procedure remains uncertain in this regard. We would hope that further information will be published on the Preclearance Scheme well in advance of the 31st of December 2020.

What is certain at present is that UK nationals and their family members can still avail of free movement rights up until the 31st of December 2020 and we would thus encourage any such persons who are considering a move to the State in order to exercise EU Treaty Rights to do so without delay.

Similarly, family members of UK nationals who require to a visa to travel to the Republic of Ireland, should submit their application immediately to enable them to travel to the State to avail of EU Free Movement rights in advance of the end of the transition period.

Should you have any queries on your rights as a family member of a British citizen living in Ireland or any other queries in relation to EU treaty rights or immigration matters do not hesitate to contact our Immigration Department today on 0035314062862, or info@sinnott.ie.