The INIS have placed a notice on their webpage on 19th November 2020 providing a number of clarifications with regards to the immigration position of British Citizens and their family members following 31st December 2020- the end of the Brexit Transitional period.

The notice confirms that “nothing will change for UK nationals living in Ireland” on the basis of the Common Travel Area.

The notice sates:

The protections provided by the Common Travel Area mean that UK nationals living here (and likewise Irish citizens living in the UK), will continue to travel freely, live, work and access education, healthcare and social services in each other’s country, after the UK leaves the EU.

The notice further confirms that UK citizens will not require any document to evidence their lawful residence in Ireland after 31st December 2020.

The notice also states that separate arrangements are bring put in place for non-EEA family members and or dependents of UK citizens where the UK citizen is exercising EU Treaty Rights in Ireland and the family member holds an EU FAM Residence card. It is confirmed in the notice that such persons will continue to hold the same right of residence in Ireland and will not lose any of the rights of residence they currently hold under the EU Free Movement Directive.

The notice states there will be a system of exchanging your EU Fam residence card to a different residence card indicating that your residence is derived from the Withdrawal Agreement. The INIS will operate this system and it is indicated that it will operate under the new online renewal system. As part of this exchange of residence card system, applicants will be required to confirm that the British citizen has been exercising their EU Treaty Rights in the State prior to 31st December 2020 and are continuing to so. You will be asked to return your five-year EU Fam residence card and a new residence card will be issued to you.

There will be a period of one year from 31st December 2020 to 31st December 2021 in which you will be required to submit this application for an exchange in your residence card.

It is great to now receive clarity that the INIS will continue to process applications for EU Fam residence cards that are received prior to 31st December 2020 for Non-EEA family members of British citizens, provided the British citizen has exercised his or her EU Treaty Rights in the State prior to 31st December 2020.

The notice states:  These applications will continue to be processed even if a decision is not made until after 31 December 2020.

Therefore, it appears that such applications, if successful should be issued with a residence card issued under the Withdrawal Agreement once their application is decided, rather than the EU FAM Residence card.

The notice also repeats an earlier notice of the INIS that a new scheme will be introduced for UK nationals who come to Ireland after the 31st December 2020 and wish to bring their non-EEA Family members with them, with details of that scheme to follow.

It therefore appears that British citizens who have exercised their right of free movement to Ireland prior to 31st December 2020 will still be in a position to apply for their Non-EEA family members under provisions equivalent to a current EU Fam residence card application.

This notice will also bring clarity and comfort to persons who in Ireland who current hold EU Fam residence cards or have EU fam residence cards currently pending.

Another blog on the new scheme post 31st December 2020 will be posted once same has been published.

The full notice can be found here: