BREXIT Glossary Citizenship, CTA, EU Citizen, Free Movement, ILR

Glossary of Terms Policy Paper- Post Brexit Rights of EU Citizens

Safeguarding the Position of EU Citizens Living in the UK and UK Nationals Living in the EU | British Government Policy Paper June 26, 2017

Citizenship | Common Travel Area (CTA) | EU Citizen | Free Movement | Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) | Leave to Remain | Permanent Residence | Permission | Right to Reside | UK Nationals | UK-Insured IndividualEU Citizens in UK after Brexit



People born before 1 January 1983 became British citizens if they were a citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies with the right of abode in the UK immediately before that date. This generally included people born in the UK or a former colony who had a connection with the UK through birth, descent or residence. Since 1983 British citizenship can be acquired through birth in the UK to a British or settled parent, adoption in the UK by a British citizen, descent from a parent, or through registration or naturalisation. All British citizens have the right of abode in the UK.

Common Travel Area (CTA)

The CTA comprises the United Kingdom, the Crown Dependencies (the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man) and the Republic of Ireland. Movement without immigration controls for nationals of the CTA is important in the special relationship that exists between these states.

EU Citizen

Refers to any person who holds EU citizenship as established under Article 20 (1) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, save that for current purposes, persons who are EU citizens solely by way of their British nationality are excluded from the scope of this term. That Article provides “Citizenship of the Union is hereby established. Every person holding the nationality of a member state shall be a citizen of the Union. Citizenship of the Union shall be additional to and not replace national citizenship”. However, member states may withhold EU citizenship from certain groups of citizens, most commonly those in overseas territories of member states outside the EU.

Free Movement

Free movement of people is one of the founding principles of the EU and is enshrined in the Treaties. The Directive 2004/38/EC (commonly known as the ‘Free Movement Directive’), provides further detail on the rights of entry and residence and is currently implemented in the UK through the Immigration (European Economic Area) Regulations 2016.

The right of free movement allows EU citizens exercising Treaty rights, and their family members, to move and reside freely within the territory of the EU. Under free movement, EU citizens also enjoy equal treatment with domestic nationals in terms of access to employment, working conditions and all other social and tax benefits.

Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR)

Indefinite leave to remain is also known as settlement or ‘settled status’, and having this means that a person can stay in the UK without any time restrictions. Indefinite leave can lapse, if the holder stays outside the UK for a continuous period of more than two years.

Leave to Remain

A person who holds this immigration status has a time limit on his or her stay. In the context of this document, resident EU citizens granted this status under our proposed scheme would not be subject to further conditions, for example restrictions on employment or study.

Permanent Residence

Under EU law, permanent residence is the right to live permanently in the UK. This right can be gained by European Economic Area (EEA) and Swiss nationals and their family members. Permanent residence is automatically gained when an EEA or Swiss national has lived legally in the UK for, in most cases, five years as a ‘qualifying person’ under the Immigration (EEA) Regulations 2016. This means they have been exercising their Treaty rights, for example, through working or studying. This status is equivalent to having indefinite leave to remain under the Immigration Act 1971 (see above).


Permission to stay in the UK as described in this document means that a person has leave to enter or remain under the Immigration Act 1971.

Right to Reside

This is a term used specifically for EEA nationals or their family members. They have an initial right to reside for three months, and then can reside in the UK if they are qualified persons (exercising a Treaty right). Following five years’ residence in the UK in accordance with the EEA regulations, they automatically acquire a permanent right to reside.

UK Nationals

A UK national is the term referred to in this document to describe those people who are regarded as UK nationals for EU law purposes. The term ‘United Kingdom national’ is not defined in the nationality law of the United Kingdom. However, the UK has made various declarations setting out the definition of its nationals for Community/EU law purposes. As of the declaration made by the United Kingdom in 1982 (OJ C 23), the term ‘UK national’ generally when used for EU purposes is ‘to be understood to refer to: a) British citizens, b) Persons who are British subjects by virtue of Part IV of the British Nationality Act 1981 and who have the right of abode in the United Kingdom and are therefore exempt from United Kingdom immigration control, and c) British Dependent Territories citizens who acquire their citizenship from a connection with Gibraltar’. The UK affirmed this definition in a further declaration annexed to the Final Act of the Intergovernmental Conference which Adopted the Treaty of Lisbon (OJ 2010 C 83/335), with the exception of an update so that the reference to ‘British Dependent Territories Citizens’ (as referenced above at point c) should be read as meaning ‘British overseas territories citizens’.

UK-Insured Individual

An individual who is subject to the legislation of the UK under social security coordination rules. For the purpose of healthcare, it is the member state responsible for covering an entitled individual’s healthcare when they move/travel around the EU.

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Related Link: Post Brexit Government Proposal for EU Citizens Living in the UK

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