I'm an EEA national (French) living in the UK since 2008 and exercising treaty rights. On that basis my non-EEA wife has a "Resident card of a family member of an EEA national" (expires 2019). Question: when travelling to either another European country or outside Europe, could we face any issue at customs due to Brexit? If so, what can we do about it beforehand?

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Brexit and EEA Dependants: what to do

The "canonical" recommended steps to take beforehand are...

  1. Those EEA citizens or their family members in the UK who does not have an EU/EEA permanent residence card for the UK should consider now whether to apply (or timetable for when they can apply) and should do so unless there is clear harm in doing so.
  2. If they are able to do so, they should prepare and provide evidence to show that that the qualifying 5 years ended at least one year ago. This will enable a naturalisation application to be submitted immediately following receipt of the permanent residence card.
  3. Each such person who already has a permanent residence card for the UK should consider whether to apply to be naturalized as British (see note below on Scotland). NOTE: this may have disadvantages and the trade-offs should be studied carefully (questions about the trade-offs are off-topic on this site).
  4. Those who are not yet eligible to apply for a permanent residence card may wish to apply for a registration certificate, confirming that they are exercising an extended right of residence, and also ensure that they continue to retain sufficient evidence of exercising treaty rights from now on until they are eligible (further questions about this are off-topic on this site).


  • You will not have problems at the border at least until the end of 2017.
  • They will be looking for unbroken periods of exercising treaty rights and they will need to see evidence.
  • Health insurance for dependants will be checked.
  • The UK has, several times, given more favourable immigration treatment based on people who made unrelated applications before a certain date – ie at a time when they did not know that their application would help them in the future.
  • Do not expect them to announce a grandfathering date in advance.

Sign Posting

  • On what basis might they have problems at the border beginning in 2018? Shouldn't their situation in the UK remain essentially as it is until the UK actually leaves the EU, and isn't that expected in 2019?
    – phoog
    Mar 25, 2017 at 17:49
  • @phoog Parliament rises in December so I am not projecting anything at all beyond that. What you predict is true as far as formalities go however.
    – Gayot Fow
    Mar 25, 2017 at 18:49
  • One major effect of naturalisation is what happens to your original nationality. I have been told by French and Dutch people that French can keep dual nationality, Dutch can't, and last answer from the German embassy in London is "we don't know" (since you can keep German nationality if you gain nationality of another EU country).
    – gnasher729
    Jun 10, 2018 at 20:55

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