The British government currently has agreements with EU Member States, the European Economic Area and Switzerland to protect British citizens living or moving to those countries until the end of the transition period at midnight 31 December 2020. The Withdrawal Agreement is the basis for these rights and seeks to govern the relationship of the UK and EU until the end of 2020.

| Blog

The British government currently has agreements with EU Member States, the European Economic Area and Switzerland to protect British citizens living or moving to those countries until the end of the transition period at midnight 31 December 2020. The Withdrawal Agreement is the basis for these rights and seeks to govern the relationship of the UK and EU until the end of 2020.

Since freedom of movement still applies during the transition period, it is not necessary for British nationals seeking to relocate to travel on a visa. However, the current automatic rights under EU law to settled (i.e. live and work) in other Member States no longer applies as of 1 January 2021. This means the country’s local existing immigration rules would apply to Britons living abroad. Additionally, UK nationals moving to an EU country within the transition period need to apply for residence status before the 30 June 2021 within the intended country of residence. Some EU countries are establishing their own processes for residence permits for British citizens; however, the Covid-19 pandemic has caused disruption and is to be confirmed in due course.

Since the Withdrawal Agreement Act of the UK does not permit for UK ministers to request an extension to the transition period, British citizens seeking to migrate to an EU Member State should do so before the end of the transition period. Immediate family members are also able to relocate under current EU rules with a British citizen. At present, there are no guidelines on the position of UK citizens seeking to move to Europe 2020.

British citizens seeking to move to an EU Member State

Below are some small case studies for popular relocation destinations and a simplified overview of the guidelines (should provide the Gov.uk link somewhere) and procedures British citizens should follow upon relocating. In summary, most EU Member States require British citizens to initially register as a resident and follow other Member States national procedures after immigrating. Please note that these guidelines are subject to change based on any further agreements/developments between the UK, EU and individual countries.

France

British citizen who intend on residing in France will first need to registration as a resident and apply for healthcare in order  to obtain a biometric residence permit in line with the Withdrawal Agreement. If the person is resident in France before the end of the transition period, their rights will be protected for as long as they remain resident in France. There are also specific provisions for pensioners, students, unemployed persons and other specific groups.

Spain

Similarly, British citizens wishing to move to Spain will first have to register as a resident in Spain, apply for healthcare and if applicable, exchange their UK driving licence. If the person is living in Spain before the end of the transition period, a biometric residence card will be issued to prove the holder’s rights under the Withdrawal Agreement. There are also provisions for foreign children travels, tax declarations, benefits and other specific groups.

Portugal

Likewise, Britons seeking to settle in Portugal should register as a resident, apply for healthcare as a resident in Portugal and if applicable exchange their UK driving licence for a Portuguese one. British citizens wishing to stay on in Portugal for more than 3 months must apply to register and pay to receive a registration certificate. It is recommended that the resident applies for a Portuguese issued EHIC card if leaving the country. If the UK driving licence is kept it, must also be registered with the Portuguese authorities within 60 days of taking up residency, otherwise a fine is issued. The right to work and study remain unaffected as long as the person remains resident in Portugal.

Italy

Finally, for British citizens wishing to locate to Italy, they should register as a resident to receive the new residency document, apply for healthcare and if applicable, exchange their UK driving licence. The rights under the Withdrawal Agreement will be protected for as long as the person is resident in Italy before 1 January 2021. It is necessary to register as an Italian resident if the UK national wishes to temporarily take up residency in Italy for more than 3 months. There are specific rules for registering with the Italian National Health Services, replacing UK driving licence, voting rights, property purchases and other groups.

The position of British citizens from 1 January 2021

At this stage, the position of British citizens seeking to live in an EU Member State after the transition period is unclear, mainly because no announcement has been made as to whether the UK and the EU will have a deal to regulate their relationship in the future. In the event of a deal with the EU, this will be binding on all EU Member States and therefore is more likely to be a consistent implementation of the new rules. However, if no deal is reached then each individual Member State can apply their standard domestic immigration law for foreigners seeking settlement; subsequently creating disparities. It is presumed that several countries will operate reciprocal policies, e.g. if the UK protects the rights of German citizens living in the UK, Germany would then protect the rights of British citizens living in Germany. If no deal is announced this year, British citizens wishing to move abroad should be well informed about that country’s immigration rules for third country nationals.

As the situation currently stands, it is advisable that those who wish settle in Continental Europe and are eligible to become a British citizen or get a British passport to do so without delay and make the move before the end of 2020, otherwise they may find it difficult or impossible to settle in the country of choice.

If you are unsure about the impact of the changes to your situation or to find out if you are eligible to apply for British citizenship, contact Passportia on +44 (0) 20 3695 5383, or submit an enquiry via this link: http://www.passportia.org/contact-us/

 

 


View all posts