Information on the rights and status of UK nationals living and travelling in the European Union (EU) following the triggering of Article 50.
Overview: Current status and staying up to date
There will be no change to the rights and status of UK nationals living in the EU while the UK remains in the EU.
You can sign-up for email alerts to receive updates to Brexit pages on gov.uk as the negotiations progress.
The Prime Minister has been clear that safeguarding the rights of UK nationals in the EU and EU citizens living in the UK was her first priority for the negotiations.
We have now delivered on that commitment and reached an agreement with the European Commission on citizens’ rights. The agreement will provide certainty to the over a million UK nationals and their family members living in the EU.
On 19 December, the Prime Minister wrote to UK nationals living in Europe with details of the agreement reached with the Commission in the first phase of the negotiations.
The UK and European Commission will now include the agreement on citizens’ rights in the overall Withdrawal Agreement between the UK and the EU.
Agreement on rights for UK nationals and their families
The agreement we have reached for UK nationals and their family members is:
UK nationals, as well as their family members covered by the agreement, who are lawfully residing in a EU27 Member State by 29 March 2019, will be able to continue to reside in that Member State.
Children born or adopted outside of a UK national’s resident Member State after the 29 March 2019 will also be covered by this agreement.
Close family members (spouses, civil partners and unmarried partners, dependent children and grandchildren and dependent parents and grandparents) will be able to join UK nationals in their Member State of residence after exit under these rules, where the relationship existed on 29 March 2019 and continues to exist when they wish to move to join their UK national family member.
EU27 Member States may require UK nationals and their family members covered by the agreement to apply to obtain a status conferring the right of residence and/or obtain a residency document. Administrative procedures for applications for status will be transparent, smooth and streamlined. Where an application is required to obtain status, UK nationals will have at least two years to submit their applications. Residence documents will be issued free of charge or for a charge not exceeding that imposed on nationals for the issuing of similar documents. Further information on these administrative procedures will be provided when available.
UK nationals and their family members covered by the agreement will be able to be absent from their Member State of residence for up to 5 years without losing their right to return.
UK nationals and their family members covered by the agreement will continue to have the same access as they currently do to healthcare, pensions and other benefits.
More information is available in the Joint Report from the negotiators of the EU and the UK on progress and in the Comparison Table of the UK and EU positions on Citizens’ Rights.
UK nationals who move to the EU after 29 March 2019
For UK nationals who move to the EU after the UK’s withdrawal on 29 March 2019, the proposed implementation period (announced by the Prime Minister in her Florence speech in September) would mean they can still live, work and study in the EU after the UK has left the EU. How long this period lasts is subject to negotiations, however it is likely to be around 2 years.
Details of the immigration rules for UK nationals who wish to move to the EU after 29 March 2019 and during the implementation period are yet to be agreed. We will publish more details as soon as possible, to give UK nationals and businesses enough time to plan and prepare.
UK nationals living in the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) states
The agreement reached with the European Commission does not cover UK nationals living in the European Free Trade Association states (Norway, Iceland, Lichtenstein and Switzerland). The UK is seeking to secure the same protections for UK nationals living in EFTA states as for UK nationals living in the EU, on a reciprocal basis, through agreements with EFTA states.
UK nationals in Ireland
The rights enjoyed by UK and Irish nationals in the Common Travel Area will not be affected by the UK’s exit from the EU. For further information, please visit the Citizens’ rights - UK and Irish nationals in the Common Travel Area page.
Current status of UK nationals in the EU
Until the UK leaves the EU, the UK remains a full member of the EU and all the rights and obligations of EU membership remain in force. This means:
Travelling in the EU – passports and healthcare
UK nationals can continue to travel freely within the EU using a UK passport
there continue to be no visa requirements for UK nationals entering another EU country
UK nationals can continue to access healthcare during temporary visits to EU countries using the European Health Insurance Card
Living and working in the EU – property, pensions and healthcare
UK nationals can continue to receive healthcare in EU countries
UK nationals can continue to retire and collect their pensions in EU countries
More information on exiting the EU
Published: 11 July 2016
Updated: 5 January 2018
- New section on UK nationals in Ireland added
- addition of the Prime Minister facebook note to UK nationals living in Europe with details of the agreement reached with the Commission in the first phase of the negotiations.
- New section on UK nationals living in the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) states section added.
- Update to agreement on rights for UK nationals and UK nationals who move to the EU after 29 March 2019
- update to 3rd paragraph text
- Reference to fifth round of negotiations
- Added links David Davis' closing remarks at the end of the fourth round of EU exit negotiations in Brussels, and the Prime Minister’s speech in Florence.
- Link to information on the latest negotiations. Link to sign up for email alerts.
- Add in link to Article 50 and negotiations with the EU page
- Updated on 26 June 2017 to reflect UK Government's offer on EU Citizens' Rights
- Updated information following the triggering of Article 50
- Updates to first and second paragraphs to reflect current situation
- Change to intro
- Amendment to introduction text and link added to Department for Exiting the EU
- First published.