Information for UK nationals living in the EU, EEA EFTA, Switzerland and Ireland, including guidance on residency, healthcare and the Withdrawal Agreement.
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UK nationals in the EU
The Withdrawal Agreement
The Withdrawal Agreement sets out the terms of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU and provides for a deal on citizens’ rights.
You will be covered by the Withdrawal Agreement if you are a UK national lawfully residing in another EU country by the end of the transition period, on 31 December 2020.
The Withdrawal Agreement secures your rights and allows you to stay in the EU country where you live after 31 January 2020. You will continue to have broadly the same entitlements to work, study and access public services and benefits as before the UK left the EU.
The Withdrawal Agreement sets out a transition period which lasts until 31 December 2020. This is a time-limited period before changes relating to the UK leaving the EU take place.
During the transition period, you and your family members will be able to continue to live, work and study in the EU as you did before 31 January 2020.
The rules on travelling to the EU will remain the same during this period. You can move to a different country in the EU in the same way as you could before 31 January 2020.
Residency documents and status
You and your family may need to apply for a residence status to confirm that you were already resident in the EU country you live in before 31 December 2020. You will have until at least 30 June 2021 to do this.
The EU country where you live may set up a system for applying for a residence status. The application should be short, simple and either free of charge, or cost no more than applying for a similar document, for example a national identity card or passport.
You will have until at least 30 June 2021 to submit your application. We will share information on how to apply in our Living in guides when it is available.
Permanent residency documents
You will be able to exchange valid permanent residence documents for a new residence document free of charge until at least 30 June 2021. This also applies to valid domestic immigration documents that confirm your permanent right to live in a country. You may need to provide proof of identity and undergo criminality and security checks.
Your close family members will be able to join you after 31 December 2020 under current EU rules. This applies to spouses or registered partners, dependent children and grandchildren, and dependent parents and grandparents. The relationship must have begun before the transition period ends on 31 December 2020.
Children born to or legally adopted by a person covered by the Withdrawal Agreement are also protected by the Agreement, if that person has custody of the children.
Your current rights to healthcare in your country of residence will remain the same, as long as you remain covered by the Withdrawal Agreement. If the UK pays for your healthcare, for example through the S1 scheme, this is included.
UK-issued European Health Insurance Cards (EHICs) will remain valid in EU countries until the transition period ends on 31 December 2020. If you are travelling to another EU country, you should ensure that you have valid travel insurance.
Pensions and benefits
If you are living in the EU, EEA or Switzerland by 31 December 2020, and if you receive a UK State Pension, it will continue to be uprated as long as you continue to live there. This will happen even if you start claiming your pension on or after 1 January 2021, as long as you meet the qualifying conditions explained in the new State Pension guidance.
If you are living in the EU, EEA or Switzerland by 31 December 2020, you will continue to receive any UK benefits you already receive. This will continue for as long as you live there and meet all other eligibility requirements.
Moving to another EU country
You can still move to another EU country, on the same terms as before 31 January 2020, until the transition period ends on 31 December 2020. You will have until at least 30 June 2021 to apply for a residence status in that country, if you need to.
Travelling in the EU
There will be no changes to the rules on travel until 31 December 2020.
Travelling to the UK
You can travel to the UK at any time. This will not change after 31 December 2020.
Returning to the UK
Your right to return to live, work and access benefits and services, such as healthcare, in the UK has not changed.
Your existing close family members will be able to join you in the UK and apply to the EU Settlement Scheme until 31 March 2022 as long as the relationship began before 31 January 2020.
New partners and other dependent family members, who have lived with you in the EU during the transition period, will be able to join you in the UK until 31 December 2020. They will also be eligible to apply to the scheme.
Your children’s rights to British citizenship have not changed.
Read our guidance on returning to the UK permanently which includes information on, amongst other things, tax and access to services.
Continuing education in the EU
If you are living in an EU country before 31 December 2020, you will have the same education rights as nationals of that country.
Read guidance for studying in the EU.
Recognition of professional qualifications
Recognition decisions made on qualifications obtained in the UK or the EU on or before 31 December 2020 are not affected.
If you have not had your professional qualifications recognised, you have until 31 December 2020 to submit an application under the current rules.
Owning or renting property in the EU
Rules about property ownership, rent, taxation and shared ownership have not changed. However, if you are buying a new property some EU countries have different property acquisition laws for EU citizens and non-EU citizens. Check with local authorities how these might apply to you.
Inheritance tax and wills
Wills made under UK law remain valid. This includes wills that apply to property in the EU. Property abroad continues to be subject to local laws.
The UK’s withdrawal from the EU has not changed any existing UK rules for inheritance tax.
Existing double taxation agreements, which the UK has with all EU countries, have not changed.
Driving licence rules will stay the same until at least 31 December 2020.
Voting in UK elections whilst living overseas
You are entitled to register to vote in UK Parliamentary elections as an overseas voter for up to 15 years after you were last registered to vote in the UK.
UK nationals in prison in an EU country
Changes for UK nationals in prison will depend on the approach of each EU country.
Find out about transferring to a UK prison.
Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland
The EEA EFTA states
The UK has an agreement with the European Economic Area European Free Trade Area (EEA EFTA) states of Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein which protect citizens’ rights.
Read the EEA EFTA Separation Agreement.
You should also read the living in guides for:
The government has reached an agreement with Switzerland to protect citizens’ rights.
The current rights of UK and Irish nationals in the Common Travel Area will not be affected by the UK’s withdrawal from the EU. View the Common Travel Area guidance.
Read the Living in Ireland guide.