Moving to Europe After Brexit: Everything You Need to Know

August 30 2018, Georgina Croasdale

Are you considering moving to Europe after Brexit? Since the referendum in 2016, questions surrounding Brexit have clouded British political debate. One of the many walks of life that Brexit will affect is UK citizens’ rights to relocate to EU countries. While we are sure that you have been inundated with material surrounding your changing European rights, we hope that this blog can provide greater clarity on living abroad after Brexit. 

What is Brexit?

On the 23rd June 2016, the British public voted to leave the European Union. The exact terms of this decision have been debated ever since. As a member state of the EU, free movement, and the right to work, study and travel without requiring a visa was established. 

However, Brexit has caused a colossal reshuffle. Since 2016, the British government has been trying to establish a deal with the EU; they now have until the 31st December 2020 to come to a conclusion. If no deal is reached, the UK will leave the EU without a deal. This process will inevitably affect those looking to move to Europe after Brexit. Check out this BBC article to gauge a better idea of where the Brexit debate currently stands.

Below is a timeline indicating where negotiations currently stand, and how they have developed since that fateful day in June.  

Moving to Europe After Brexit

UK Citizens Currently Living in Europe

First for some good news. The British Government has struck a deal with the 31 EU countries that accept freedom of movement, along with Norway, Iceland Liechtenstein and Switzerland. If you currently reside in any of these countries, your rights are well protected under the Withdrawal AgreementAs such, living in Europe after Brexit will not be too difficult for you. Deal or no deal, British citizens who lawfully reside in any EU member state before 31st January will continue to be able to live, work, study and travel.  

Residency Permits

Sounds simple right? While UK citizens currently living in an EU member state can live in Europe after Brexit, in most cases, you will need to apply for a residency permit. You will have until the 30th June 2021 to ensure this is completed. The government of your specific member state is responsible to reach a settlement for British residents.  

What About My Drivers’ Licence?

If you drive, it will also be necessary to switch over your drivers’ licence to that of your new residence, and apply for a car insurance greencard. For more information on how your vehicle will be affected by Brexit, please take a look at this article on how Brexit will affect your car insurance.

This period is characterised as the transition period. For more information on what exactly this entails, please visit this BBC article.

Can I Move to Europe After Brexit: Moving After the Transition Period?

What about if you are planning on moving to Europe after the end of the transition period?  

This is where things become cloudier. There is no guarantee that you will have the right to free movement after the end of the transition period. British citizens living in Europe after Brexit will instead have to operate within the immigration guidelines of the particular member state they are looking to move to. Whether the UK strikes a deal before the end of this year will determine the severity of the immigration procedures.  

Moving to Europe After Brexit

What About Short-Term Moves?

What about a holiday? Or moving to Europe after Brexit for a short period of time? It is likely that Brexit will not have much of an effect on going on European holidays as the EU has agreed to add the UK to the list of visa-exempt countries, provided that the UK returns the favour. This allows UK citizens to travel for up to 90 days visa-free, even after the transition period has ended. It is only if you intend on staying in Europe longer, or if you intend to work in Europe after Brexit, that matters become more complicated.  

What Next?

Hopefully now you are a little clearer about the status of UK citizens in the EU after Brexit. Remember, the world is your oysterCheck out all our other country pages to see where else you can live with a British passport after Brexit. We know that uncertainly is stressful, particularly when undertaking a move. We will do our best to keep this page updated on any changes in the Brexit climate. In the meantime, check out the government website for a comprehensive overview of everything Brexit-related. 

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