Next deadlines for British citizens in the EU under the withdrawal agreement

In some EU countries the deadline has passed, but in many others Britons who were resident before 31 December 2020 have still time to apply for their post-Brexit residence status.

Under the EU withdrawal agreement, and the related UK agreements with Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Switzerland, European countries can request British residents to apply for the new status and prove they meet the requirements to stay or simply register and exchange their residence documents with new ones.

Thirteen EU countries and Norway have opted for the application procedure, while 14 EU members, Iceland and Liechtenstein chose the registration procedure.

Most countries have set a deadline by which the administrative process has to be completed, with possible risks for those who apply late.

Here is a recap of the cut off dates British citizens living in the EU face in the coming months under the withdrawal agreement.

31 December 2021

31 December 2021 is the last day for British citizens living in Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Greece, Hungary, Luxembourg, Norway, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia and Sweden to apply for their post-Brexit residence status.

Luxembourg and Sweden had initially set the deadline on 30 June and 30 September, respectively, but they postponed it because they estimated many British citizens entitled to the new status had not taken action.

“At the beginning of September there were about 1,000 Britons and their family members who have not yet legalised their future stay in Sweden in any way,” said Ylwa Kallenbäck, Project Manager at the Swedish Migration Agency.

Kallenbäck noted many Britons had secured their rights by naturalising as Swedish citizens, but many were still left out.

France had also extended its application deadline from 30 June to 30 September 2021, and from 1 January 2022 it will make compulsory for British citizens over the age of 18 to have a residence permit.

In Belgium, the old residence card can be used domestically until 31 March 2022, but the new one is necessary when crossing the border from 1 January 2022.

The Norwegian Directorate of Immigration (UDI) has announced it will write to British residents to remind them about the 31 December deadline urging them to spread the word with fellow UK nationals.

31 December 2021 is also the deadline to request new documents in Bulgaria and Poland, which have opted for the registration system.

In Poland, the government recommends UK citizens to complete the process as soon as possible, as those registering late will not be able to benefit from the simplified procedure and will no longer receive an application certificate serving as a temporary residence permit.

“There is no obligation to obtain such documents as a condition for legal stay in Poland,” the government clarifies. However, “considering pragmatic reasons… holding the documents is going to facilitate using the rights of the beneficiary when crossing the border and during their stay in the territory of Poland,” a statement says.

The Bulgarian and Slovakian governments say on the respective websites that failing to apply on time will not have an impact on the acquired rights, but it may lead to a fine.

Britons living in Croatia will have to exchange the current document with the new one by August 31st.

“Reasonable ground” for late applications

Under the withdrawal agreement, it remains possible to apply for the new residence status after the cut off date if there is “reasonable ground”.

The Netherlands, which extended the deadline from 30 June to 30 September 2021, announced a “flexible policy” between 1 October 2021 and 1 October 2022.

Britons who have not applied for a Brexit document by 1 October 2021 “automatically accrue unlawful presence”, the consequences of which are “far-reaching,” the Dutch Immigration and Naturalisation Service warns.

“Examples include loss of benefits, subsidies, permits, and work. It is also no longer possible, when staying in the Netherlands illegally, to have health insurance, receive allowances, or take out a mortgage,” the IND website explains.

The web page continues saying that “during this year, the IND can still assess late applications and grant a Brexit residence document”. If accepted, a late application will “reinstate lawful residence and have retroactive effect”.

But, in the meantime, “the societal consequences and those as regards the residency status are of such impact that it is crucial not to end up in that situation,” the IND warns. 

Cyprus, Estonia, Italy, Spain and Switzerland have not set any end date for their post-Brexit residence systems. But British citizens who do not complete the procedure may have problems proving their EU rights.

In Ireland UK nationals do not need a residence document, but those who wish to evidence their rights under the withdrawal agreement can request one.

Deadlines in 2022

A harder deadline is approaching for British citizens in 2022. After 31 March those who live in the EU and wish to return to live in the UK with non-British spouses will no longer be able to do so under EU free movement rules. Instead, they will face the draconian immigration law that has already separated thousands of families with non-EU members.

Under these rules, UK citizens have to prove a certain income level to welcome non-British spouses and children in the UK, and their family members have to apply for a visa and pay for a healthcare surcharge.

Alarmed by the situation, the British in Europe coalition has called for an extension of this deadline at least until 31 December 2023, three years after the end of the post-Brexit transition period.

According to the joint report on the implementation of the withdrawal agreement regarding residence rights, published by the EU and the UK on September 9th, 257,200 British citizens have applied for the new residence status in EU countries with a constitutive system out of 293,900 estimated residents.

The biggest share was in France, where 162,100 UK citizens applied out of 148,300 estimated residents.

Countries where only a registration is needed received 245,200 applications out of 754,700 UK nationals and family members expected to be eligible for the new status.

A map with the description of the application procedure in each country is available at this link.

Claudia Delpero © all rights reserved

Photo via Pixabay

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