Last checked: 17/11/2020

Workers - residence rights

Affected by Brexit?

Questions and Answers – the rights of EU and UK citizens, as outlined in the Withdrawal Agreement

On 1 January 2021, the rules for EU citizens living in or moving to the UK will change. The same applies to UK nationals living in or moving to an EU country.

I have permanent residence in the UK/EU or will acquire it during the transition period

In principle, you and your family members will continue to have permanent residence in your host country. This includes non‑EU family members. In the UK, you must however apply to the EU settlement scheme to be granted a new residence status. In the EU, check with your host country’s authorities as soon as possible if it is mandatory to apply for a new residence status.

I reside in the UK/EU but am not yet entitled to permanent residence

In principle, you and your family members will continue to keep your current residence in your host country. This includes non‑EU family members. In the UK, you must however apply to the EU settlement scheme to be granted a new residence status. In the EU, check with your host country’s authorities as soon as possible if it is mandatory to apply for a new residence status.

I want to move to the UK/EU

You and your family members may move to the UK or to an EU country under the current EU rules until 31 December 2020. This includes non‑EU family members. In the UK, you must then apply to the EU settlement scheme. In the EU, check with your host country’s authorities whether you have to register and if it is mandatory to apply for a new residence status.

I want to go to the UK/EU for a short stay

Current rules on reporting presence, registering your residence abroad, registering your EU family, registering your non-EU family continue to apply until at least 31 December 2020.

I need help

If you think that your rights under EU law are not being respected, contact our assistance services.

Detailed information on the implementation of the Withdrawal Agreement and citizen’s rights

You have the right to live in any EU country where you work as an employee, a self-employed person or as a posted worker.

If you lose your job

If you lose your job while living in another country, you can still stay there if you are:

Reporting your presence and registering your residence

Some EU countries require you to report your presence to the relevant authorities within a reasonable time after arrival. They may impose a penalty, such as a fine if you fail to do so.

As an employed person in your host country, you should register your residence with the relevant authority (often the town hall or local police station) after the first 3 months. When you register, you will get a registration certificate. This certificate confirms your right to live in your host country.

You will need:

You don't need to provide other documents.

Permanent residence

If you have lived legally, meeting the conditions to stay in another EU country, for a continuous period of 5 years you automatically acquire the right of permanent residence there. This means that you can stay in the country as long as you want.

Your continuity of residence is not affected by:

You can lose your right to permanent residence if you live outside the country for more than 2 consecutive years.

Permanent residence before 5 years

You may qualify for permanent residence in under 5 years in any of the following situations:

Can you be deported or requested to leave?

You may live in the other EU country as long as you continue to meet the conditions for residence. If you no longer meet these requirements, the national authorities may require you to leave.

In exceptional cases, your host country can deport you on grounds of public policy or public security - but only if it can prove you represent a serious threat.

The deportation decision or the request to leave must be given to you in writing. It must state all the reasons for your deportation and specify how you can appeal and by when.

EU legislation

Need more information on rules in a specific country?

Need support from assistance services?

Get in touch with specialised assistance services

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