Workers - residence rights
Affected by Brexit?
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
I need help
If you think that your rights under EU law are not being respected, contact our assistance services.
If you lose your job
If you lose your job while living in another country, you can still stay there if you are:
- unable to work temporarily because of illness or accident
- registered with the relevant authority as being involuntarily unemployed. If you have been employed for less than 1 year before that, you retain the right to equal treatment with nationals for a limited period of at least 6 months.
- following vocational training. If you are not involuntarily unemployed, the training must be related to your previous job.
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:
- a valid identity card or passport
- certificate of employment or confirmation of recruitment from your employer
- (if self-employed) proof of your status as self-employed
You don't need to provide other documents.
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:
- temporary absences (less than 6 months per year)
- longer absences for compulsory military service
- one absence of 12 consecutive months, for important reasons such as pregnancy and childbirth, serious illness, work, vocational training or a posting to another country
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:
- if you retire and have worked in the country for the last year, or have lived there continuously for 3 years
- if you stop working because you are no longer able to work and have lived in the country continuously for 2 years
- if you stop working because you are no longer able to work due to an accident at work or occupational illness. In this case, you have the right to remain regardless of how long you have lived in the country prior to the accident or illness
- if you start working in another EU country as a cross-border worker - you must return to your place of residence at least once a week - but have worked in the country where you want to obtain permanent residence for 3 years continuously beforehand.
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.