The exit of the United Kingdom from the EU politically and economically, has left British citizens residing in a European country wondering how it will affect them. According to the official website of the European Union, UK nationals, along with their family members, will have to apply for a new residence status. The new biometric residence card, which is similar to the residence cards that are issued to other non-EU nationals living in the EU, grants one access to the rights defined in the Withdrawal Agreement, wherein the cardholder and family members will be exempt from ETIAS and visa requirements when moving to the European country of choice. Here are the rules to be met by non-EU residents that opt to apply for the new residence card:

  • Reporting presence
  • Registering your residence abroad
  • Registering your EU family
  • Registering your non-EU family

In order to obtain the new card, you will have to ensure that you meet all the stated requirements, so you can keep using your current residence card until you get your new biometric residence card. Although it is not obligatory to get the new card, it is recommended.

Once you have updated your residency status and ensured that you have gathered all the required documents, you will continue to be allowed to live in the country you have been living in. Nevertheless, all the benefits you are entitled to while residing in the EU country have to be covered by the Withdrawal Agreement in order to be lawful. For expats that are planning to return to the UK, the right to live, work, and access benefits and services, such as healthcare in the UK or the right to vote, has not changed.

There are different options for British nationals to choose where to live in Europe after Brexit. For all the options, however, you will need to register as a resident in the country, register for healthcare, and exchange your UK driver’s license for one from the country. 

Living in Europe: best options

One of the best options is Greece, with its ideal climate and marvelous landscapes, wherein great business opportunities can be available within the 2,000 islands that the country has to offer. All UK nationals resident in Greece should get the new biometric residence document before the June 30, 2021 deadline, in order to retain the rights under the Withdrawal Agreement. The eligibility for residency depends on how long one has stayed in the country: for those residing for 5 or more years, they will be eligible for permanent residency and a 10-year renewable residency document; for those with less than 5 years residing, they will be eligible for a document with 5 years validity.

The request for documents depends on the location, where you will be instructed to visit the Aliens Department of your area. For example, those living in Attica and Thessaloniki will be visiting the nearest Hellenic Police station that has an Aliens Department.

Another place where British nationals can live in Europe after Brexit is Spain and Portugal. The biometric residence is needed to ensure your rights under the Withdrawal Agreement, regardless of how long one has lived in the country or is just planning to do so. If you have been registered as a resident before July 6, 2020, you will have a certificate that ensures your rights regardless if you choose to get the new biometric residence or not.

Different fees are also required to be paid in order to successfully acquire the biometric residence card and start living the European dream after leaving the UK. Furthermore, UK nationals that are seeking additional help to secure their rights under the Withdrawal Agreement can approach the UK nations Support Fund.

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