The transition period is the period beginning when the United Kingdom left the European Union at midnight on 31 January 2020 and ending on 31 December 2020. During this period, the right to free movement of persons continued to be applied to all UK nationals and their families as agreed on in the Withdrawal Agreement.
The Withdrawal Agreement provides for a transition period from 1 February 2020 to 31 December 2020, with virtually no change for any UK nationals and their families. During this period, they retained their right to free movement and residence in the same way as when they were Union citizens. No distinction was made during this period between UK nationals and their family members who already resided in Belgium before 1 February 2020 and those who entered thereafter (until 31 December 2020).
As far as entry and residence are concerned, all UK nationals and their family members were subject to the same rules during the transition period as before the withdrawal, nothing changds for you until the 31 December 2020. Although the United Kingdom is no longer part of the European Union, during the transition period, all UK nationals and members of their families were treated in the same way as Union citizens, both for short [a stay of maximum 90 days per period of 180 days] and long [A stay of more than 90 days] stays.
In practical terms, this meant that, in the same way as before the transition period, you were able to come and visit Belgium for a short stay, or you were able to start or continue a long stay in Belgium as an economically active citizen [You are active as an employee or self-employed person or you are a job seeker with a real chance of finding work] , have sufficient means of subsistence [You have sufficient means of subsistence to avoid becoming a burden on Belgian social assistance] or be a student. You were also able to come to work in Belgium as a frontier worker and your family members were able to join you or continue their stay under the same rules as for Union citizens
From 1 February 2020, you, as a UK national or a relative of a UK national, were no longer able to make use of the rule that if a Union citizen does not have a travel document at a border, they are given a reasonable period of time to acquire this document or can have it delivered to them before being expelled or driven back. Therefore, you had always to be in possession of your valid travel document at the border.
No, even if you did not yet have an E/E+/F/F+ residence card, you can apply for the status of beneficiary of the Withdrawal Agreement during the application period.
In that case, you will not only have to provide the same proof as if you were applying for an E/E+/F/F+ card, but also proof that you were already staying in Belgium before the end of the transition period (see procedures ). Therefore, you did not have to rush to the commune to submit the application before 31 December 2020, but you can immediately apply for the status of beneficiary of the Withdrawal Agreement as from 1 January 2021.
Yes, even if you have applied for residence as a Union citizen before 31 December 2020 but have not yet received a decision, you will still have to apply for a residence card for beneficiaries of the Withdrawal Agreement (M card).
From 1 January 2021, residence cards for Union citizens and their family members (E/E+/F/F+ cards) cannot be issued to UK nationals and their family members.
Yes, even if you have only just received your residence card (E/E+/F/F+), you will have to apply again for a residence card as a beneficiary of the Withdrawal Agreement.
Even without a valid local border traffic document issued before the end of the transition period (Annex 15), you may apply for a local border traffic card for beneficiaries of the Withdrawal Agreement (N card). However, the procedure is simpler if you already have a valid local border traffic document (Annex 15).
If possible, you could go to the commune where you work before the end of the transition period to apply for a local border traffic document (Annex 15) so that you could use the simplified procedure. You would then have to apply as soon as possible for an electronic local border traffic card for beneficiaries of the Withdrawal Agreement (N card) so that you can easily identify yourself at the border as a beneficiary of the Withdrawal Agreement even after the end of the transition period.
If you did no longer have time to do so, you could also simply apply for an electronic local border traffic card for beneficiaries of the Withdrawal Agreement (N card) after the 1st of January 2021. To do this, you will have to submit proof that you were active as a border worker (see Procedures). You should do this as soon as possible so that you can easily identify yourself at the border as a beneficiary of the Withdrawal Agreement.
If you were unable to submit an application for residence before the end of the transition period because the commune of your place of residence was unable to receive you in time, this is not a problem. You can use this appointment to submit your application for a status as a beneficiary of the Withdrawal Agreement.
Even if you have exercised your right to free movement before the end of the transition period but you have never registered with the commune and have not taken steps to do so, you can still apply as a beneficiary of the Withdrawal Agreement. You will have to prove that you exercised your right to free movement before the end of the transition period.
For more information on submitting an application (see Procedures).