The Withdrawal Agreement was approved by the United Kingdom and the European Union. It regulates the situation during the transition period but also protects the rights of UK nationals who, before the end of the transition period, have exercised their right of residence or their right as frontier workers within the framework of the right of free movement of persons in Belgium and the rights of their family members.
The following categories of persons are protected by the Withdrawal Agreement if they wish to safeguard their rights beyond the end of the transition period:
- United Kingdom nationals residing in Belgium before the end of the transition period by virtue of their right to free movement;
- the United Kingdom national working in Belgium as a frontier worker before the end of the transition period;
- The family member of a United Kingdom beneficiary of the Withdrawal Agreement who resided in Belgium before the end of the transition period;
- Family member of a British beneficiary of the Withdrawal Agreement in Belgium who is entitled to join him after the end of the transition period:
- direct relatives of British Withdrawal Agreement beneficiaries who were residing outside of Belgium before the end of the transition period;
- future children of a Withdrawal Agreement beneficiary;
- the partner with whom the UK beneficiary of the Withdrawal Agreement has a well-established and durable relationship, provided that that relationship was and still is durable before the end of the transition period.
If these persons wish to retain their rights, they must apply to the commune during the application period running from 1 January 2021 to 31 December 2021 for a status of beneficiary of the Withdrawal Agreement.
For more information on the procedure to be followed to obtain a status of beneficiary of the Withdrawal Agreement, see HERE.
A frontier worker is any citizen of the United Kingdom exercising an economic activity in Belgium as an employed or self-employed person but who does not reside in Belgium. It is this definition that must be used and not the general definition for frontier workers contained in article 106 of the Royal Decree of 8 October 1981. A frontier worker under the Withdrawal Agreement does not therefore have to return to the United Kingdom every day or at least once a week.
Frontier workers benefiting from the Withdrawal Agreement will be exempted from an entry visa requirement or other similar formalities. For this purpose, you will need an electronic local border traffic residence card for beneficiaries of the Withdrawal Agreement (N card). You do not have a right of residence in Belgium and cannot obtain a right of residence on the basis of this card.
Persons who only work in Belgium under the free movement of services (posting of workers) cannot invoke this right.
More information on the procedure to be followed to obtain a status as a beneficiary of the Withdrawal Agreement for local border traffic can be found HERE.
United Kingdom nationals who did not reside in Belgium before the end of the transition period or who were not working as frontier workers in Belgium are not protected by the Withdrawal Agreement. Nor are their family members protected by the Withdrawal Agreement.
Future family members of a UK beneficiary of the Withdrawal Agreement who were not related to this beneficiary of the Withdrawal Agreement before the end of the transition period cannot benefit from the protection of the Withdrawal Agreement, unless they are future children.
These persons will have to follow the entry and residence rules applicable to third-country nationals.
More information can be found HERE.