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Brexit-Deal

 
FAQ - Impact of the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union on the right to reside of British citizens in Belgium

(update 06/022020)

The aim of the withdrawal agreement is to ensure as much as possible the rights of the British citizens and their family members lawfully residing in Belgium.

The withdrawal agreement foresees a transition period until the 31st of December 2020. During this time nearly everything stays the same for British citizens and their family members.  They will continue to be able to enjoy their free movement rights.

  • You are a British citizen or a family member of a British citizen and you want to come to Belgium during the transitional period:

During the transition period the same rules continue to apply as before the withdrawal. Even though the United Kingdom will no longer be a part of the European Union, British citizens and their family members will continue to be treated the same as Union citizens. This will be the case both for short-term as well as for long-term stays.

  • You are a British citizen or a family member of a British citizen with a right to reside in Belgium  at the moment of the withdrawal or you applied for a residence permit before the 31st of December 2020.

If you applied for a residence permit as a British citizen or a family member of a British citizen before the 31st of December, your application will be examined according to the same rules and conditions as before the withdrawal. If your application is approved, you will receive a residence document (E or F card).  

If you were already lawfully residing in Belgium before the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union, you will during the transition period, initially keep your current residence document (E(+) or F (+) card).

All British citizens and their family members lawfully residing in Belgium at the end of the transition period will be considered as beneficiaries of the withdrawal agreement. During the transition period every British citizen and their family members will have to be given a new residence document as beneficiaries of the withdrawal agreement which mentions the withdrawal.

All beneficiaries of the withdrawal agreement will therefore receive a letter asking them to go to the municipality where they reside to apply for their new residence card. You do not have to take any steps until you've received this letter. Mid-2021 at the latest all beneficiaries of the withdrawal agreement will have received their new residence card. The letter with the invitation to go to the municipality to apply for your residence card will not be send before the new residence cards are available. You will be kept informed through our website.  

As a beneficiary of the withdrawal agreement, you will keep your acquired rights of residence for life. The only difference between you and a Union citizen in this regard will be your residence card. 

  • You are a family member of a British citizen lawfully residing in Belgium and you want to come to Belgium after the 31st of December 2020:

In principle you will not fall under the scope of the withdrawal agreement anymore and neither are the rules and conditions applicable to Union citizens applicable to you any longer. Instead the general rules and conditions for family reunification for third country nationals will apply to you.

These can be found on our website: https://dofi.ibz.be/sites/dvzoe/fr/Pages/home.aspx

For some family members however an exception has been foreseen in the withdrawal agreement. This is the case for certain family members who were related to a British citizen lawfully residing in Belgium before the end of the transition period or children who were born afterwards. The same rules as applicable before the withdrawal are applicable to them:

The following family members are concerned:

  • Direct family members of beneficiaries of the withdrawal agreement in so far as they were already related to them before the end of the transition period (the spouse or registered partner of a beneficiary, the dependent direct ascendants of the beneficiary and those of his spouse or partner or the direct descendants of the beneficiary who are under 21 years old or dependent on him and those of the spouse or partner);
  • Persons with whom the beneficiary is in a durable partnership, when they can prove the relationship started before the end of the transition period;
  • Children of beneficiaries of the withdrawal agreement, born or adopted after the end of the transition period. 
     
  • You are a British citizen or a family member of a British citizen (other than the abovementioned exceptions) and you apply for a residence permit after the 31st of December 2020: 

The entry rights and rights to stay of British citizens and their family members at the end of the transition period without a right to reside in Belgium, are a part of the ongoing negotiations between the United Kingdom and the European Union which will start after the withdrawal. Nothing has been determined yet.

These negotiations will most likely have an influence on the conditions for short-term stays (less than 90 days over a period of 180 days).

When applying for a residence permit after the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union, you can no longer apply for residence under the conditions set for Union citizens. Instead the general rules and conditions for third country nationals will most likely apply to you.  

  • Can I apply as a British citizen or a family member of a British citizen who lawfully resides in Belgium for a permanent residence after the transition period?

British citizen and their family member who are beneficiaries of the withdrawal agreement can apply after 5 years of lawful residence in Belgium for a permanent residence. Periods of lawful residence both before as well as after the transition period will be counted. Temporary absences which have no influence on the right to reside of a beneficiary of the withdrawal agreement in Belgium, will not have any influence either on the possibility to apply for a permanent residence after a period of 5 years.  

  • Can I lose my right to reside as a beneficiary of the withdrawal agreement with a permanent residence in Belgium? 

Once you have received a permanent residence, you can only lose it after an uninterrupted absence of 5 years from Belgium.  

FAQ

  • I am a British citizen or a family member of a British citizen and I want to come to Belgium during the transition period but I am not in possession of my travel document: 

From the withdrawal onwards, you cannot any longer make use of the regulation for Union citizens, that when a Union citizen is not in possession of their travel document at the border, the Member State concerned gives them, before turning them back, every reasonable opportunity to obtain the necessary documents or have them brought to them within a reasonable period of time. As a British citizens you will, from the moment of the withdrawal always without exception have to be in possession of your travel document.   

  • I am a British frontier worker 

British frontier workers who were already active in Belgium before the end of the transition period, are exempted from visa requirements or other similar formalities.  

  • I am a British citizen and I have planned medical care in Belgium before the end of the transition period in Belgium but I have not applied for a right to reside in Belgium

If you have planned health care treatment before the end of the transition period in Belgium you will have to follow the same visa requirements as before the withdrawal and this for the entire duration of your treatment. This is the case both for yourself as for the person accompanying you and this until the end of your stay.