In order to prepare for a withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union without an agreement between both parties, the legislative act of 3 April 2019 concerning the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union has been adopted. This legislative act will only come into force in case no agreement is reached on the day of the withdrawal. It concerns temporary measures which are meant to provide a solution to the most important and urgent questions.
Belgium has chosen to safeguard the right to reside of the British citizens and their family members who were already residing in Belgium at the time of the withdrawal. The citizen's rights have always been a priority for Belgium and the government has therefore opted for a generous approach. The existing rights of residence will be prolonged after the withdrawal and this until the 31st of December 2020. In that period nothing much will change for British citizens and their family members already residing in Belgium at the time of the withdrawal.
The British citizens will be kept informed of further developments and of any steps they have to take to ensure their rights of residence.
If you are a British citizen or a family member of a British citizen with a right of residence in Belgium you do not have to do anything at the moment. You will keep the same rights of residence as before the withdrawal date. You will keep your current residence documents (your E / E+ or F /F+ card).
In case the validity of your current E / E+ or F /F+ expires between the withdrawal and the 31st of December 2020, you can renew your card at the municipality where you reside. You will need your old card to apply for a new one, which will be valid until the 31st of December 2020.
If you are a British citizen or a family member of a British citizen with a permanent residence in Belgium (E+ of F+ card) or you have been residing in Belgium for at least 5 years we encourage you to apply for long-term residency (D card). This status has been created to closely mirror the permanent residence status for EU-nationals. By applying for long-term residency (D card) you can safeguard your stay in Belgium after the 31st of December 2020.
To obtain the long-term resident status (D card) you will have to go to the commune after the withdrawal date. You will not be able to apply for the status before the withdrawal date as this status is only for third country nationals. You will have to bring the following documents with you:
More information on long-term residency can be found on the following page:
When applying for a residence permit after the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union, you can no longer apply under the conditions set for Union citizens. Instead the general rules and conditions for third country nationals will apply to you.
You can consult the rules for a long-term stay in Belgium for third country nationals on our website:
You can consult the current rules and conditions regarding the access to the Belgian labour market on the website of the competent regions:
As of the withdrawal British citizens will no longer be Union citizens. This means that British citizens will no longer enjoy facilitations at the borders provided for Union citizens, nationals of the contracting states of the European Economic Area, and Swiss nationals related to the free movement rights. In particular, British citizens will be subject to thorough checks of all entry conditions for third country nationals upon entry and will have to follow the appropriate lanes for third country nationals.
The entry checks will include verification of:
- the possession of a valid travel document for crossing the border; the document needs to have a validity of no more than ten years, and shall be still valid for three months after the intended departure from the Member States;
- the duration of the stay;
- relevant databases with a view to verify the identity and the nationality of the third-country national and of the authenticity and validity of the travel document for crossing the border, and in particular if an alert has been issued in the Schengen Information System (SIS) for the purposes of refusing entry and to check possible threats to public policy, internal security, public health and international relations;
- the purpose (e.g. tourism or work) and the conditions of the intended stay (e.g. accommodation, internal travels);
- the existence of sufficient means of subsistence (i.e. having sufficient means to pay for the intended stay and return travel).
Checks on exit include verification of:
- the possession of a valid travel document for crossing the external border;
- verification that the person did not exceed the maximum duration of stay in the territory of the Member States;
- relevant databases similarly as upon entry checks
Nationals of the United Kingdom who are British citizens shall be exempted from the visa requirement when travelling to the territory of the Member States on the condition that the United Kingdom will grant full visa reciprocity to the nationals of all Member States.
More information on short stay can be found on the following page: https://ec.europa.eu/info/sites/info/files/file_import/travelling_en.pdf
The same rules and conditions for family reunification as before the withdrawal will continue to apply to a family member of a British citizen who has acquired a right of residence before the withdrawal. To benefit from this exception you do have to apply for family reunification between the withdrawal and the 31st of December 2020.
All applications of British citizens and their family members submitted before the withdrawal date but which have not yet been processed, will be examined under the same rules and conditions as before the withdrawal.