What are the consequences of brexit on your residence situation?
The United Kingdom left the European Union on 1 February 2020. We hereby want to inform you on the impact Brexit may have on you.
The Withdrawal Agreement provides for a transition period until 31 December 2020. This period can be extended once by one or two years. Even though the UK is no longer a member of the EU, you as well as your family members still have the right of free movement until that date. This means that nothing changes, not even for British nationals and family members who register in Belgium for the first time in 2020. The conditions, documents, procedures and registration or residence document (E or F card) remain identical.
All British nationals and their family members who legally stayed in Belgium before the end of the transition period must have applied for a new residence card at the latest six months after the end of the transition period in order to guarantee that they will retain their acquired rights. In the course of the transition period you will receive a personal invitation to report to the Migration Counter or your competent service centre to request this new residence card. You do not have to do anything in the meantime.
As a beneficiary of the Withdrawal Agreement, you shall retain your right of residence as a Union citizen or family member of a Union citizen even after the transition period and enjoy this right for your lifetime on the understanding that your new residence card shall include a statement that it has been issued in accordance with the Withdrawal Agreement.
The rules to acquire a right of permanent residence (E+ or F+ card) also continue to apply. Once you have acquired a right of permanent residence, you can be absent for five consecutive years. If you are absent for a longer period of time, you will lose this right.
Family members of British nationals residing in Belgium who move to Belgium after 31 December 2020 are not covered by the Withdrawal Agreement. They will be subject to the rules that also apply to non-Union citizens today. The Withdrawal Agreement nevertheless makes an exception for certain family members who had a certain relationship with a British national residing in Belgium on 31 December 2020 and for children born after that date. For more information please visit the website of the Immigration Office (https://dofi.ibz.be/).
The Withdrawal Agreement does not say anything about British nationals and family members who move to Belgium after 31 December 2020. The current legislation for non-Union citizens shall apply, possibly complemented with additional arrangements within the scope of the current negotiations between the United Kingdom and the European Union.
More information about the state of Brexit negotiations can be found on the website of the Immigration Office: https://dofi.ibz.be/ > Brexit.
Also keep an eye on the City of Ghent's website for specific information for British nationals residing in Ghent and their family members: www.stad.gent/burgerzaken > Migratie en Integratie > Niet-Belgen > Brexit
Feel free to contact the Migration Information Office if you have additional questions with regard to your personal situation. You will find the contact details below.